Christmas time means candy time too. I have had some people ask me why their candy doesn’t work here when they moved here from Florida. Here’s a quick way to adjust for altitude: Place the candy thermometer tip a pan with enough water to cover the bulb. Bring the water to a boil and let the water boil for several minutes. Read the temperature at eye level. Note the temperature at which the water boils. Water boils at sea level at 212 degrees, so if the thermometer reads higher or lower than 212°F, just add or subtract that difference from 212. Then subtract that difference from the temperature your recipe calls for. In Heber water usually boils at 203 degrees, so that is 9 degrees minus. (Call me at the Diary Keen or email me if this is crazy to you.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup butter, plus 1 Tablespoon more for buttering pan
2 cups half and half
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Butter an 8×8 pan. Measure the vanilla into a small container and set aside.
Cut the butter into chunks. In a heavy bottom 8 quart saucepan, combine the butter, cream, corn syrup, sugars, and salt. Heat over medium heat until everything has melted, stirring constantly with a heat resistant rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. When almost boiling put on the lid and bring to a boil. Leave lid on for 2 minutes, to wash down the sides of the pan.
Remove lid and attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan, be careful it isn’t touching the bottom of the pan. DO NOT STIR and cook until reaches 240 degrees, (231 degrees in HEBER, see above). It takes a while.
Remove the pan from heat and using a different clean spatula carefully stir in the vanilla, the mixture will bubble and boil. Do not stir the edges or the bottom of the pan.
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Don’t scrap the pan, it will cause the caramel to turn sugary. (I scrap the leftovers in the pan into a small buttered bowl so I can eat it. LOL!)
Set aside to cool. When cool, place a sheet of waxed paper on the counter. To remove the candy from the pan loosening the edges of the caramel with a knife or offset spatula and tip upside down over the waxes paper until caramel falls from the pan.
Cut caramels into bite sized squares with a sharp heavy knife sprayed with cooking spray. Wrap caramels in waxed paper and twist ends. (Think store bought taffy.)
Make about 5 dozen bite sized caramels.
*to make Salted Caramels sprinkle lightly with coarse flake sea salt about 30 minutes after pouring into the 8X8 pan.
You can also place chopped pecans in the bottom of the prepared dish.