I sat down with my December issue of Country Home magazine yesterday and found a recipe that I was dying to try–Microwave Caramels. I’ve tried out a few candy-type recipes in the last few weeks trying to find something that meets my criteria of yummy, simple and easy– something I can pass out during the holidays to friends.
Here’s the picture that inspired me:
So for starters, here’s the recipe listed in Country Home magazine:
nonstick foil (or buttered foil)
1 c. butter
2 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla.
Line a 9×9 baking pan with nonstick (or buttered foil). In a large microwave-safe bowl combine butter, br. sugar, c. syrup and condensed milk; cover loosely with parchment paper. Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes or until butter starts to melt. Whisk to combine mixture. Microwave on high for 4 or 5 minutes more. Whisk well. Microwave an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk gently. Add vanilla.
Pour caramel mixture into the prepared pan. Chill for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until just firm. Using foil, lift block of caramel from the pan. Use a buttered knife to cut into one inch squares.
First of all the chilling process took far longer than the one to one and a half hours. I left them in the fridge while Emma took her riding lesson(one and a half hours exactly). When I came back they were barely firm. I waited another hour–still not firm. So I put them in the freezer. ( I was working during naps–no patience). After about ten minutes I took them out.
I tried cutting the cute little squares and they just weren’t coming out of the pan in the cute square shapes. They cut beautifully, but the littlest tug (or the heat from my hands) made them sloth into goopy shapes. As soon as I set the cut "squares on the cutting board, they began to sag into round flat blobs.
So, I decided to improvise. I got out some confectioner’s sugar, dipped my hands in it like flour and began rolling them into little balls. I figured they’d be cute as little buckeye-like caramels, partially dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles. They still sagged into tired little blobs.
But, I kept pushing on, thinking maybe these little blogs were kind of cute. They had sort of a chocolate turtle candy shape to them. It could work. So I melted the white chocolate, filled a bowl with sprinkles and plowed on. The minute the caramel hit the chocolate it lost all ability to hold itself together.
The warm chocolate pulled at the caramels and by the time I got them into the sprinkles they were oblong. I tried about ten of these, looked at the two trays of blobs I had sitting on my counter waiting for dipping and then threw in the towel.
(this one is exceptionally bad, the first one I dipped.)
So, if you’re interested, I have half a block of caramels and about thirty caramel blobs clogging up the counter in my kitchen right now. Help yourself. (and by the way, they do taste pretty good, but one is about my max.)
So I hate to discourage you from trying this recipe. In fact, I’d love for someone else to try it and tell me what happens. Am I missing some key element that would have made this recipe one hundred percent better? Should I have chilled it longer? Chilled in between steps? Go for it. And let me know if you do.
But, I don’t think I’ll be ringing anyone’s doorbell this Christmas with a cute little tin of microwave caramels in hand….