Indulge in the delightful taste of Super Soft Homemade Caramels, an easy-to-make candy featuring only butter, dark brown sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth!
Ah, the “Super Soft Homemade Caramels” – this recipe is more than just a list of ingredients; it’s a sweet journey down memory lane. I remember my grandmother’s kitchen, the heart of all family gatherings, where the aroma of these caramels was a signal that the holidays were upon us. Grandma, with her apron dusted in flour, would let me stir the pot, warning me of the exact moment to stop – a skill she said was passed down generations. Every stir, every carefully measured ingredient, and the patience in waiting for them to cool, was an exercise in love and tradition. These caramels were more than just a treat; they were a testament to the warmth and joy of my family’s kitchen, a tradition I now share with my own children, hoping they too will pass on the legacy of our super soft caramels.
Why You’ll Love These Super Soft Homemade Caramels
- Simplicity at Its Best: With only 5 main ingredients, this recipe demystifies the art of candy making, proving that making exquisite caramels at home is within everyone’s reach.
- Texture Perfection: The result is a supremely soft, chewy texture that strikes the perfect balance – not too hard, not too gooey – just melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
- Versatile Sweet Treat: These caramels are perfect for holidays, gifts, or a simple indulgence, making them a versatile addition to any baker’s repertoire.
- Old-Fashioned Charm: The recipe brings a nostalgic touch of old-fashioned candy making into the modern kitchen, creating a link between generations.
Ingredients Notes For These Super Soft Homemade Caramels
Before we dive into making these heavenly Super Soft Homemade Caramels, let’s chat about our key players:
- Unsalted Butter: The foundation of richness. Make sure it’s real butter for that authentic, creamy flavor.
- Dark Brown Sugar: This isn’t just sweetness; the dark variety brings a deeper, more caramelized flavor than its light counterpart. Firmly pack it to get the measurement just right.
- Light Corn Syrup: It’s all about consistency and preventing crystallization. Corn syrup helps in achieving that perfectly smooth texture.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: The secret to the creaminess. This thick, sweet milk is what gives the caramels their signature texture.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: A hint of vanilla adds a layer of complexity to the flavor profile. Quality matters here, so opt for pure over imitation.
How To Make These Super Soft Homemade Caramels
Welcome to your new favorite sweet treat: Super Soft Homemade Caramels! This recipe is all about patience and precision, but don’t worry – I’m here to guide you through each step. Let’s create some candy magic!
- Prepare Your Pan: Start by lining a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and generously butter it. This step ensures your caramels will release easily once they’re set, and that lovely buttery layer adds an extra hint of flavor.
- Melt and Mix: In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Then, stir in the dark brown sugar until it’s fully incorporated. Add in the corn syrup and cook this mixture for about 3 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and everything is beautifully blended. Patience is key here; keep the heat gentle to avoid burning.
- Condensed Milk Magic: Now, stir in the sweetened condensed milk and turn up the heat to medium. This is where the real caramel action happens. Cook, and I mean constantly stir, until the candy thermometer reads between 238° and 240°. This can take about 20-30 minutes, but trust me, it’s worth every minute.
- Vanilla Vibes: Once you’ve reached the sweet spot with your temperature, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Then, pour this golden goodness into your prepared pan. The aroma at this point is absolutely divine!
- Cooling Patience: Let the caramel cool to room temperature, which will take about 3-4 hours. No covering is needed – just let it set in its own sweet time.
- Cut and Wrap: Using the parchment paper, lift the caramel block out of the pan. Grab a sharp knife (a little tip: oiling the blade helps in making cleaner cuts) and cut the caramels into your desired size. Wrap each piece in waxed paper for that classic, homemade candy look.
For these Super Soft Homemade Caramels, you’ve got a couple of handy storage options:
- Room Temperature: Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. They’ll stay soft and chewy, ready for snacking anytime.
- Refrigerator: If you’re in a warmer climate or prefer a firmer caramel, pop them in the fridge. They’ll last up to a month. Just let them come to room temperature before indulging, for that perfect softness.
Variations and Substitutions
Let’s mix things up with these Super Soft Homemade Caramels! Whether you’re looking to switch an ingredient or add a little extra flair, here are some fun ideas:
- Swap the Sugar: Try using light brown sugar for a milder flavor or muscovado sugar for a more robust, molasses-like taste.
- Go Nuts: Stir in chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts at the end for a delightful crunch.
- Chocolate Lovers: Drizzle melted chocolate over the set caramels, or dip them halfway for a chocolate-caramel dream.
- Salted Caramel Twist: Sprinkle a little flaky sea salt over the caramels before they set for that trendy salted caramel vibe.
- Lactose-Free?: Use coconut condensed milk and dairy-free butter for a lactose-free version. Keep in mind, this will slightly alter the flavor profile.
Remember, candy making is an art, but it’s also about having fun. So, feel free to experiment and make this recipe your own! 🍬👩🍳
Super Soft Homemade Caramels
- 1 cup of unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ cups of dark brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 cup of light corn syrup
- 1 can 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- Preparation of Baking Pan: Begin by lining a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Ensure the parchment paper is evenly spread and covers all sides of the pan. Following this, apply a generous layer of butter over the parchment paper. This procedure is crucial for the easy release of caramels once they are set.
- Butter and Sugar Mixture: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, commence by melting the unsalted butter over a medium-low heat setting. Once the butter has melted, incorporate the firmly packed dark brown sugar. It is essential to continue stirring until the sugar is thoroughly mixed with the melted butter. Subsequently, blend in the light corn syrup into the mixture. Continue to heat and stir the mixture for approximately three minutes, ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved and the ingredients are well combined.
- Incorporation of Sweetened Condensed Milk: Following the previous steps, introduce the sweetened condensed milk into the saucepan. Increase the heat to a medium setting and continue to stir the mixture vigorously. It is imperative to maintain constant stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. The target temperature for this mixture, as indicated by a candy thermometer, is between 238° and 240° Fahrenheit. Achieving this temperature typically requires a cooking duration of 20 to 30 minutes.
- Addition of Vanilla Extract: Upon reaching the desired temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat source. At this juncture, stir in the pure vanilla extract. Ensure that the vanilla extract is thoroughly blended into the mixture.
- Cooling Process: Pour the caramel mixture into the previously prepared baking pan. Spread the mixture evenly within the pan and allow it to cool at room temperature. The cooling process is critical and should last approximately 3 to 4 hours, or until the caramel is completely set. During this period, do not cover the caramel mixture.
- Cutting and Wrapping: After the caramel has set, use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the caramel out of the baking pan. Employing a sharp knife, cut the caramel into desired sizes. Finally, wrap each individual caramel piece in waxed paper for preservation and presentation.