Well, this post starts with several important announcements:
- I have created a new facebook page for this ‘ole site, Cookies for England. Check it out here. It’s a new facebook page, so please give the little teensy baby some love and help it grow into a big, confident webpage. 😀 You can also follow me on Pinterest here, “If you’s a mind to.”
Today’s post involves a GIVEAWAY!!! (Can you tell I love SHOUTING that word?). I mean, come on. Who doesn’t love free stuff? More about this and how to enter at the end of this post.
This Contest is now over. The winner is Becca D. Congratulations, Becca! 🙂
- You’re awesome. But of course, you already knew that.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
There are many classic flavor combos out there– chocolate and peanut butter, strawberries and cream, lemon and lime . . . and, of course, salt and caramel. At its heart, caramel is butter and sugar that have been boiled right up to the brink of burning and then pulled back just before they jumped off the edge 😉 I adore caramel– in fancier dishes like Salted Caramel Cream Pudding, or just plain, in squares wrapped in wax paper. This particular recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks– Betty Crocker’s Bridal Edition Cookbook, so keep reading for a chance to win one of these cookbooks for your own home library! You’ll be making delicious salted caramels and who knows what else, in no time. You may be able to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!!! (World conquering music swells in background and an evil chuckle is heard . . .) haha. Well, maybe not that far. But seriously– this cookbook is awesome, and I will be giving away a copy of it to one lucky reader! Directions for entering are at the end of the post 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Homemade Salted Caramels
(adapted from Betty Crocker’s Bridal Edition Cookbook)
- 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 tbsp. corn syrup
Boil all ingredients until a candy thermometer registers 245 degrees. This should take about 30 minutes or so, on medium low heat, as the mixture reduces and thickens. Pour mixture into a greased waxed paper pan (I used an 8×4 loaf pan) and allow it to cool completely at room temperature until set (about 2 hours). Cut into small squares, top with a few sprinkles of sea salt, and wrap in wax paper squares.
As I said, the recipe for these caramels comes from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. There are many versions of this classic cookbook (Not really sure how old “Betty” is, since she is apparently quite good at hiding her age and never appears on her cookbook covers. 😉 But this Bridal edition is a really cool one, because it includes many “beginner” type tips, as well as handy dandy charts, for a cook just starting out. (But wait! I’m not a bride!!! What if I’m a . . . . a. . . . MAN!!!!! Wahhhh!!! I want to enter the contest, too! My entire life is a LIE!!!!!) Aww– don’t worry. You definitely don’t have to be a new bride (or a bride at all, for that matter), to own this book. It’s just a great, all-around cookbook with basic, as well as more complicated recipes, but it shows you how to get there, with photos and simple explanations. “And I am a beeeegg fan of zeee zimple!!!”
I will show you a few pages to pique your interest on this book . . . there are many full-color pages that break down the different cuts of meat and where they come from. You can see exactly what you’re getting and know what type of cut it is (tough, tender, etc). There are many descriptions of how to cut and cook different pieces, which is super helpful when you’re at the grocery store trying to decide the difference between chuck steak and London Broil, scrutinizing both packages in your hands while an old lady clicks her teeth, impatiently, behind you. You’re welcome.
There are also pages like this one (No pictures! I, I, don’t know if I can do this . . .(upper lip trembles). Hang tight– you can do it. I promise. The book is full of handy dandy charts, like this one, that show you conversions and baking times. This means that when you take up the Thanksgiving turkey, or Easter ham, with trepidation in your heart, you will be able to figure out how long to roast it, and Uncle Bill won’t end up with food poisoning. Again, you’re welcome.
And whether you’re a beginner or veteran cook, everyone likes to see pictures of what the food is supposed to look like, so that you know you’re on the right track. The book is full of great illustrations (Breathe a sigh of relief. There are pictures here!) that show you exactly how your recipe should look, as well as recipes “before” and “after” so you know what went wrong, if something does. But don’t worry– you’ll be cooking up a storm, and you’ll never make mistakes, right? 😉
Today, I’m pulling just one of my favorite recipes from this book– homemade caramels. I am making half a recipe today, which makes a loaf pan’s worth of caramels. The original recipe makes an 8×8, which would be great for a crowd or for a fun, Easter-candy-rolling activity for the kiddos after the eggs are all found (They found them all in 30 seconds? Seriously?) and you are desperate for a kid-pleasing activity. Oh, you are just so welcome. These caramels also make awesome holiday gifts, because they are individually wrapped in squares of wax paper and oh-so-cute. They are so cute that, if they were a baby, you’d have to pinch those chubby little cheeks.
