Enjoy the taste of a cup of cappuccino in a rich homemade caramel.
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1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground espresso powder or instant coffee granules
1 cup Land O Lakes® Butter
2 cups Land O Lakes® Half & Half
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Line 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over edges. Butter foil. Sprinkle pecans over bottom of pan. Set aside.
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and espresso powder in bowl. Melt butter in 4 quart saucepan over low heat; add brown sugar mixture, half & half and corn syrup. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring constantly, 6-8 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, 40-45 minutes or until candy thermometer registers 242°F or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Carefully pour over pecans in prepared pan. Cool completely.
Lift caramels out of pan, using foil ends. Cut into 1-inch square pieces with buttered knife. Individually wrap pieces in waxed paper or plastic food wrap. Store in refrigerator. Serve in mini paper or foil cups, if desired.
To make cleaning of candy making utensils easy, place them in the saucepan used to make caramels and fill with hot water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until hardened candy is dissolved. Wash the saucepan and utensils in hot soapy water.
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PS...I've been eating the 'samples' since I cut and wrapped the others for our church Christmas Bazaar. These are absolutely scrumptious, tender and buttery! One thing I'll change next time - some of the nuts on the bottom found their way to the top and most of them were imbedded in the hot caramel. Next time, I'll press them in on top instead and I'll bet they'll be perfect! A wonderful and delicious variation!
Just one point ... an 8: x 8" pan will not yield 64 - 1" pieces since the inside measurement of the pan is actually 7" x 7". Count on 49 - 1" pieces. Otherwise, I made these about an hour ago and, so far, they look and taste terrific. I was surprised, though, to see large bubbles rise to the surface during the initial cooling period. I poked them with a cake tester until they stopped rising - any idea why that happens? It didn't happen with your Aunt Emily's Soft Caramels or your Chocolate Caramels...I'd be interested in the difference. 244-245 degrees on a medium heat seems to be the right temperature for all of these according to my candy thermometer. I'm having a ball making these for our church Christmas Bazaar this weekend where I'll be running the Old Fashioned Country Store table. They all look great wrapped individually or in small organza drawstring bags with 2 per bag...a great kids' gift for Mom and Grandma. Can't wait!
Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Julie in the Berkshires
This were very tasty and pretty easy. They
weren't super creamy, but mine weren't rock
hard as I read in another review. I would use
more pecans next time though, I didn't think it
was enough to really get a good layer in the
bottom of the pan.
To be on the safe side, I used a very high-quality, brand new candy thermometer as I cooked this candy. I followed every intruction to the letter. The candy cooled rock hard and bent the knife as I tried unsuccessfully to cut it. 242degreesF is just too hot for successful, creamy caramels. I am so disgusted I could cry! This was meant to be for company.
This is a great teacher's lounge gift. We made it, it was easy even if it takes awhile. Teachers loved the "grab and go" aspect!