December 27, 2013

Chocolate Covered Caramels

7-minute microwave caramels to be exact.  This was one of my favorite candies that I made this year.  My love for caramels combined with my love of chocolate made this a dangerous dessert for me to keep in my house.  I did give some away but I should have given it ALL away because I ate them like, well, like candy.  I kept them in the refrigerator but if you take them out about 10 minutes prior to eating they are perfect.  If you leave them out for too long the chocolate gets a little to melty, if you eat them cold the caramel isn't chewy it's brittle.  Trust me, I tested it both ways.

If you're timid about trying to make caramels then this is a great recipe to try since you don't need a candy thermometer and you don't have to think about what "stage" it's in.  If you follow the directions carefully you will have delicious caramels.

It is very important to read the directions carefully, all the way through, before you begin.  After reading the directions I was scared to deviate.  I'm glad I didn't.  You should make this when you can dedicate the 7 minutes to nothing but this process.  Do it when the kids are outside or napping, don't answer the phone, don't talk to anyone.  Concentrate on the process, it's only 7 minutes, you can do it.

Chocolate Covered Caramels
Recipe from Avery Cooks

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup (light colored variety)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • chocolate for dipping (I used half a bag of milk chocolate chips and 1/2 a bag of semi-sweet)
  • 1 to 4 Tbsp vegetable shortening (optional but will make them shiny and pretty)
  • sprinkles, jimmies, crushed nuts, sea salt, graham crackers, etc.
  1. Have all of your ingredients ready beforehand, this is fast moving. 
  2. Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with tin foil, then spray with cooking spray. 
  3. Use a very large microwave safe bowl (it will get very hot).  You need room for the bubbling up that this will do in the microwave so just use the biggest one you have that will fit in the microwave. 
  4. Melt the butter for about 45 seconds or until completely melted. 
  5. Add the sugars, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk to the melted butter and stir until smooth. 
  6. Microwave again on high heat for 3 minutes 30 seconds. 
  7. Use a hot pad to remove the bowl from the microwave and scrape down the sides very well.  Even though it doesn't appear to be much on the sides, you need to get ALL the sugar crystals off the sides of the bowl otherwise your caramel will be grainy.  Once you've scraped down the sides, use a damp paper towel to wipe the sides down.  You don't want any sugar crystals on the sides of the bowl. 
  8. Return the bowl to the microwave for another 3 minutes 30 seconds. Watch this last cook cycle carefully so you can stop the microwave if it does begin to bubble up and might potentially go over the top of your bowl.  Use a hot pad to remove the bowl from the microwave and very carefully add the vanilla extract.  The mixture will bubble up when the vanilla is added.  Stir to incorporate - being very careful as it will be extremely hot and bubbly. 
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and then cover with tin foil and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. 
  10. When cool, lift the tin foil sides up and place it on a cutting board.  Use a sharp knife to cut the caramels into small cubes.  I did this by cutting the square into 6 long strips first, then 6 strips in the other direction.  If the caramel is still cold it will almost break off after the initial cut. As they warm, they will get softer. 
  11. Use the double boiling method to melt the chocolate, or use the microwave in intervals to melt it but not over cook it. 
  12. Make sure the caramels are still cold when you dip them into the chocolate.  You may need to refrigerate them while you are melting the chocolate so they are cold and don't melt while you are dipping them. 
  13. Use a fork to dip them into the chocolate, tap off the excess and place on wax paper or parchment paper. Sprinkle them with whatever you choose. 
  14. Place them into the refrigerator to set the chocolate.  Move them to an airtight bag or container. I would keep them refrigerated until about 10 minutes prior to eating. 

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