from All American Dessert Book
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
2 sticks butter, cut into chunks
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, combined with 1 Tbsp hot water
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
Line a 9-x13 baking dish with foil overhanging on two sides. Coat with spray. Set the baking dish on a wire rack.
In a heavy, nonreactive 6-quart pot, thoroughly stir together the sugars, corn syrup, butter, and salt.
Stir in the cream until the sugars dissolve. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. If any sugar remains on the pot sides, wipe it away with a pastry brush dipped in warm water or a damp paper towel.
Adjust the heat so the mixture boils briskly. Clip a candy thermometer to the pot side, with the tip immersed but not touching the bottom. Continue boiling briskly, occasionally gently stirring and scraping the pot bottom, until the mixture thickens and darkens somewhat, 5 to 9 minutes.
Reduce the heat slightly and continue boiling, gently stirring and scraping the pot bottom to prevent scorching, until the caramel reaches 246 to 247 degrees F. Watch carefully, as the temperature may rise rapidly near the end of cooking. Immediately remove from the heat.
Working carefully to avoid splattering, gently stir in the vanilla mixture and the pecans, if using, just until evenly distributed.
Carefully pour the caramel into the baking dish; do not scrape out the pot. Let cool until thoroughly set, at least 1 1/2 hours.
To aid in cutting the caramels, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firmed up slightly. (Do not refrigerate longer, or the caramel will become too hard.) Carefully peel off the foil. Wipe any excess oil from the slab using a paper towel. Place the slab on a cutting board. Using a lightly greased, large sharp knife, trim away uneven edges, if desired. Score and cut the slab into eighths lengthwise and twelfths crosswise (or as desired).
Wrap each caramel in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting the ends to keep the paper from unrolling. The caramels will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Let come almost to room temperature before serving.
submitted by dalyce