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Golden Caramels

Caramels should be individually wrapped in cellophane or waxed paper so they keep their shape.

  • Yield: Makes about 150
Golden Caramels

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1995/1996

Ingredients

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray

Directions

  1. Spray an 11 3/4-by-16 1/2-inch baking pan (this is a half-sheet pan) with vegetable-oil spray. Set aside in a spot where it will not be moved. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine cream and sweetened condensed milk; set aside.

  2. In a heavy 6- to 8-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup, 1 cup water, sugar, and salt. Clip on candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring with a wooden spoon, 8 to 12 minutes. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals.

  3. Stop stirring, reduce heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250 degrees (hard-ball stage), 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, cook cream mixture over low heat until it is just warm. Do not boil. When sugar reaches 250 degrees. slowly stir in butter and warmed cream mixture, keeping mixture boiling at all times. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage), 55 to 75 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into prepared pan without scraping pot. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours without moving.

  4. To cut, spray a large cutting board generously with vegetable-oil spray. Unmold caramel from pan onto sprayed surface. Cut into 1-by-1 1/4-inch pieces, or other shapes. Wrap each in cellophane or waxed paper.

Reviews (46)

  • Anarie 20 Dec, 2011

    yeswithaj,

    I think doubling this recipe would be unsafe for most home cooks. You would have to lift and pour over 10 pounds of 244-degree caramel; it would be easy to drop it and burn yourself badly. (And do you have a pot that would hold 28 cups with headspace for boiling?)

  • d2churchill 18 Dec, 2011

    @yeswithaj: I've made it every year since '95, and the one year I tried doubling it was *not* a success. Since then I just make 2 separate batches, which is a pain, but worth it to have it turn out perfect.

  • yeswithaj 13 Dec, 2011

    Has anyone ever tried doubling this recipe? I make them every Christmas, but have never been brave enough to double without knowing for sure that it will work. I wish the great Martha herself would read this, she would surely know!

  • jmis02 27 Dec, 2010

    wonderful recipe-very rich and soft too! I would recommend first timers watch very carefully and slow and low is the key. do not over stir while cooking as burnt pieces will fleck the caramel. Do not overspray the pan with oil as they will be somewhat greasy. Well worth the 24 hour wait and 2 hours cooking time for the right temperature. everyone loved them! I simply wrapped in wax paper and cut ends with pinking shears! festive when placed in a holiday bowl.

  • pesavento 16 Dec, 2010

    jmhnath,
    What if you cut up foiled wrapping paper in 1 in strips and wrapped each caramel over the waxed paper. Of course, use several colors to make it festive.

  • pesavento 16 Dec, 2010

    jmhnath,
    What if you cut up foiled wrapping paper in 1 in strips and wrapped each caramel over the waxed paper. Of course, use several colors to make it festive.

  • twodogsbakery 15 Dec, 2010

    Actually, sixsons, I think you are misreading the recipie as it clearly states "Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage), 55 to 75 minutes."

  • sixsons 14 Dec, 2010

    Hi, I think many or most of you are misreading this recipe. It CLEARLY says to stir with a wooden spoon for 8-12 minutes just until the sugar is dissolved, then reduce the heat to medium and cook WITHOUT STIRRING for 45-60 minutes!!

  • jmhnath 14 Dec, 2010

    YUMMMM! You do have to stir a lot but I wouldn't say you have to stir constantly. I stirred my mixture every couple minutes (which is still labor intensive but not quite as bad as literally standing over the pot w/ a wooden spoon for an hour) after adding the butter and cream mixture and it turned out great.

    Anybody have other ideas for how to wrap the caramel pieces? Plain white wax paper doesn't seem very festive.

  • candygoddess 10 Dec, 2010

    I have made this recipe about a dozen times, all with great success. You HAVE to stir, it won't go over well if you don't. I make a lot of candy, and this is a recipe that requires stirring. I'm not sure why they lead you to believe otherwise. You can also easily half the batch, it's more than enough!

  • psofey 23 Feb, 2010

    I'm sure you could cut the recipe in half. I made a batch for Christmas and it outlasted all the handmade gifts I needed and plenty of snacking by my household! You really do need to stir the entire time, yes. Grab a book or put the laptop on the counter and watch something while you stir. Don't risk it burning like I've done to mine!

    And these are totally worth the effort. They'd cost you $20 a dozen from a gormet candy shop! Yum.

  • erinboberin22 9 Dec, 2009

    Has anyone made these with the recipe cut in half? They sound great, but I don't need that many.

