W and I stopped at a coffee shop in Lethbridge this past weekend, where they had a jar of homemade caramels on the counter. And because a large extra shot latte is not a good idea for 11 year olds, I let him have a caramel, which he carried in his pocket all day, intermittently unwrapping one end to take a nibble. “I wish we knew how to make these,” he sighed as it got to the end. At which point I told him that making caramels was easy, boosting my favourite parent points considerably.
When we got home, he suggested making caramels to bring to dinner across the street – a brilliant idea considering there was barely enough time to preheat the oven. We started measuring the butter and sugar before realizing there was no cream – but there was sour cream, and that might be delicious? So we spooned it into the pot and proceeded with great anticipation, and were not disappointed. (Phew.)
These homemade caramels – they’re simple. Truly. You mix sugar, brown sugar, butter, sour cream and corn syrup (or Roger’s or Lyle’s Golden Syrup if you have it – they have far better flavour) in a pot and bring it to a boil, then wait. The only trick is knowing when to pull the pot off the stove, and it’s not a trick at all if you have a thermometer. If not, wait until the mixture looks more uniform and the bubbles slow down – about 15 minutes – and then drop a bit into a glass of really cold water. Feel it – if it’s the texture you want your caramels to be, you’re golden. I cooked these a tad longer than I intended, but all it meant was that they cut more cleanly, and are a slightly firmer chew. (And everyone thinks I meant for them to be that way.)
Once cut, you can leave them as-is, or wrap each in a small square of parchment – easy enough to do while you’re watching John Oliver – which makes them a perfectly suitable party/teacher/just because I think you’re awesome gift, and acts as one extra step to deter you from devouring the entire batch, one by one.