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Dirt Roads to a Great Recipe: Simple Buttery Caramel

August 23, 2009

What’s a girl to do in the middle of nowhere Alabama with a great friend?


Its not that loud - LIES!

It's not that loud - LIES!

Drink wine!!

Make candy!!!

Wait. What the hell? Yep, if I have the urge to cook something really bad for me I try to have someone else lined up to take some of the load off. The calorie load, that is, and Amber and company were more than willing to help.

It had been more than 3 days since I’d last been in the kitchen so before shortcake and I headed over to Amber’s new pad in the wilderness to see her and her two kids, I let her know I would be breaking in her new kitchen. Not that she already hadn’t. I hadn’t is all. (That is a whole mess of grammatical ugliness.) She and her husband have a gorgeous place on a beautiful stretch of land and with the kids safely stowed with her husband, do you know what sounded like a really good idea? No, not shooting their vintage guns… walking in copperhead infested tall grass!!! Amber picked up a stick to brush through the grass we were walking through to trick the snakes into biting it not us. Being 3 glasses of wine down at this point (I’m a total light weight), what would have been a giant I’ll see you inside became an easy That’s so cool.

Not quite so cool as the size of her kitchen! Geez! And chickie can cook! She made a chicken with lavender stuffing that was like aromatherapy for the mouth. To reciprocate I made fudge and caramel the next day. Cuz nothing says thank you like sugaring up your hostess’s young kids and running for the door.

So thanks, Amber, for an awesome time and letting me use you all as guinea pigs for the candy!

It would be best to make this using a light bottomed pan so you can check the color of the caramel and a wooden spoon since these seem to work best at keeping the caramel from sticking in the edges of the pan. Remember that confections can be a bitch, so try, try again.

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Buttery Caramel

Buttery Caramel

Simple Buttery Caramel
Serves: 2 cups

1 cup sugar
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

1. Melt the sugar over medium heat-this will take a while. Before it starts melting making a small hole to the bottom of the pan so you can watch the sugar’s melting progress. Don’t start stirring until the sugar is mostly melted to prevent clumps. Once, the sugar has completely melted lower the heat to medium-low heat.

2. Stirring constantly and being careful of steam, very slowly pour in the condensed milk. It will bubble up really ugly, but be patient, it will smooth out. Constantly scrape out the caramel so it doesn’t burn in the edges of the pan. After the condensed milk add the vanilla, salt, and butter.

3. Gently stir the caramel constantly until a swipe with the spoon reveals the bottom of the pan. Then it’s a good syrup. Cook for about 10-15 minutes longer to get it thick enough for cutting into pieces.

I call the spoon Moses

Syrup – use immediately or pour into a heat safe container and allow to cool for 4 hours before placing in the refrigerator. When using, spoon out desired amount into a microwave safe bowl and nuke until warm.
Pieces – coat a 9×9 in dish with butter and cover in wax paper. Pour in the caramel, cool for 1 hour in a cool spot, and place in the fridge for 4 hours. Remove, peel off the paper, and cut into pieces.


  1. August 23, 2009 10:09 pm

    Candy making,kids,and copper heads. loved it.

  2. August 24, 2009 2:47 am

    Ugh on Copperhead snakes Yum to caramel. And yes, Bam Bam was picked up 8 hours later. Is that two days in a dog’s life? You don’t know this, but you gave me a good idea.

    • August 24, 2009 10:51 pm

      Always glad to help.
      It became “ugh” the next morning when the wine wore off, too, but then I drizzled some of the caramel on fudge and didn’t give a shit anymore. 😛

  3. August 30, 2009 12:13 am

    That caramel looks perfect and so delicious!




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