My father-in-law is having hip replacement surgery tomorrow and I wanted to send something with TTO for Mr. L. to enjoy while recuperating.  I picked TTO’s brain about what he might like and it didn’t take him very long to say, “He really liked the caramels you made for Christmas last year.”  Awesome!  A nice little present AND a blog post all in one.

Last year I made upwards of fifteen batches of the recipe below.  I LOVE these and my friends and family did too. My boss’ wife has already asked if I’ll be making them again.  My little tweaks are in bold.

Microwave Caramels

1 cup butter (plus a little extra for greasing the foil)
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14oz can sweetened condense milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Line a 12x7x2 inch pan with lightly buttered aluminum foil. I butter the heck out of it, otherwise the foil sticks and is a P.I.T.A. to remove. Set Aside.

Place butter in a large microwave-proof bowl. The bigger the better – don’t make the mistake I made tonight. Cleaning caramel off the bottom of the microwave = not fun. Microwave on medium-high (70%) for 1-2 minutes or until melted. It takes 3 minutes in mine.

Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Cover with plastic wrap, venting one corner. Microwave on high (100%) for 10-12 minutes or until bubbly and thick in consistency. 

Uncover and stir well. Microwave uncovered on medium-high (70%) for 15-20 minutes or until candy forms a soft ball when a small amount is dropped in cold water and flattens when removed. I never quite figured out what that meant – I just guessed.

Mix in vanilla. It will bubble up and scare the crap out of you. Pour into prepared pan. Let cool at room temperature. Invert pan, peel off foil and cut into 1 inch pieces. Wrap pieces individually in waxed paper.

Store in covered container at room temperature. Makes about 72 pieces.

Honestly these are delicious and once you get the hang of it, very easy. 

UPDATE:  I forgot that while these are easy to make, they are ridiculously time consuming to cut up and wrap.  Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time for this part of the recipe.  Don’t leave it until 10:30pm the night before they’re needed.  You’ll be up until almost 1am, cursing your gummed up knife and the inventor of the tear strip on the waxed paper.  Not that I would know from experience or anything.