One of the neat things about some homemade candy recipes is that you don’t need a lot of ingredients or equipment to put them together. This means that you can probably whip up a batch with items that you already have in your emergency stockpile. While we don’t always associate candy with survival or self-sufficiency, maybe we should. Candy can definitely help to make a challenging living situation a little easier to contend with. Here’s a delicious Amish caramel recipe that can help to illustrate this point.
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of heavy cream
1 ¾ cups of corn syrup
1 cup of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
The first step is to combine the softened butter, sugar, corn syrup and about ¼ cup of cream into a saucepan or double boiler. If you want to prevent the corn syrup from sticking to the measuring cup and taking forever to pour, coat it with some non-stick cooking spray first, and it will slide right out.
Next, bring up the mixture to a low boil, but make sure to stick the thermometer into the pan beforehand. Stir occasionally until everything melts, dissolves and becomes evenly-blended. Slowly pour in the cream once the liquid is boiling, and continue to stir. The liquid will start to froth up once it reaches about 200 degrees, and this is perfectly normal.
Keep stirring as the caramel begins to thicken, and whatever you do, don’t let it stop boiling. After it starts to froth, pour the vanilla into the liquid and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the caramel starts to thicken at about 235-240 degrees, and you want to try and keep temperatures from getting hotter than that. This is called the soft-ball stage, when the caramel will form into a soft ball when it’s dropped from a spoon into a cup of cold water.
If you keep cooking until the caramel reaches higher temperatures, it will darken and become much-more dense after cooling. The goal here is to produce a soft, chewy and creamy caramel that is a dark tan to light brown. However, you can experiment with longer cook times at higher temperatures to see if you like the results or not.
Setting and Finishing
Carefully pour the hot caramel into a buttered baking pan, spread it out evenly, and then let it rest until it’s cool enough to cut into pieces that retain their shape. Cut the caramel into pieces, but cut by pressing straight down instead of from side-to-side. All that does is stretch the caramel and ends up creating a mess. Wrap the pieces in some wax or candy paper, and you’re good to go. You can also pour the hot caramel straight into a mason jar and store it that way as well.
Try this simple recipe for yourself, and see how easy it is to incorporate candy into your emergency food supply. You’ll be glad that you did if and when that time comes, and it’s also a fun and tasty way to learn to become more self-sufficient now as well.