The following recipe is based off one I discovered through the magic of Pinterest. The original recipe is posted on Food.com. I’d never tried microwaving caramels before, always preferring to do it on the stove top. With all the positive reviews I saw, I just had to give it a try. This method is definitely easier overall, though I find controlling the temperature is a bit easier on the stove. The stove top method allows me to stir and to use a candy thermometer while the caramel is still heating, whereas you have to stop the microwave every couple of minutes to stir it and check the temperature. Using the microwave lowers your risk of burning the caramel, and the stirring need not be so continuous.
Among other changes made, I double the amounts from the original recipe so an entire can of sweetened condensed milk could be used. The can’s aren’t resealable, and it’s inconvenient to have to store the rest. Just to avoid confusion, the can says 14 ounces while the recipe calls for 1 cup. It is the same thing in this case. The 14 ounces stated on the label refers to the weight, not the volume.
This recipe makes a chewy caramel. It will hold its shape for just a short time after it’s been cut. If you want it a bit firmer, add another minute or two to the cooking time. If it is very warm when you make these – it was in the upper 80′s here when I made them – you can store them in the refrigerator after they’re wrapped. That will make them easier to release from their wrappers.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or other quality sea salt
- Generously butter an 8x10-inch, or similarly sized, baking dish.
- In a large glass bowl, combine the butter, sugars, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk.
- Microwave on high 12 minutes, stirring every two minutes, or if it starts to bubble too aggressively.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour into buttered pan.
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
- Let cool completely, then cut into squares (or any fancy shape you desire).
- Wrap the pieces in parchment paper or candy wrappers, and store in air tight container.
If you don't have a candy thermometer on hand, you can cook the caramel to the "firm ball" stage. This means that if you place a drop of it in in a bowl of cold water, it will form a ball that holds its shape, but you can still squeeze it with your fingers.
A little cooking spray on a knife or pizza wheel will make cutting through the caramels much easier.