Monday, December 21, 2009

Grandma's Caramels

There is a place in our hearts reserved only for the ones we loved and who loved us, but who are gone now. We were devastated when they left us, but somehow we've managed to recover and we muster on without them. But treasured memories remain; and we can recall their warm embraces, how they told us stories, and made us laugh, and how they made for us delicious homemade treats. Every year at this time, a spectral presence lurks warm and loving in my soul and I am happy that she is with me again. I wish I could share her fudge and caramels with everyone I meet and know, but since I can't possibly make enough for all of you, I am sharing with you her recipes. On December 29, we will celebrate my grandmother Marjorie Mathew's 93rd birthday. Every year at Christmas, she would make her caramels and fudge and no matter where we were living, she'd sent them to us in packages in the mail. Enjoy! The Putterer (Photo courtesy of Chip Py)

P.S. Grandma was a gardener.

Grandma's Caramels

3 cups sugar
3 cups white Karo syrup
1.5 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
3 cups condensed milk (non-fat or skim will not work)
3 teaspoons vanilla

Boil sugar, salt and corn syrup to a thick syrup, then add butter and keep boiling, stirring all the while. Slowly add condensed milk and keep stirring. Cook to firm ball stage, precisely 240 degrees F. I recommend use of a digital candy thermometer. Turn off heat and add vanilla. Pour into a heavily buttered cookie sheet or 13- x 19-inch pan. Cool, but cut grid in early for easier cutting. Using a sharp knife or scissors and a lot of muscle cut into 1 inch pieces. Wrap in wax paper squares and twist up the ends.

Grandma's Fudge

4 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 large pkg chocolate chips, plus 2 cups more chocolate chipped from a block of chocolate
1 jar marshmallow cream
nuts and raisins optional

Put the chocolate and the marshmallow cream in the bowl of the mixer. Cook the sugar, milk and butter to a soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add the hot mixture to the mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add nuts and raisins, and then spread into a buttered pan. Allow to cool and cut into squares.