Friday, October 21, 2011

Black Walnut Caramels

My mom made fudge, divinity, peanut brittle, and caramels for the holidays. My favorite was chocolate fudge with nuts. I couldn't stop with just one piece of fudge!

I make chocolate fudge every Thanksgiving and Christmas for my family and for gifts. Yesterday I decided to try my luck at making Black Walnut Caramels because one of Watkins' new holiday extracts for this year is Black Walnut Extract.

These homemade caramels are a chewy treat for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

The caramels turned out yummy! Here is the recipe I used.

Black Walnut Caramels
3 cups brown sugar, packed
2 cups white Karo syrup
1 cup butter
1 can (14 oz/396 g) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon Watkins Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Watkins Black Walnut Extract
1/2 to 1 cup chopped black walnuts

Butter a 9x13 inch pan or two 8 inch pans.

In a large heavy saucepan combine sugar, Karo syrup, butter, and sweetened condensed milk.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils.

Continue cooking until the boiling mixture reaches 248 degrees F/120 degrees C, stirring now and then to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, black walnut extract, and chopped nuts.

Pour into buttered 9x13 inch pan or two buttered 8 inch pans. When firm, remove caramel block from pan onto cutting surface, cut and wrap in waxed paper squares. Store in refrigerator or cool place. Makes about 96 caramels.

If you store caramels in the refrigerator let them come to room temperature before serving for optimum flavor and chewiness. Otherwise, caramels are too firm to bite. They soften up quickly.

  • Line buttered pan with aluminum foil. Extend foil over edges of pan so you can lift caramel out of pan when firm. Butter foil. I did not line my pan with foil and had a little difficulty removing the block of caramel from the pan after it cooled and firmed. I used a long flat spatula to lift caramel from pan onto cutting surface.
  • Make caramels with or without walnuts. Black walnuts are not as abundant as other walnuts. If you can't find black walnuts substitute with other walnuts.
  • Use a candy thermometer to measure correct temperature. If you don't have a candy thermometer, cook candy mixture to "firm ball" stage (245-248 degrees F/118-120 degrees C). To determine "firm ball" stage without a thermometer, a small spoonful of hot syrup is dropped into cold water, forming a firm ball, one that won’t flatten when you take it out of the water, but remains malleable and will flatten when squeezed between thumb and finger. DO NOT cook caramel mixture above 248 F/120 C or the candy will turn out hard and not chewy.

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