These caramel candies are a favorite in our house at the holidays. The recipe came from another parent at my kids’ school. She sells vanilla caramels every year at the bake sale, and last year, I asked if she’d show me how to make them. Thankfully, she obliged.
What You Need:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 lb dark brown sugar (2 3/4 cups) OR 1 lb light brown sugar + 1/4 cup molasses
1 cup white corn syrup
1 (14-15 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Yield: 50-60 caramels
*Note: I often double the recipe (as you will see in the photos) because I gift them.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt butter.
While the butter is melting, line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
When the butter has melted completely, add the sugar, corn syrup, milk and salt. Stir.
Continue stirring the entire time, while the mixture combines, begins bubbling, and until the mixture reaches 236-238 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. Be careful while stirring! If it bubbles onto your hand, it will burn!
Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. (Be careful when you add the vanilla. It will bubble up a lot right then.) Stir to combine completely.
Pour into a parchment-lined 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Allow to rest and cool completely overnight. (At least 5 hours.)
Cut into small squares.
Wrap with a waxed paper squares about 4″-5″ square.
*Note: It is very important to my husband that the caramels twist to unwrap. If you want the ‘satisfying twist,’ you must wrap so that both sides of your wrapper go the same direction.
Store in an airtight container. Will last 1-2 weeks at room temperature.