Years ago I made a batch of salted caramels to wrap and give as holiday gifts – now every year we get requests for them. Easy and inexpensive to make, chewy salted caramels look great in a vintage or dollar store jar, individually wrapped in pieces of waxed or parchment paper. Once you get the hang of making caramel from scratch, try experimenting with different flavors – add peppermint extract instead of vanilla, add a pinch of finely grated orange zest or instant espresso. Because everyone loves caramels, I like putting out a dish of them, layered with a square of parchment paper to keep them from sticking together, at our annual Christmas party as well.
Once the caramel has set, you can turn it out onto a cutting board and cut them into rectangles or squares.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
Butter an 8×8″ pan. Combine all ingredients except the vanilla in heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil (15 to 20 minutes).
Continue cooking, until a candy thermometer reaches 244°F or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball (about 25 to 30 minutes). Stir in the vanilla and pour into the buttered pan; chill until set.