Saturday, December 19, 2009

Easy Microwave Caramel

Need one last super easy, quick holiday treat? These are perfect fillers for that holiday tray you give to friends and family. I apologize for only having one picture; I had no intention of putting this on my blog but the results were so tasty that I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I quick grabbed the camera and snapped one shot while I was wrapping them up so that I had at least something to go with the recipe!

I make caramels every year-- they are delicious, but can be tricky if you don't have a good candy thermometer. It's time consuming, too.... to stand there watching and stirring making sure that it doesn't burn and waiting for it to reach the right temp, only to have it hover a few degrees lower than what it needs to be at..... and then to find that you should have pulled it all along. In fact, here is last years entry when I made caramels.

This year, I stumbled upon a microwave caramel recipe. In fact, it came from my aunt Peggy; she had forwarded me one of those emails that is filled to the galore with clickable links for hundreds of cookie/candy sweet treat recipes. I gave this recipe a try today and will never ever make it on the stove top again! It's a perfect recipe that does not require a thermometer! The recipe is a bit vague on cooking times-- a large 2 minute window. I cooked my batch for a total of 6 minutes and 15 seconds and it's a tad too soft-- but still perfect. I just had to refrigerate it before cutting since it's soft. But it's perfect consistency for eating. I'll probably cook my next batch another 30 seconds and I think it will be perfect.

I also added a tsp of vanilla just before pouring into the 8x8... I prefer my caramels to be vanilla caramel. I also lined the baking pan with plastic wrap (or alum foil) and buttered that instead of the pan itself. It made it easy to pop out of the pan for cutting.

I got about 66 caramels from the recipe.

1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla (I added this to the recipe)


Using large microwave-safe dish, melt butter. Add corn syrup, sugars and milk. Stir well and microwave for 6-8 minutes, stirring half way through time. (6 minutes is too short for my 1000 watt microwave, but 8 minutes is too long.  7:30 is just perfect!)
Remove from microwave and add vanilla; stir. Pour into greased 8x8 pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool on a counter top until they reach room temperature. 
Cut into pieces (I like to sprinkle them with sea salt at this point) and wrap in wax paper (twist the ends).

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