My brother-in-law’s sisters are beautiful. They are also very thin and careful about what they eat. So at a party for my niece, I took special notice that Dan’s sister got so excited when their grandma arrived with her homemade caramels. She told me that these were a family favorite, and after unwrapping my first one, I completely understood why. I could never, ever go back to mass-produced caramels, and I am very grateful that Dan’s family was willing to share Grandma’s recipe. I am even more grateful that the recipe is idiot-proof. She wrote the details of this recipe to accommodate people with much less experience and sweet-making sense. God bless her.

Yield: about 5 dozen caramels


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Generously butter an 8″ square pan
  2. In small pan, heat butter and milk until butter is melted
  3. In a 2-quart pan, cook sugar, corn syrup and salt over medium heat until it reaches firm ball stage (244 degrees), stirring often. EDIT: Grandma usually takes it a few degrees above this so that the caramels get a little harder.
  4. Slowly stir in mil mixture, taking care that the sugar mixture does not stop boiling. Stir constantly.
  5. Cook mixture until firm ball stage again. Remove from heat
  6. Add vanilla. Mix well.
  7. Pour into pan.
  8. When firm (and cool), turn onto cutting board or wax paper. Cut into 1″ squares (you may need to use scissors).
  9. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap. This part seems to take forever. Having a stack of 3″ squares ready to roll helps immensely – cut them while the caramels are cooling. This is also an excellent step to delegate to eager helpers who are willing to be paid in sweet treats.

2 thoughts on “Caramels

  1. Pingback: The Virtual Cookie Exchange |

  2. Pingback: Cookie Fair | The Reluctant Hippie

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