Monday, December 12, 2011

Fabulous BEST EVER Caramel Candies


These are the B.E.S.T. caramels I've ever made...or eaten! These have definitely become my new-found Christmas favorite!

I just recently learned how to make them.  And I'm thrilled to say...
AN 80-YR.YOUNG-AT-HEART GAL TAUGHT ME!

Grace Ostoich is new to our church family in this last year, and we've all fallen head over heels in love with her. She moved to our area from Branson, MO.

She is a widow and loves to stay busy making candy to give away.  She comes to church passing out bagsfull nearly every Sunday.  She's even had a request from church folks who moved to another state, for some of her candy because they're hearing so much about it.

Another friend and I put our heads together and planned a "Candy Making Night with Miz Grace" recently so she could teach us her recipes  - we had almost 30 gals attend! She also made mint patties, and there were requests for her coconut balls and peanut butter brittle recipes that we didn't have time for that evening.

Grace is sorta like George Burns's Gracie....soooo funny without trying to be.  She was a 'scream' that night entertaining us, just by being herself.  We just laughed ourselves silly!

I often hear one of our male friends at church call her "Amazing Grace". 

She really is!  And I want to be just like her when I grow up.  She is stylish and wears a lot of jewelry & her hair always looks so nice, but is even more beautiful on the inside. 

(That's cause she's full of Jesus!=)

I hafta tell you...one morning she meandered into our Sunday School class late (my hubby teaches the older folks). I noticed she had a hospital band around her wrist, so after class was over, I asked if she'd been in the hospital. 

She told me she'd had a test...an MRI...early that morning, and wouldn't get the results for a few days, but ATLEAST, she said... she was thankful to find out she's NOT PREGNANT!

What a hoot!  Everyone needs a Grace like her in their lives to brighten their days. 

Anyway - since I learned how to make this wonderful candy, I am tickled to share this recipe with you.


I have NEVER 'gotten along' very well with candy thermometers, so I'm very pleased to say that I have been making this candy doing the 'soft ball' test in cold water.

(I put some COLD water in a little bowl...drop a little of the 'sauce' into it, and when it makes a SOFT ball between my fingers, it's done...
I begin testing it after about 15 minutes of boiling, and try again every few minutes, using fresh water each time, until it's 'right on'.)

Whatever works for you is great. 

I LOVE these melt-in-your-mouth goodies, and know I can 'blame' these caramels for atleast a couple of the lbs. I've gained in the last few weeks!

I've been using my own homemade sweetened condensed milk to make these sweet treats and they're turning out perfectly! If you haven't seen that recipe, click here. It will then lead you to Loy's recipe, where I originally became acquainted with this interesting and amazing recipe, but I want to be sure you read my notes too. 

Anyway...on with the show....hope you find time to make these for the holidays.  Of course, I'm giving many away, but enjoying many (too many!) myself. 

Here ya go...I'm going to type it just like Grace wrote it out for me to type up to give to the ladies at Candy Making Night. 

(And if you don't want to dip them in chocolate, you can just sprinkle some sea salt over the top before they set up. These are AWESOME!)
(Eating them plain works too!)

BEST EVER CARAMELS

*1 c. sugar (white)
*1 c. dark corn syrup
(I use light corn syrup and add 2 tsp. molasses)
*1 c. butter (2 sticks)
1 can (14 ozs) sweet condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla

(Throughout the whole demonstration, she would say..."Just buy what's cheapest Honey"...)

Line 8" pan with no stick foil (Or line pan with foil and spray with cooking spray)

Combine * ingredients; bring to boil over medium heat. Boil 4 minutes w/out stirring. Remove from heat; add milk; stir. Lower heat to medium or low. Cook to soft ball (245* or thereabouts),
stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; add vanilla.  Pour into pan.

Because these are soft caramels, it will take about a day for them to set up enough for you to be able to cut them into squares.

(Trust me when I say...IT'S WORTH THE WAIT!)

Grace doesn't give specific instructions for the chocolate, but
I can tell you she uses a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips melted in a double boiler and adds about 1/3 of a bar of paraffin, shaved.
(Or you can add a TB. of Crisco) A double boiler works well so the chocolate stays warm.

Cut into squares or rectangles, dip in chocolate, setting them on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet to dry. 

I keep mine in the fridge, but remove them before serving or giving away, so they can soften a little.

And by all means, if you prefer not to dip the caramels in chocolate, they are great just by themselves.  Little bites of creamy, dreamy sweetness....MMM! I've made a few batches recently, and one batch I just wrapped in waxed paper.
 

If only I could share Grace with you in person, I can guarantee these wonderful caramels would taste even better with the gift of her presence.  *-*

ENJOY! ENJOY! ENJOY!

Linked to 12 Days of Christmas Goodies
 Sweets for a Saturday
         Ingredient Spotlight - SCMilk

4littlefergusons
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