  • weeha 10 Jan, 2009

    about the stirring, you then have to stir for 55 to 75 minutes, so there is a lot of standing and stirring involved

  • punkybunny300 28 Nov, 2008

    These are sooo delicious! I didn't have any problems at all just by following the recipe exactly. They take a little bit of time and patience and need to be babysitted but you will be rewarded for all your hardwork with sticky gooey delicious caramels!

  • teamcharlie 27 Nov, 2008

    i am afraid some of the previous people have misread the directions. it clearly states to cook WITHOUT STIRRING for 55-60 minutes. You will not have to stand there stirring constantly for and hour.

  • Pepperdog 19 Nov, 2008

    We make these caramels every year. It's a family project and last year we wrapped and gave away over 100 pounds. We'll add toasted pecans or almonds, rum flavoring, or no flavoring at all. They're all wonderful! Yes, it takes a long time to make them, but your friends and family will be forever grateful.

  • lisamay 12 Nov, 2008

    I agree that these caramels are tasty - indeed very good, great flavor. They are more labor intense than other recipes I have that are every bit as good. (We will see what the work crowd says) This is a pricey recipe so I will be cutting them smaller than my customary caramel candy recipe.
    I would like to freeze my next batch for about a month. I am debating on freezing the sheet whole and cutting and wrapping later, I am afraid the wax paper will get soggy in the freezer - your thoughts?

  • mmau 1 Nov, 2008

    Thanks terrie-bear, I like how that sounds. Seems like a very good recipe, not sure if honey is the best flavor for a caramel. At least it sounds better than 4 cups of corn syrup,

  • lindagaines 1 Nov, 2008

    For sweetened condensed milk:1 cup nonfat dry milk powder, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup boiling water, 3 tablespoons melted butter. Combine in an electric blender and blend until smooth. Makes amount equal to one can. Butter must be melted and water boiling. I have tried this and it worked fine. You can use a food processor, but it comes out a little thinner, but it still worked in the recipe I used. In the blender it is harder to get the whirlpool of ingredients going, but it comes out thicker.

  • 1Toffy 31 Oct, 2008

    Anyone using a candy thermometer for the first time, be sure to calibrate it first. Instructions should be on the package. It is important. The thermometer can be off by a few degrees and this can make a difference in the final product.

  • 1Toffy 31 Oct, 2008

    I have made Homemade Caramels with great success.Time consuming,I don't remember stirring it constantly at all.I am not that kind of a cook.Turn the flame down a bit and watch it.Stir often and keep checking it.The use of a thermometer is essential. Homemade caramels are softer than the commercial variety.I prefer Homemade to Store Bought.Dont overcook them or they will be hard. JOSIEN: I am sure you can make your own Sweet Condensed Milk by cooking Evaporated milk,Sugar,until thickened.

  • josien 30 Oct, 2008

    Bedankt Miralda, Het is me al een stuk duidelijker. Zag dat je net lid ben geworden. Het is echt een super site. Ik heb er al zoveel leuke dingen vanaf gehaald. Veel plezier met het bewaren en gebruiken van alles. groetjes Josien

  • mykele 29 Oct, 2008

    Ladiies, your comments really tell me to go to a
    good candy store and buy them. This recipe is
    really labor intensive and expensive to boot.
    My time is too valuable for such a recipe and
    the cost is really a bit much.

  • geniesam 29 Oct, 2008

    These are the very best caramels you'll ever have. Folks beg me to make the a whole batch just for them. Let me forewarn you -- they are extremely time intensive!!!! Waiting until the degree is eached, constanly stirring the whole time, when cooled then cut them them into bite size pieces

  • jeanne58 29 Oct, 2008

    Barefoort Contessa last Saturday made caramels and didn't seem to need to stir much at all...maybe work?

  • jeanne58 29 Oct, 2008

    Barefoort Contessa last Saturday made caramels and didn't seem to need to stir much at all...maybe work?

  • sewswell 29 Oct, 2008

    I can't imagine being able to stand for 55 to 75 minutes and stir this constantly, but I would love to make these.

  • terrie-bear 29 Oct, 2008

    Mmau -- I don't know how this tastes-- Honey Caramels, Uses 2 cups honey AND sugar, 1/2 t. salt, 1 C. evaporated milk, and 1/2 C. butter. Cook honey, sugar and salt rapidly to 250 degrees stirring occasionally. Add milk and butter. Cook rapidly to 250 degrees again, being careful not to scorch. This may take 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into buttered 9X13 pan. Cool, and cut into 100 pieces. Wrap in waxed paper.

