Nuts: Preheat oven to
350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Place the pecans or
walnuts on a baking sheet and toast the nuts for about 8 minutes, or
until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool and then chop coarsely.
Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) rectangular loaf pan
with aluminum foil. Lightly butter the foil.
In a heavy 2 1/2
quart (10 cup) saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, cream, milk, maple
syrup, butter, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil,
stirring constantly. Once the mixture boils, cover, and boil this way for about
minutes. Uncover and clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Boil the
mixture over medium heat (do not stir) until the temperature reaches 246
degrees F (119 degrees C). (If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, wash
them down with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water.) Remove the
pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and chopped nuts.
Pour the mixture
into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a small offset spatula or back of
a spoon. Leave to cool at room temperature for about an hour or two, or until caramels
To cut into
squares: Lift the caramels from the pan by holding onto the edges of the
aluminum foil. Peel pack the foil and, using a sharp knife (oiled with a
tasteless vegetable oil, like safflower), and with a sawing motion, cut into one
inch (2.54 cm) squares.
These caramels can
be stored at room temperature, between layers of wax paper, for a few days. They
can also be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks, or in the freezer for two
Makes about 24 - 1
inch (2.54 cm) caramels. Preparation time 45 minutes.
Lou. 'The Christmas Candy Book'. Chronicle Books. San Francisco: 2002.