I was at church the first time I had a brown sugar caramel. It is appropriate that I should have received it there because church should always be a very joy-filled occasion. It is actually kind of weird that I remember having one at all. At the time, I wasn’t that obsessed with baking or candy, besides having the love of candy that most 12-year-olds have.
I think it really struck me because it was so different than any caramel I had experienced before, you know, those store-bought, pre-wrapped chunks of toffee that stick in your teeth and taste like preservatives. And it wasn’t like the caramel you get in a candy bar either. This caramel was soft and full of a rich flavor. It was heavenly.
Since that time, I have found brown sugar caramels at select coffee shops and homes all around Minnesota. I can never resist them, nor do I try. That would be folly.
I had forgotten them until I came across the recipe on a blog one day. Even though I was nervous about trying them given my track record, I figured that it was high time I had some good caramel in my life. And it was New Years coming up. Start things off right, you know.
Pipe dream CHECK,
Brown Sugar Caramels
Adapted from Stella B’s Kitchen
1 cup butter
⅛ teaspoons salt
2-½ cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup corn syrup
1 can sweetened, condensed milk – 14-ounce Can
1 teaspoon vanilla
pecans or other nuts, if you like
Generously butter the bottom and a couple inches up the sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
Melt butter, salt and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir in corn syrup, mix well. I have to admit that I added half the corn syrup by mistake before I was supposed to. It turned out all right. Gradually add condensed milk. Stir constantly over medium heat for 12-15 minutes until temperature reaches firm ball stage (250 degrees F). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Quickly pour into the greased pan. Cool completely at room temperature.
Cut about 100 5×4 inch pieces of wax paper to wrap the caramels, or just cut them out without wrapping like I did. I didn’t cover them well, and by day three, they were a bit gooey, so you’ll have to eat them fast if you don’t seal them. Shouldn’t be too tricky.
Place a large sheet of wax paper on a large cutting board. Butter wax paper lightly. Pull out the sheet of set caramel (if you are having trouble, section the slab into thirds, pull that chunk out and proceed) and set on wax paper. Cut into one inch pieces (shoot for Tootsie Roll size). Wrap with pieces of wax paper twisting towards yourself, or both ends twisted in the same direction so they unwrap neatly when pulled. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Makes about 100 pieces.