• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds or pecans
    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    3 tablespoons water
    3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
    1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds or pecans

    Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges.  Sprinkle the 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts in the pan.

    Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan.  In the saucepan melt the butter.  Add the sugar, corn syrup and water.  Cook and stir over medium high heat to boiling.

    Clip a candy thermometer to the pan.  Cook and stir over medium heat to 290ºF- soft crack stage. This should take about 15 minutes.  Watch carefully as it hits 280, because it goes fast after that and you don’t want to scorch.  Remove saucepan from heat, remove thermometer.

    Pour the mixture into your prepared pan.  Let stand for 5 minutes, or until firm, sprinkle with the chocolate pieces.  Allow them to sit for 2 minutes, until soft and melty, and then spread the chocolate around to cover.  Sprinkle with the finely chopped nuts.  Chill until furm.  Lift candy out of pan and break into pieces.  Store tightly covered.  Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

  • 4 cups pecans — finely chopped
    1 pound butter
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
    2 1/2 cups sugar
    1 pound milk chocolate

    Butter a 12×18 baking sheet; cover with pecans and set aside. In a heavy 3 qt saucepan, combine butter, water, corn syrup, and sugar. Place over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low; remove wooden spoon.

    Clip on candy thermometer. Cook syrup to 290F or soft crack stage. Remove from heat immediately and pour over pecans. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour.

    Melt chocolate. Spread over the top of the toffee. Sprinkle warm chocolate with nuts if desired- pressing lightly so they adhere.

    Allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Break into irregular pieces and store in an airtight container. Makes 4-5 pounds- or around 150 pieces.

  • 8 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup butter
    3 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 300ºF. Sort through the popped corn to remove any unpopped kernels. Place the popcorn in a large roasting pan or other deep pan, place in the oven to keep warm while you make the caramel.

    Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a heavy saucepot over medium-high heat. Cook and stir to boiling. Carefully clip on a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue to cook and stir to 255º, or hard-ball stage. This should take about 4 minutes.

    Remove saucepot from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir gently to coat the kernels.

    Bake in a 300ºF oven for 15 minutes. Stir gently, return to oven, and bake for 5 more minutes.

    Transfer popcorn to a large piece of foil or sheet pans to cool completely. Break up into clusters. Store tightly covered.

    For Nutty Caramel Corn prepare as above, except add 1 1/2 cups peanuts, walnut halves, cashews, or pecan halves to the caramel coated corn before baking. Toss gently.

  • Candy 25.10.2007 No Comments

    1 cup butter
    2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
    1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
    1 cup light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Line an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of the pan. Butter foil, and set aside.

    In a heavy 3 qt saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, condensed milk, and corn syrup, mix well. Cook and stir over medium high heat to boiling. Carefully clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook and stir mixture over medium heat to 248F or firm ball stage. (10 to 15 minutes)

    Remove the saucepan from the heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Immediately pour caramel mixture into the prepared pan. When firm, use the foil to lift it out of the pan. Use a buttered knife to cut into 1 inch squares. Wrap each caramel in waxed paper. Makes about 2 pounds.

    To dip Caramel apples: Wash and dry 14 to 16 small tart apples; remove stems. Insert a wooden stick into the stem end of each apple.

    Prepare as above, except do not pour caramel into prepared pan. Working quickly, dip each apple into hot caramel, turning to coat. If desired, dip bottoms of apples into 1 cup chopped nuts. Set on a buttered baking sheet; chill if desired.

  • Candy 01.05.2006 No Comments

    2 sticks Grade AA butter
    2 cups half & half
    2 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
    1 cup light Karo corn syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla (extract or real work interchangeably here)

    In a 3 quart nonstick saucepan, slowly melt your butter over low heat. Stir occasionally to keep your butter from separating. Add the half & half, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Raise your heat to medium and stir constantly to blend your ingredients. Stir constantly until the sugars have dissolved completely. At that point it is safe to walk away for just a second- but not for long. Stirring constantly is preferred from here on out. Raise the heat to medium high. Once your mixture starts boiling, carefully clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil and stir constantly until your mixture reaches 244º. (This could take as long as 45 minutes- and not particularily recommended for humid days). At 244º your mixture will be at soft ball stage, and is perfect for dipping caramel apples. However, if you let your mixture go to 248º, it will make perfect caramels for eating.

    For dipping apples, remove your pan from the heat at 244º and add the vanilla. Stir like crazy until it is incorporated, and continue stirring until it stops boiling and bubbling away. Turn your burner as low as it will go, and place your pot back on the burner. Working quickly, dip your apples in caramel- shaking off the excess. You will need to move quickly, and stir between each apple to keep the caramel from over-cooking and separating. If you wish to add candies, etc. to your apples, place the hot apples into the desired toppings and pat them onto the apple, taking care not to burn yourself.

    For caramels, have a 9″ square baking pan lined with foil and buttered (or use Reynold’s Release for perfect results everytime). At 248º remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Stir until completely incorprated and pour into the foil lined pan to firm up. Once cooled and set, cut into individual pieces and wrap with wax paper.

    Remember- hot sugar is dangerous. Boiling sugar even more so- but the flavor is so much better than you could ever get from unwrapping a store-bought caramel. It’s well worth the effort. One batch of caramel will dip about 15 apples give or take a few, depending on the size of the apples.

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