I cannot imagine Christmas without a Christmas tree or without these caramels. My grandmother, Muriel, made them first, then my mother and now my wife, Patty, makes them. They are seriously addicting, as are the bourbon manhattans that are of equal importance at any of our family Christmas gatherings.
Makes 3 to 4 dozen candies
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 ½ cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with foil and spray with vegetable oil.
In a heavy sauce over medium heat, pan melt the butter, add the sugar, corn syrup and cream, stir and bring to a boil. Add the vanilla seeds
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the temperature reads 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This should take about an hour.
Add salt and pour the mixture into prepared pan. Let cool it cool and set overnight.
Cut 5- by 5-inch squares out of wax paper.
Invert the caramel out if the pan onto greased wax paper, then carefully peel off the foil.
Cut a 1-inch strip of caramel and then cut that into 1-inch squares.
Wrap each square into a wax paper wrapper. Refrigerate if you prefer hard candies or keep at room temperature if you prefer them chewy.