Quickie gifts from kitchen nice to get: Classic caramel candy
Found: The perfect recipe for the classic caramel candy, that everyone can enjoy making — and eating.
Years ago when a friend of ours was at college training to be a dietitian, one of her textbooks was the invaluable “Hows and Whys of Cooking” by Evelyn G Halliday and Isabel T Noble. The girls in the dietetic class soon discovered that the book contained a mean recipe for caramels! Around holiday time, they cooked up the candy for gifts; other times of the year they made and sold batches of it for pin money.
Recently this caramel recipe, matched against another standard one, came out the winner. Here is our adaptation of the textbook rule. The main ingredients stay in their original proportions, but we have added vanilla because it gives these light bland caramels delicate flavor, and we’ve particularized the method so that young cooks who have not had the benefit of a home economics classroom will find it easy to follow.
When big sisters go into the kitchen to make something sweet to eat, little sisters are sure to follow. We find such moppets are perfectly happy marking off and cutting up the pieces of waxed paper needed for wrapping the candy. Then when the caramels are ready to be wrapped, they’ll be ready to help do this work. But remember that small hands will “close” each candy, wrapping most successfully by twirling its ends.
Classic caramel candy recipe: Light nut caramels
Ingredients: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 cup light cream, 1/4 cup butter or margarine, 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Method: Place sugar, corn syrup, cream and butter in a large (about 3 quarts) heavy saucepan; mix well. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
When the mixture begins to “caramelize,” lower the heat and cook, stirring constantly, to 244 degrees on a candy thermometer; or until a teaspoonful of the mixture, when dropped into a cup of very cold water, forms a firm ball that does not flatten when it is removed from the water. Stir in the nuts and vanilla.
Pour into one corner of a lightly-buttered cake pan (8 by 8 by 2 inches) allowing the mixture to flow and level of its own accord. Allow to stand until cold. Turn the block of candy onto a cutting board. Mark off into 3/4 inch squares; cut with a sharp knife. Wrap caramels individually in waxed paper.
Makes about 1-1/4 pounds
Chocolate nut classic caramel candy
Follow recipe for light nut caramels, adding 1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate after mixture has reached boiling point.