12 Days of Holiday Gifts: Homemade Caramels

by in Healthy Holidays, December 9, 2010
Ina's Salted Caramels
Ina Garten's Salted Caramels - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

We’re serving up fresh gift ideas every day from now until December 12. Catch up on the previous gifts here.

Sure, you can buy candy for friends and family this holiday season, but why not add a special homemade touch? We’ve got 3 winning caramel recipes and a video from Alton Brown to help walk you through the simple steps.

Homemade Caramels
Made with sugar, butter, corn syrup and cream, caramels aren’t health food, but it’s the holidays! And since a 1-ounce piece will only set you back about 110 calories, there’s no need to feel guilty.

Caramels aren’t difficult to make, they just require a little care and attention. The trickiest part? Getting the sugar to just the right color — watch carefully! Melt sugar with a little corn syrup until it’s golden brown, like the one pictured below. Swirl, don’t stir the sugar as it cooks.

Cook Sugar Mixture Until Golden Brown

See Ina Garten’s full caramel step-by-step for the whole process. Extracts, seasonings and spices can add flavors without extra calories. Here are a few recipes to try:

Recipes to Try:
Ina’s Fleur de Sel Caramels
Pumpkin Caramels
Alton’s Dark Salty Caramels (watch the how-to video)

Wrap caramels in parchment or wax paper and store in small tins or candy boxes. Pack along with cookies, gourmet coffee or tea, a bottle of dessert wine, or even some tart apples.

TELL US: What kind of candy will you make this year?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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