Here is another diversion from all the cookie baking. Caramels! These can be fairly easy if you use prepackaged caramels. Just unwrap and decorate. If you decide to make your own caramels (I've included a great recipe for those at the bottom) then it gets to be a little more time-consuming but makes them just that much more delicious and special.
CANDY BOX CARAMELS
chocolate- and/or vanilla-flavor candy coating*, coarsely chopped
toffee pieces, crushed; finely chopped nuts; and/or nonpareils
48 short plastic or wooden skewers (optional)
vanilla caramels (about 48), unwrapped (or use your homemade caramels)
chocolate- and/or vanilla-flavor candy coating*, coarsely chopped (optional)
In a microwave-safe 4-cup measure, place the 12 ounces candy coating. Microwave until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
Place toffee pieces, nuts, or nonpareils in a shallow dish. If desired, insert a skewer into each caramel. Dip one caramel into melted candy coating; turn to coat as much of the caramel as desired, allowing excess coating to drip off caramel. (If not using skewers, use a fork to lift caramel out of candy coating, drawing the fork across the rim of the glass measure to remove excess coating from caramel.)
Place dipped caramel in toffee pieces, nuts, and/or nonpareils, turning to coat. Place coated caramel on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat with remaining caramels. Let caramels stand about 1 hour or until coating dries.
If desired, microwave 2 ounces of a contrasting color of candy coating in a plastic bag until melted. Snip a small hole in one corner of bag and drizzle additional coating over coated caramels. Let caramels stand until set. Makes 48 pieces.
- 1 c. butter
- 1 (16 oz.) pkg. brown sugar
- Dash salt
- 1 c. light corn syrup
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Generously butter 9" x 9" x 2" pan.
- In heavy 3-quart pan, melt butter. Add sugar and dash of salt. Stir thoroughly.
- Stir in corn syrup. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 245 degrees (firm ball).
- Mixture should boil gently over entire surface for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool completely.
- Cut with wet, sharp knife. Wrap in wax paper.