I know it's been a hot minute since I posted here, but seeing as I have added some years of wisdom to my baking and cooking since I last posted, I thought I ought to share some of my best successes with y'all.
Recipe first, details later (because I know we all hate the infinite scroll recipes)
PLEASE READ ENTIRELY BEFORE MAKING CARAMELS FOR YOUR BEST SHOT AT SUCCESS
this recipe makes about 2.5 pounds of caramels, but you are welcome to half it if you want
*4 sticks of butter cut in half
*1 bag of 2 lb brown sugar (or 4 1/4 cups of packed brown sugar and I've used white sugar when I'm out of brown sugar and the caramels are just slightly less deep in flavor)
*1 teaspoon of salt (if you like the 'salted caramel' flavor, otherwise, reduce to 1/2 tsp)
*1 1/2 cups of corn syrup (can do two parts dark to one part light or all light corn syrup for a lighter flavor)
*2 cups evaporated milk
*2 tb vanilla (Mexican vanilla if you can get it)
I'm gonna break down the methodology, because this is where you will sink or swim.
PRE-STEP- grease two large cookie sheet with sides with oil
ONE- add the butter, sugar, salt, and corn syrup to a heavy bottomed pan (like a stock pot) AND THEN turn the heat to medium high, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon
TWO- have several small bowls of cold water in your fridge for testing
THREE- stirring constantly, wait for everything to melt together and start to bubble
FOUR- use a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan (that means getting a pastry brush wet and then basically painting the sides of the pan where little sugar crystals may be so that they don't end up messing your caramels up later-when you are done with this process, there should be nothing on the sides of the pan). Repeat this step every five mintues or so
FIVE- check your caramels every few minutes by taking a spoon of the caramel syrup out and pouring it into a dish of cold water
SIX- when the caramel in the cold water is at a soft, chewy stage where it easily rolls into a soft ball, ADD THE EVAPORATED MILK SLOWLY
SEVEN- stir constantly, wash down sides of pan, and test the caramels every few minutes in the cold water until they feel soft but not sticky. Feel free to throw a sample or two in your mouth to see if you like the texture
EIGHT- once the caramels in the cold water are the texture you want, remove from heat and add the vanilla
NINE- pour the caramels into the prepared cookie sheets. DON'T SCRAPE THE BOTTOM OF THE PAN- just pour them into the cookie sheet and whatever sticks to the pan sticks to the pan- don't try to use it because it can mess with your final product
TEN- let the caramels cool for 10 minutes, score lightly, wait another 4 hours or so, then you can cut them up and wrap them in wax paper or parchment paper pieces
I've got to say, writing it all out, it seems more complicated than when I'm actually making it- but all those little notes are what will help you to get amazing results. I wish you could just come over and I could show you step by step in person, but in lieu of that, I hope you got enough details from here. Nice part about this method is that it doesn't require a candy thermometer. I wish you luck!