Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Caramels

I love Thanksgiving because it jumps off the holiday season. The holidays are such a fun time of year because of the traditions we share. One of my favorite traditions is making and delivering treats to our friends and neighbors. This tradition started when I was a little girl. I'd watch my mom hard at work in the kitchen., as she'd make caramels, fudge, rice crispy treats, cookies, and other goodies. We'd then form an assembly line and decorate, wrap, and plate the treats, making sure there were enough left over for us hungry kids. Finally, we'd get bundled up and deliver the treats, which were often accompanied by Christmas Carols.

Making caramels last Christmas with my sisters.

Check out Caitlan's cool Aussie apron

This year, I decided to jump start this tradition a little early. Ben and I are eating Thanksgiving dinner with some friends here in Utah. We have discovered that traveling in general becomes more difficult after having a baby, and with a short turn around in Ben's schedule, we put off our Idaho trip. I decided to make caramels as a host gift for our friends. The best part is that there are plenty left over to eat and share with our neighbors.

Here is my homemade caramel recipe:

Toasted Almond Caramels

1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted

1. Line an 8-inch square dish with foil; butter the foil with 1 teaspoon butter. Set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; boil gently without stirring for 4 minutes.

2. Remove from heat; slowly stir in cream. Return to the heat; cook, without stiriing, over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reads 245 degrees (firm-ball stage). Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and almonds.

3. Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape sides of saucepan). Cool completely. Using foil, lift the caramel out of pan. Discard foil; cut caramel into squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper or foil; twist ends.

Bubbling Caramel goodness

Caramel is in the pan and almost all cooled

All plated up

Looks tasty


  • Make sure you test your candy thermometer each time before use. You can do this by placing the thermometer in a saucepan of boiling water for several minutes. The boiling point for water is 212 degrees, so if your thermometer is off, you merely add or subtract the difference to the temperature in the recipe.
  • It is easier to toast the chopped almonds in a frying pan on the stove rather than in the oven. This way you have much more control and it is easier to see when they are done.
What are your holiday traditions? And do you have any good holiday recipes to share?

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow those look fantastically delicious! I have been craving caramels for weeks now but will continue to abstain for the health of my pancreas.

    Holiday Traditions: For the second year in a row, starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving we are celebrating Advent! We have 5 candles and each Sunday evening we light a candle, read a Christmas scripture and sing some carols. On Christmas Eve we light all the candles and sing Stille Nacht (Silent Night). It is one of my favorite German traditions. I am trying to quickly put together a Nativity themed advent calendar for the whole month. I better get cracking!

    All of my recipes are low carb sadly, so while I would love to share, you wouldn't be as happy with the results. :(