  • mmau 29 Oct, 2008

    Does anyone know any caramel (or other candy) recipes that do NOT use corn syrup? There must be a way to make caramels w/out corn syrup.

  • CathyM 29 Oct, 2008

    In step 3, do you really have to stir constantly for 55 to 75 minutes, until the thermometer reaches 244 degrees?

  • CathyM 29 Oct, 2008

    In step 3, do you really have to stir constantly for 55 to 75 minutes, until the thermometer reaches 244 degrees?

  • AlexandraB 29 Oct, 2008

    Has anyone tried halving the recipe? That's about $16 worth of ingredients and I'd hate to blow it on a first try. Sounds divine though, hard to go wrong with any recipe based on cream and sugar!

  • AlexandraB 29 Oct, 2008

    Has anyone tried halving the recipe? That's about $16 worth of ingredients and I'd hate to blow it on a first try. Sounds divine though, hard to go wrong with any recipe based on cream and sugar!

  • AlexandraB 29 Oct, 2008

    Has anyone tried halving the recipe? That's about $16 worth of ingredients and I'd hate to blow it on a first try. Sounds divine though, hard to go wrong with any recipe based on cream and sugar!

  • kookybaker 29 Oct, 2008

    I make these every Christmas. Watch the temperature! If you heat them past the soft ball stage, they will be hard as a rock and you will need to crack them out of the pan. Also, if you place the warm caramel pan in a really cool place like a garage or basement, you should be able to cut the caramels in a couple of hours.

  • kookybaker 29 Oct, 2008

    I make these every Christmas. Watch the temperature! If you heat them past the soft ball stage, they will be hard as a rock and you will need to crack them out of the pan. Also, if you place the warm caramel pan in a really cool place like a garage or basement, you should be able to cut the caramels in a couple of hours.

  • kookybaker 29 Oct, 2008

    I make these every Christmas. Watch the temperature! If you heat them past the soft ball stage, they will be hard as a rock and you will need to crack them out of the pan. Also, if you place the warm caramel pan in a really cool place like a garage or basement, you should be able to cut the caramels in a couple of hours.

  • kookybaker 29 Oct, 2008

    I make these every Christmas. Watch the temperature! If you heat them past the soft ball stage, they will be hard as a rock and you will need to crack them out of the pan. Also, if you place the warm caramel pan in a really cool place like a garage or basement, you should be able to cut the caramels in a couple of hours.

  • kookybaker 29 Oct, 2008

    I make these every Christmas. Watch the temperature! If you heat them past the soft ball stage, they will be hard as a rock and you will need to crack them out of the pan. Also, if you place the warm caramel pan in a really cool place like a garage or basement, you should be able to cut the caramels in a couple of hours.

  • rallieforreal 29 Oct, 2008

    Hai Josien,

    Corn syrup is maisstroop en sweetened condensed milk is gecondenseerde melk. Het eerste is te koop bij delicatessenwinkels waar ze ook engelse en amerikaanse produkten verkopen en soms hebben ze het ook bij de toko en ik heb het ook wel een bij een goedgesorteerde jumbo gezien. Het tweede is bijna bij alle goed gesorteerde supermarkten te koop en zit in een blikje van friese vlag, het is gezoete, ingedikte melk. Ik hoop dat je hier wat aan hebt.
    Groetjes, Miralda

  • Lynelle1 29 Oct, 2008

    Corn syrup is found with the pancake syrups at the grocery store. Heavy cream we find in the dairy section along with milk and refridgerated coffee creamers..... But that is here in America. Maybe this wll help you locate it there.

  • josien 29 Oct, 2008

    Can any one tell me what corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk are and if I can buy it in Holland or can I make it myself? Thanks for helping

  • ulihelisdi 29 Oct, 2008

    nothing tastes better than homemade caramel. When I make this I will cook it on medium high, instead of high, it makes life easier.

  • kstone 29 Oct, 2008

    I make homemade caramels every Christmas and in my opinion they are well worth the effort. It's what makes the holidays special. It's the love that you add that makes them so tasty!

  • judithuk 29 Oct, 2008

    if you have to ask that question then you have the answer - unless you have an empty two hours and a very strong arm

  • Queenlalisa 29 Oct, 2008

    I bet these are really good. But they take a long time to make. Does anyone know if they are worth the time, or should I just go buy some caramels?

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