Basic Gooey Caramel (for filling candy)

Carrot Caramel GoodI checked out a beautiful book from the library called Hand-crafted Candy Bars. I don’t know that I will ever do a full-on candy bar, like the authors do so well, but I used the basic caramel for my Easter chocolate, and really loved how gooey and soft it is. So, I’m keeping this one. Also, the caramel had hardened so much after I put it over the ice and then let it rest 2 minutes, that next time, I don’t think I will let it rest, like the recipe advises. Even so, reheating it over the stove for a bit while mixing it worked fine, and I used it without letting it refrigerate.

Basic-Batch Caramel

3 c. ice
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 T. corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. butter
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt

  1. Put the ice in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Stir the mixture until it resembles wet beach sand. Use a moist paper towel to wipe out any sugar that clings to the inside of the pan. (This keeps the crystals from getting into your syrup, which will make it gritty rather than smooth.) Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Add the corn syrup and cook for about 8 minutes, or until it first browns around the edges and then turns entirely the color of honey. When the mixture reaches about 310F on a candy thermometer, carefully place the pan in the bowl of ice for a few seconds (really, just a few! maybe 2 seconds is enough) to stop the caramel from cooking.
  3. Remove the caramel from the ice but let it cool for another 2 minutes, then add the cream, butter, vanilla, and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon. (Be careful! The still-hot syrup sizzles!) If some of the caramel has hardened on the bottom of the pan, return the pan to the stove and melt the bits into the mixture over low heat. Let the sauce cool a little more, then refrigerate for about 1 hour before using in candy-bar production.
  4. Store in a covered bowl or an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 2 months.
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