This recipe couldn’t be easier. Get yourself a medium saucepan and pour the ingredients into it. Yep. That’s about as complicated as this gets. Stir the mixture so everything is well combined, and let it start to heat up on medium low heat.
Here’s a little secret tip that makes cleanup a snap. Take a loaf pan and press a piece of wax paper into it. Spray the wax paper with cooking spray, just to make sure you have teeth after eating this. JK. Wax paper is kind of like the Grandma who just returned from surgery and won’t stay in her bed– it wants to get UP! To hold that wax paper in place, I used a couple of chip clips. Hey– it ain’t pretty, but it works.
Your mixture will get nice and hot and start to bubble. Boiling is OK, but don’t let it go nuts and shoot off fireworks, or anything like that. haha. Go ahead and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, but make sure that it isn’t touching the actual bottom of the pan, or you won’t get an accurate read. It should be kind of suspended in the syrup. We want to cook the mixture until it gets to 245 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, alternatively you can drip a drop of this mixture into a glass of water, and it will form a ball that you can gently squish with your hands without it going everywhere. Yeah . . . it’s easier to use the thermometer. Use one if you have it. They’re cheap, and it will give you the excuse to . . . MAKE CANDY!! Oh, yeah.
As the mixture cools, it will start to cook down (you can see the line on my pan where the syrup used to be, and where the “waters receded.” haha.). The syrup will also start to darken in color and smell amazingly sweet and . . . well, “caramelly.” Is “Caramelly” a word? It should be.
When the mixture reaches 245 degrees, go ahead and pour it into your prepared wax paper creation. Move the pan to a hot pad or a cool oven burner, because it will get very hot after the syrup is poured into it.
Here’s another secret: don’t place your oven thermometer right into the sink, right after you take it out of the hot syrup, because that will crack it. Let the thermometer cool on a spoon rest or dish until that syrup cools, and then it will be good to go for washing. A good way to clean this sticky stuff off is to clip your cooled thermometer in a glass of warm water for 5 minutes or so. It will soften that sugar right up, and cleanup will be a snap. Don’t submerge the whole thermometer– just hand-wash the end.
It takes about 2 hours for the syrup to firm into caramels. When your caramels have completely cooled at room temperature (don’t put them in the fridge), go ahead and lift out your wax paper. Aww– look at that sweet little square of caramel! There will be some raggedy edges, but that’s OK. Use the wax paper to kind of push the edges into place. The caramels are soft enough that they will mold back into shape nicely. At this point, it’s up to you– you can use a knife, scissors, or a pizza cutter to cut the caramels into squares. I found that a pizza cutter worked perfectly, for me. You can cut them on diagonals if you want diamond shapes, or you can make simple squares or any shape you want, really. You want to carve George Washington’s face? Be my guest. And be sure to taste a few shreds– MMMMMmmmm. They taste like soft Werther’s Original candies. Suddenly, I feel like I’m visiting my grandparents, because the older generation always seems to have pockets full of those things. I guess they are wise enough to know what’s good 😉
When your caramels are cut, give them a little sprinkle of sea salt. YUM. Wrap them in little squares of wax paper– you can cut the caramels and the paper to any size that you want. These candies are so darned cute in those little wrappers, that you’ll be hard pressed not to eat them all. But resist, because they make adorable treats or “just thinking of you” gifts to your neighbors or friends.
But wait! You said there was a giveaway! You promised!!!! (Eyes well up with tears and bottom lip trembles . . . )
Of course! I didn’t forget the GIVEAWAY!!!! One reader is going to win a copy of Betty Crocker’s Bridal Edition cookbook, which contains this awesome caramel recipe, along with many, many others. So here’s how you enter:
*Leave a comment below telling me what recipe you hope to try in this cookbook (it has pretty much everything). You will have to list your name and email to enter, but only I will see your email, and emails will be used only to contact the winner– you won’t be signed up for a newsletter or anything (Suspicious glance– but how do I KNOW I won’t be signed up for the newsletter???? Well, that’s pretty easy– because I don’t have a newsletter 😉
I will randomly select a winner on Sunday night (3/20/2016), so keep your eyes peeled for an email in case you win! Good luck.
And no matter who wins, everyone can be a winner by making these delicious caramels. Close your eyes and take a bite. Ooooohhhhh yes. They’re awesome. And you made them . . . from scratch.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which just means that we get a few pennies if you purchase through our link. I never recommend products that I don't personally use and love. Thanks!