Tag Archives: Sugar

Microwave Caramels

With Valentines Day coming up I thought I would share a recipe I’ve made many times in the past.   If you want to make something a little sweet for your sweetheart, this would be wonderful to make.  I usually make them for Christmas but they are so easy to make, I will make them year round and give them away.

My absolute favorite go-to, candy recipe is Microwave Caramels.   Honestly it takes more time to set it up and clean it up than it takes to make this.    With only 5 ingredients, so easy it’s silly.   And the result, pure and simple deliciousness.

Microwave Caramel
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup (I used dark since that’s what I had on hand)
1/2 cup Eagle brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)  *In a large glass 2 quart container melt butter.

Add the sugar, Karo syrup and milk.Cook two minutes on high and stir. Cook two more minutes on high and stir.

As you can see, it gets really bubbly and hot.   Please be careful removing it from the microwave at this point,  as you can get some severe burns if you spill it.   Stir it down well, and return to the microwave.

 If you want your caramel a little  soft, cook an extra minute. For harder caramel, cook for an extra two minutes. ( When I make these, I do cook an extra minute or two, I like my caramels a little harder and find they are too soft for my taste otherwise.) I tried something a different a couple of batches ago.  I toasted some Pecans, added them to the bottom of the buttered dish, and poured the slightly cooled caramel over the pecans.   After taste-testing a few, I decided to do this again and again, I had to, I ate half the pan.

Pour into a buttered small glass dish and let them set up. (I poured them into a buttered rectangle-shaped pan and then cut them in squares)

After they have cooled, you cut them into little squares or rectangles or …   and take them out of the pan.

At this point I wrap them in little squares of parchment paper.

I like doing it like this as it  keeps the caramel from oozing together back into a big lump.    I keep these in a bag in my fridge until it’s time to give them away.
Unfortunately for me, they are also within reach and I feel the need to sample one or two every day to make sure they are still edible.  hmmmm  So it means I make at least two batches, or more each time I make it.   I think you can also pour a little melted chocolate on top and stick them in the fridge to set up.    Can anyone say ‘Turtles?’

* You can get two batches out of one can of sweetened condensed milk.

Boozy Cranberry Sauce

I’m one of the many who bought more cranberries than I needed this season.  I fell for the trap of  “Gee, just throw the extra package into the freezer and use it later” advertising.   Actually not, but it sounded good.   I just like cranberries and yes I did buy more than I needed this year, but that was because I was trying a new recipe and wanted a back up package if the recipe tanked.   Well, it didn’t, or at least I don’t think it did.   I mean, I had to make some changes, due to my lack of making sure I had all the ingredients on hand.   Famous last words, huh?   I thought I had everything I needed to make _______  and I didn’t.   Oh well, it was a happy accident this time.

Sugared and ready to go in the oven, see the Anise and orange peel?

I found this recipe for Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon at Brooklyn Farmhouse and thought that it sounded good.   I mean I knew  I had a half bottle of Bourbon and there was a package of Anise sitting in the spice drawer that  wanted to be used in something.   I’ve been listening to it for a while now, it keeps asking me ‘Why did you buy me?   Why don’t you use me?   Sad…   At any rate, I figured that with all the ingredients in-house as it were, I could try this recipe out.   Imagine my surprise when I went to pull the bourbon out so it could be ready to pour, and it wasn’t there!  I had it in our camper and wasn’t about to drive 14 miles for a lousy 1/4 cup of bourbon.  sheesh, I mean I’m willing to do a lot, but this was beyond me.   At any rate, I looked in the liquor cabinet and spotted the bottle of Brandy I had sitting there, barely touched.   Got one of those AHA!!!! moments and decided to substitute Brandy for Bourbon.   They both start with the same letter, don’t they?   So when the Cranberries came out of the oven the second time, I poured the Brandy over it and WOW, gotta say the smell of  the HOT BRANDY that came from those berries was enough to clear my head out.   But I persevered and stirred the sauce and let it sit for a while to cool down, not.   I had to taste it, I mean I am a cook, and really wanted to see if it would be OK.   I burnt my tongue, but it was worth it.   The brandy taste was a little harsh, but I let the cranberries cool down and tasted it again.  And felt as if there was something lacking, so I grabbed my bottle of Grand Marnier out of the cupboard and poured in about a tablespoon or so and stirred it up again.   This time, the flavour was spot on.   It was good.   So I stuck it in the refrigerator and brought it with me to Christmas dinner at a friend’s house.    Asked people for their honest opinions, but the proof was in the empty container, it got et!  No leftovers, or at least very little.
I did change this recipe a little, so I can’t say it’s the same as the original one I started with so I’ve renamed it.    And here’s the recipe:

Boozy Cranberry Sauce.

1 package fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted (they come in 12 oz packages)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 star anise
1 piece of orange or lemon peel, about 1×3 inches, wash this real well if it’s waxed.
1/4 cup Brandy
1 tablespoon or more, to taste, of Grand Marnier

Mix the cranberries with the sugar and dump into a 9×13 casserole dish, add the orange peel and the star anise.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

After 30 minutes in the oven.

Take out of oven, give it a stir, so that the undissolved sugar has a chance to meet the rest of the cranberries and the peel and the anise.

Ready for the booze.

Cover it again, and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes.   Take out of oven, remove the orange peel and the anise and discard them.  They’ve done their job, thank them and let them go to their rest now.

Stir the cranberries and pour the Brandy over them and mix in well.   They’ll look a little like they’ve been candied at this point.  The aroma right now will be a smidge overpowering, but that’s OK.

Let it sit until cooled, and then stir in the tablespoon of Grand Marnier.   Taste at this point (well, you can taste at any point actually, it’s all good), and add a little more Grand Marnier if needed.  Chill for a couple of hours or longer and serve with your turkey.

When I made this the other day I portioned it out and froze it.

I’m going to take some out and use it on a pork roast in a couple of weeks, I think this would be great on a turkey sandwich, or with roast chicken.  Any place you want a sweet fruity, boozy note.

I’m ready for that pork roast now.