All steps are done over medium heat:
Melt butter in large heavy pan (I use a non-stick, 5 quart Dutch oven)
Stir in brown sugar until thoroughly combined.
Add salt and stir.
Gradually add corn syrup, stirring as you add it (Drizzle it in)
Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, stirring as you add it (Drizzle it in)
Stirring constantly, heat to firm ball stage (245ºF)(12-15 minutes)
(I usually do the ice water test and cook it slightly less than the recipe suggests)
Remove from heat and gently stir in vanilla.
Pour into buttered pan. (The recipe calls for a 9x9 pan, but I like to us a 9x13 cookie sheet. Any pan will work, but avoid rounded corners).
Cut, enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!
Make a fancy treat for your friends and family! (You can do the dipping and decorating several days after making the caramels.)
Melt dipping chocolate (or white almond bark) and drop caramels in one at a time to coat them. Set on waxed paper to harden. While chocolate is still soft, top caramels with nut halves (walnut, cashew, pecan, macadamia, almonds, etc.) or coconut. Sprinkles and sea salt also work, as does piped frosting.
Cut some caramels into smaller squares and roll one at a time into a ball. Roll in chopped nuts. Wrap some plain caramels in candy foils (from the craft store) and put others in candy cups. Decorate some with piped or tube icing (lattice, holly, stripes, etc.). A box of these will look like you worked for days, but takes only 30 minutes to cook and an hour or so to dip and decorate.
See what new ideas you can come up with and have fun! It's a pretty cheap, fairly quick homemade gift that's delicious. One recipe will make about 4-6 gifts. Be thrifty! Mix leftover nuts with leftover dipping chocolates and drop by the spoonful into candy cups or molds for an extra treat in your candy box.