My dear blogging friends, although most of you have received a bit of postal Christmas cheer from me, I thought I'd leave you with a couple of little gifts before I head out for the holidays. We'll be gone until the 27th, so I will probably not post anything before then. So, until next week, good tidings to you!
Gift #1: Christmas Caramels
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Line an 8X8 or 9X9 pan with foil and butter the bottom and sides well. These are sticky, so too much butter is a good thing.
Melt butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup, and mix together well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium, stirring frequently. Boil for 10-15 minutes until mixture reaches the firm-ball stage, or 248 degrees.
Remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and let cool. When mixture has cooled, use a buttered knife to cut into 1 inch squares. Wrap squares in wax paper. Makes about 2 lbs (64 pieces).
My tips: Getting the candy to the right stage of firmness is the trickiest part. If you undercook it, your caramels will be very soft, but overcooking it will turn them into brittle. I begin doing the water test at ten minutes, then go from there. This year's batch turned out beautifully and it cooked for just under 12 minutes. Cutting a strip of wax paper into thirds produces the perfect-sized candy wrapper!
Gift #2: Paper Boxes
Unless you're a procrastinator, this little demo probably won't be too helpful for Christmas-- but Valentine's Day is right around the corner!
If you make any paper boxes, I'd love to see your pictures!
Gift #3: More Vanity from ME!
Okay, so maybe this isn't a gift, per se, but I still thought you might enjoy a little look back into the ghosts of our Christmases past. This is our tenth Christmas together, so certainly a cause for celebration!
We wish you the merriest of holidays! Peace and God Bless!