December is a month of frenzied planning and parties. If you love to bake like I do, I’m sure you’ve been busy these days making sweet treats. I thought it would be fun this December to feature some of my very talented baking friends.
One of the blogs that I was lucky enough to come across when I first started over two years ago was: That Skinny Chick Can Bake!
I’m sure you may already know Lizzy. She is one of the most dedicated bloggers I know. Lizzy keeps her blog full of countless delicious desserts. Just yesterday she posted these lovely Rosettes.
I love yeasted breads…how about Lizzy’s superb Orange Rolls
? Wow! If you are looking for a great homemade gift idea, go see her Homemade Kahlua
. Lizzy is always there with her sweet comments and showing support to everyone. I’m excited to feature her here today.
If you are on Google +, we have exciting news to share! I formed a new baking community: Google + Baking Community. Lizzy and Anuradha from Baker Street are moderating the group with me. You know that it will be full of fabulous baking talk-come join the fun!
Lora was one of my first blogger friends. Her mom, Lizzie, of Food and Thrift
, immediately reached out to me when I joined Foodbuzz over two years ago. Just as warm as her mother, Lora became a friend and a blogger who I admired and emulated. A baker like me, she always dazzles me with her cakes, pastries and breads. When she approached me about doing a holiday guest post, I was delighted. I make caramels only at Christmas, so I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you all.
I’ve been in love with caramels since my first taste as a child. Whenever a gift of mixed chocolates made its way into our home, I’d elbow my little sisters out of the way, and zero in on the square shaped caramels. And it turns out, this fondness for caramels runs in the family. Last year, my uncle sent me an old, splattered candy cookbook that used to belong to my grandfather. Besides yellowed recipe clippings nestled between the pages, there were hand written notes about altitude adjustment next to the caramel and praline recipes…in both my grandfather and my Aunt Martha’s handwriting. Who knew that North Dakota and Michigan had to worry about such things? Written in 1952, there were outdated instructions like, “Remove from the fire and pour on an oiled slab between oiled bars.” Huh? It was my intention to use this recipe for caramels as a tribute to my mom’s side of the family, but terms like “slack back” had me a wee bit nervous…as the candy making process can be a bit finicky. So I decided against those in favor of one of my tried and true recipes. I’ve shared another caramel recipe on my blog, but this one has brown sugar as well as white sugar…giving an extra boost of caramel flavor.
Part of this batch will go to Nick, my youngest…a huge caramel fan. As a toddler, he used to accompany me on my weekly trips to the butcher shop…the owner would hand him a slice of ham to sample while she packaged my meat, and then Nick would pick a favorite candy from their glass jar full of confections on our way out the door. Inevitably, he would dig deep to find his favorite caramel candy. So, some of these caramels will go into the holiday goodie boxes for the neighbors, and the rest will be mailed to Nick along with some chocolate chip chip cookies…I think he’ll need a little cheering up as he studies for his first college finals this week.
Brown Sugar Caramels
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup half and half
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Line 8 x 8 inch pan with non-stick foil. Set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugars, corn syrup, half and half, cream and butter. Cook over medium low heat, stirring, till candy thermometer reaches 250º. This may take up to an hour. At 250º remove pan from heat and add vanilla.
Pour into prepared pan and let cool completely. Cut into small squares and wrap in waxed paper.
Makes approximately 60.
Tips for making caramels:
- Use a good, accurate candy thermometer…if your caramels don’t come to temperature, they will be too soft. If the mixture gets too hot, your caramels will be hard to chew.
- Using corn syrup prevents the sugar from recrystallizing and becoming grainy…you don’t want to leave it out.
- A rapid increase or decrease in temperature while cooking will cause the butter to separate from the caramel as it cools. Keep your flame/burner temperature steady. Be patient.
- I use a rubber spatula that can take the heat without melting to stir almost continuously. Some recipes don’t require this constant stirring, so follow the directions on your specific recipe.
Thanks, Lora, for inviting me to share a favorite holiday recipe with you and your followers. Wishing you all a very delicious and Merry Christmas!!! xo
Thank you for the story and these delicious Brown Sugar Caramels, Lizzy. Here’s how to see more of Lizzy and That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! : Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest.
Happy Monday to all of you!