Thursday, December 15, 2011

Microwave Caramel

I can't remember where I found this recipe but I couldn't wait to try it. The flavor of this caramel is wonderful but I just couldn't get it to firm up in the microwave. I ended up taking the two batches I attempted and putting them in a pot on the stove until they firmed up. The result was amazing caramels and I had used the homemade sweetened condensed milk.
I do think this would make amazing (but soft) caramel corn. Which would be perfect for a quick evening snack. I didn't add anything to the recipe after I took it out of the microwave.
*make sure your microwave is really clean - this does bubble over and if it lands on a clean surface you can scoop it back into the batch.

7 Minute Microwave Caramels or Caramel Corn
Yield: About 50 individually wrapped caramels, or 15 cups of caramel corn
Make the Caramel:
Note: If making individual caramels, have an 8x8 dish lined with parchment paper at the ready. If making caramel corn, prepare 12-15 cups of popped kettle corn and place in a large bowl. (1 1/2 standard size bags of microwave popcorn popped equals about 12 cups. This is the amount I used.)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, tightly paked
1/2 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (not low fat)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a large microwaveable bowl or 8 cup glass measure, combine the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Microwave at 100% power for 2 minutes. Stir mixture well. It will be a little grainy. Microwave for another 2 minutes and stir well. Add 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk. Microwave for 3 minutes. Watch carefully, it is prone to bubble up at this stage. Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla extract. Be very careful at this stage, the caramel is extremely hot and sticky!

For Individual Caramels:
Sea salt for sprinkling
Pour hot caramel into the parchment lined pan. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Let stand until set, but still slightly warm. Lift caramel block from pan and cut into individual squares. Wrap in wax paper squares.*Note: My caramels held their shape quite well without being wrapped.

For Caramel Corn:
1 cup peanuts or cashews
Sea salt for sprinkling
Pour nuts over popped kettle corn. Pour hot caramel over popcorn, turning popcorn over with a large wooden spoon to coat. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Microwave caramel coated corn for 4 minutes, stopping after each minute to stir. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Let stand at room temperature until hardened. Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container.

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