Caramel is the perfect thing to bring to a party or offer someone as a gift. Its creamy texture, sweet flavor, and slight saltiness make it so hard to turn down -- and versatile! Whether you're a dedicated caramel lover or just have a few in your family, these two caramel treat recipes are sure to become your go-to solutions for dessert goodness.
Homemade Chocolate-Covered Caramels
These traditional caramels will rival any that you buy in a candy store. Be sure to plan ahead for this recipe as the candy needs to spend a total of 4 hours in the fridge before you can eat it.
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening, plus additional for greasing the pan
Begin by greasing a 12 x 15 inch pan with shortening. Make sure it is covered evenly.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter is fully melted, stir in the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and evaporated milk. Turn the heat up to medium, and stir constantly. Use a candy thermometer inserted into the center of the candy mixture to monitor the temperature. When the thermometer reads 250 degrees F (the firm ball stage) , remove the mixture from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract.
As soon as the vanilla is incorporated, pour the caramel into the greased pan. Shake the pan to spread the caramel out evenly, and the place the pan in the fridge.
The caramel should set up within 2 to 3 hours. While this is happening, line a second baking pan with wax paper. When the caramel is firm, use a sharp knife to cut it into 1-inch cubes. Set the cubes aside as you melt the chocolate and shortening in a double-boiler.
Use a toothpick or fork to dip each piece of caramel into the melted chocolate. Set each coated caramel on the wax paper-lined baking sheet. When all of the caramels have been dipped, return the sheet to the fridge. Let the chocolate harden for about an hour before serving.
Heavenly Caramel Bars
If you're not confident in your candy-making abilities, prepare these easy bars instead. The recipe calls for pre-made caramels, so they're basically fool proof—but still utterly delicious.
- 1/3 cup butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 16 soft caramel candies, unwrapped
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or a stiff fork, blend the mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Do not over-mix; it should appear crumbly. Stir the pecans into the mixture.
Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with a little butter. Then, pat the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan. Make sure it extends all of the way into each corner.
Place the unwrapped caramels in the microwave, and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring them between each interval. When they're fully melted, drizzle the caramel over the crust. Sprinkle the crust with the chocolate chips.
Place the prepared bars in your preheated oven, and bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, slice into 12 bars, and enjoy. You can top them with some whipped cream for an extra special touch.
To learn more about caramel candies, visit resources like http://www.abdallahcandies.com.