This Christmas I have decided to make everyone in my life candy as a present. After all, there is no such thing as too many treats at Christmas!!
The recipe I used is here:http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Caramels/Detail.aspx
It was relatively easy, although more time consuming that I had anticipated. They are delicious and set really nicely over night in the fridge.
2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.Grease a 12x15 inch pan.
2.In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) remove the pot from the heat.
3.Stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and let the mixture cool completely. When cooled cut the Carmel into small squares and wrap them in wax paper for storage.
First, you need to make the caramels several hours before you dip them in chocolate (I made mine the night before and left them in the fridge to cool).
The caramels take a fairly long time to boil to the appropriate point (120 degrees Celcius), probably about 20 minutes. Be careful to remove them from the heat as soon as they hit this point, however, as they quickly burn after this temperature. It really helps to have a digital candy thermometer, although they are more expensive (mine was about $30). You could try with a cheaper plastic one, but be very watchful!
I poured them into the pan and let them set overnight in the fridge. Now, we didn't try this but it might be a helpful tip for next time - instead of just buttering, line the pan with wax paper and use that to life the entire sheet of caramels out when you want to cut them. I think this would make it easier to cut the caramels into uniform shapes. Mine ended up being very randomly sized
I made a second batch of caramels and gave them away just like this, wrapped in cellophane paper with a ribbon.
Super easy and fun gifts, and they taste awesome. However, if you want to go the extra mile:
After being cooled and cut,
we then prepared the chocolate...
We bought some high quality chocolate in bulk (at the Superstore in Canada, although I'm not sure what stores would sell such a thing in other countries, possibly Wal-Mart). Chocolate chips would also work, we just used bricks because the quality of the chocolate is generally higher and the chocolate itself is usually fresher.
We shaved the chocolate and then melted it in a make-shift double boiler. We used a metal bowl that fit snugly over a pot, although other configurations (or an actual double boiler, haha) would work as well. It is important that the boiling water is kept from getting into the bowl with the chocolate, because that will ruin the consistency. (Sorry I don't have any pics of this process).
It is also best to do the chocolate coating in a cool, dry room. Heat and moisture will encourage the chocolate to seperate, which, while not affecting the taste, will affect the appearance of your candy.
We melted in small batches (probably 200 to 300 grams at a time) and once the chocolate was ready we sat down with a pile of caramels and dipped them by hand into the chocolate mixture. Obviously VERY clean hands are essential at this point. Make sure you keep stirring the chocolate as you dip to keep it from seperating. This process takes some practice to do consistently and it gets very messy, but it's also tons of fun!
We also melted some white "chocolate" (which as we all know is really just candy!) and drizzled it on some of the candies for a fancified effect.
The chocolates will be dry enough to move in about half an hour. You can tell they are ready when they lose their glossy finish.
If any of your chocolates get a whiteish finish it is because the chocolate did seperate a bit. Hopefully this doesn't happen but if it does, it won't affect the flavour, only the appearance.
I will be adding more pictures shortly. Hope this is clear, but if anyone has any questions please let me know!