Monday, February 2, 2015

Grandma's Butter Caramels

Hello, strangers.

How's your new year going so far?
I hope it's been great...sorry for you east coast folks...
I know the weather has been making life miserable.

Here's something to keep you busy and give
you something to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Homemade butter caramels.
They are soooooo amazingly delicious!
You'll hide them in your coat pocket so you can find them one afternoon
when you think they're all gone so you can have a sweet surprise!
Oh, wait...maybe that's just me.

These tasty caramels are part of the legacy that is my mother-in-law.
She passed away this past summer after a long battle with cancer.
This post is a tribute to her.

It was 16 years from her initial diagnosis to her death...
and let me tell you, she filled those 16 years with as much life as she could.
She traveled, she had good times with friends and family,
she spoiled her only granddaughter,
and just over 6 years ago she married a good man.
Who says you can't find love later in life?

She was tough, she was a fighter...but she was good-hearted and generous.
Did we always see eye to eye?
Of course not, we're family after all.
But we agreed on the tremendous love we had for her son, my husband,
and her granddaughter, our daughter, Sara.
She raised a son into a wonderful man whom I love more than
anything and I will forever be grateful to this woman.

Okay...on to the sugar.
You'll need a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature so
you don't end up with runny or rock hard candy.

I used a Pampered Chef silicone spatula to stir because they have a high heat tolerance.
You'll also need extra arms, because you'll be stirring and
stirring and stirring until you think the arms you have will fall off!

See? An action shot...of the incessant stirring...

Ahead of time, you'll want to prepare your cookie sheet or baking sheet for cooling.
I used a cookie sheet and lined it with parchment which
I also buttered so the caramel wouldn't stick.

Once they're cool, turn them out onto a large cutting board and use a heavy,
sharp knife to cut them to the size and shape you want.

Be careful.
Caramel is rather hard and you'll be using a lot of pressure on the knife to cut it.
I wouldn't want any of you to injure yourself in the name of sweets.

My MIL used wax paper squares to wrap her caramels.
I don't buy wax paper, so I have always used parchment squares.
The parchment I purchase has a silicone
coating so it works similar to the wax paper.

If you use a smaller pan to cool them, you'll get fatter caramels.
I kinda like them me they're easier to bite...
but that's totally up to you.

You will have to excuse the Christmas tree and packaging.
I had fully intended to get this out to you in time for gift giving.

However, life gets in the way sometimes and we just have to adjust our sails.
So...just pretend these take-out boxes really have hearts
on them and give them away for Valentine's Day!

I asked her one time if this was a secret family recipe because I wanted to share it.
She laughed and said she had found it in some magazine
she could no longer remember and thought they sounded good.
She'd been making them every holiday season
since and loved to give them as gifts.

My husband's cousin's wife (got that?) got the recipe from
me in December so she could make some to take to Christmas dinner.
It was a heart-felt gesture and a wonderful surprise to her MIL,
my MIL's sister, and my MIL's husband.
They were very touched by her thoughtfulness.

A legacy of sweetness.

Grandmas Butter Caramels
  • 1 lb real butter
  • 2 ¼ cups packed brown sugar (I used dark, she used regular)
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  1. Mix all but vanilla in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Continue to stir and stir and stir until mixture reaches 243° on a candy thermometer.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla, mix well.
  4. Pour onto a well-buttered cookie sheet or baking pan, spread evenly.
  5. Let cool; cut into squares or rectangles, or whatever your heart desires.
  6. Wrap in wax paper or parchment squares.
  7. Indulge often.

Make some caramels.
Hug the ones you love.