Here's what our 9 year old grandson says, "these are made by a really awesome person, for a super funny grandson who is also awesome. A lot". Lol... He's actually standing here reading as I write what he suggests. He says "these are so good, and luxurious, that I could make a living selling them. As you eat them, you will think you went to Heaven, with a giant bowl of them". lol... I make these as they are my husband's, grandson's, and my daughter's favorites. No one can stop eating them. It's like the old Lays Commercial, "you can't eat just one".
In a small sauce pan, mix together the first 3 ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk
Heat on low, just until the butter is completed melted. Whisk while melting. Set aside and let cool. (Do not let this boil, just warm it on very low until butter is melted)
Set aside the additional 1/2 cup of butter, chopped into squares and softened. You will need this later.
Next, in a large sauce pan mix:
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
Heat this over medium-high heat. Stir the syrup until the sugar dissolves. As the sugar dissolves, spoon a little of it up the inside of the pan to insure all sugar crystals are also melted so your candy does not become grainy.
Prepare a 13”x9” pan by lining it with parchment paper and lightly spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat. Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy.
Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 degrees.
Once you reach 250 degrees, Add the softened butter chunks and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should go down about 30 degrees.
Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown. (This step takes a lot of time and patience and about an hour).
Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour it into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, creamy, silky texture.
When you are ready to cut the caramel, using the edge of the parchment paper, lift the caramel out of the pan, with the caramel on it, and cut the pieces on the parchment paper. Works great.
I have not had to do this, but you can if needed, spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating 1” squares, or smaller if you prefer. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary.
Wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting. Alternately, you can dip them in chocolate once they are cut. This is easiest if frozen first.
Note: (1) Due to me being at an alttitude of 735 feet, (note the deer in our backyard) I cook mine to 252/253 degrees. I do remove them however once it reaches the second cooking temp of 244 degrees. (2) These should store nicely for up to 2 weeks. Mine have never lasted more than 1 1/2 days, so I can't say for certain if that works.