Monday, December 28, 2009

Top Secret Recipe

I'm not joking when I say this is a top secret recipe. Ten years ago I had left my 8 to 5 job to stay home with the kids and work part time while they were in school. I had summers off and didn't start work until 8 and was home by 3:15. I was able to get them on the bus in the morning and be there when it dropped them off in the afternoon. It was a great job except that it didn't pay very well. Things were happening at Northwest Airlines and we knew that Dude's job might be either be gone or he would be earning a lot less than he did. We made the decision to have me go back to work full time and I was able to get back into the bank I had worked at before, so it was like going home. But while I worked at my part time job, I had the chance to taste these wonderful caramels. One of my co-workers brought them in at Christmas time for us to enjoy. Her daughter was a stay at home mom, but made these caramels every year to earn money to buy gifts for her kids. When I asked for the recipe she wouldn't give it up unless I swore that I wouldn't use it for the same purpose. I explained that I wanted to make them as gifts and not sell them. I also explained that I didn't know people in that town other than my cousin and my customers from the bank and I wasn't going to be calling them. I made these every year for our bake sale at church. That was deemed okay because I promised to never give out the recipe and it was a fundraiser. People pleaded with me for the recipe; I never gave in. Through the grapevine I have learned that this person no longer lives here. It is safe to give up the recipe. And you are the first ones to see it. The suspense is killing you I know. I'm eye rolling and laughing to myself just so you know. I laugh because there are so many caramel recipes in cookbooks and on the Internet, but I think because people were able to taste these and knew what they tasted like, they wanted this recipe.


1 can Sweetened condensed milk
1-1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla **

Prepare pan. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and butter it. Set aside while making candy.

Slowly melt all ingredients except vanilla. Stir constantly so it doesn't burn. Continue to cook until boiling and temp reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. This process takes about 30 minutes. When candy reaches this temp, turn off heat and stir in vanilla. Mixture will bubble up. Immediately pour into prepare pan. Let it sit on counter for about an hour then cover a large cooling rack with waxed paper and set over the top of the jelly roll pan. Let pan sit on counter over night. The next day, spray the waxed paper with non-stick cooking spray and turn caramels over on it. Remove jelly roll pan and foil from caramels. Cut into small pieces and wrap in waxed paper squares. **the vanilla isn't in the original recipe. I added it as I like the flavor.

I made these early in the day on Christmas Eve and set out in the garage to cool down so I could cut some up for our neighbors-whose house we stopped at after church that night. She was giddy. I told her to hoard some for herself since she always shares the ones I give her. They really are that good.
I'm on the look out for a half-sheet higher sided pan. The only thing I don't like is that they are so thin because my jelly-roll pan is standard size. You don't want to make these in a cake pan though. They don't set up well, I believe because the sides are so high. Just trust me on that one.


katie said...

Woo hoo! I love secret recipes. We have several top secret family recipes on my site as well. I have been looking for a fantastic caramel recipe and I can't wait to try this one!

Dawn said...

put some sea salt on those bad boys! love this girl. you are becoming quite the cook lately, keep it up.

Jhonny walker said...

so simple and yet it so different! I also like your story. Fresh and honest :)

Lea Ann said...

ohmyGAWD I'm glad to have this recipe. Can't wait to try them. I'll give them to clients. Caramels are my favorite candy. And, I do like the idea of some sea salt. Thank you thank you thank you for this recipe. And thanks for stopping by my blog. :-)

Bob said...

Oh my. Those look wicked good, I've never made my own caramel. Candy making scares the hell out of me.

Monica H said...

Oh yum! And they're so pretty wrapped in wax paper.

Did you butter the wax paper or is it just plain and what size pan did you use?

Grace said...

awesome. how kind of you to share the secret recipe--the results look amazing! i'll bet they brought in a pretty penny for that lady, and i'm sure they'll bring in a pretty pound or 5 for me. :)

Donna-FFW said...

Tamilyn- These look fantastic. I must try them, what a perfec addition to any holiday tray. Love them wrapped in paper like this. Bookmarked!

Hungry Dog said...

Thanks for sharing your secret!! These look fantastic. I like your blog and writing style...I shall be back!

HoneyB said...

Well you have definitely sold me on trying the recipe! I sooo love caramels. I would probably end up sprinkling fleur de sel on top though. Only because I can't think of eating caramels without it ;o)