Homemade Caramels the easy way

Ingredients:

1/2 cup salted butter, melted

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients except the vanilla in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 3 minutes in the microwave. Pull it out and stir and cook for 3 more minutes. While it’s in the microwave, butter the inside of an 8x8 casserole dish. Add the vanilla and stir before pouring the caramel into the dish. Sprinkle finishing salt.

Refrigerate for 35-40 minutes. Remove the caramel in one piece with a spatula onto a greased surface of parchment paper. Cut in small one inch size squares and wrap the individual caramels in parchment paper and twist the ends. Store in a freezer tight container.

If you eat the entire batch, I totally understand. They’re so easy and fail proof. It’s such a quick recipe — I hope you’ll make them for years to come.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cream together

1/2 cup softened salted butter

3/4 cup shortening

3 cups powered sugar

Add

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients together

6 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Alternate the dry ingredients and 3/4 cup of milk into the wet ingredients.

Roll cookie dough an inch thick and use your favorite cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes for soft cookies. The cookies won’t look done. Trust me I promise that they are. Let the cookies cool on a rack.

I’ve been using this recipe for my entire life. This sugar cookie is the perfect combo of sweet and soft topped with the best buttercream goodness.

Buttercream frosting

Use a hand held mixer or stand mixer to cream butter and sugar together, add the other ingredients.

• 5 cups of powered sugar

• 1 cup of room temp salted butter

• 2 tablespoons vanilla

• 1/4 salt

• 1/4 cup whole milk or heavy whipping cream add a little at a time until you achieve the perfect consistency.

Royal Icing 

1 pound (4-1/4 cups) powered sugar

3 large egg white

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

To prepare this recipe, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix (with a hand mixer or a stand mixer) on low speed until blended. Increase to medium speed and beat until the icing holds thick, soft peaks, 4 to 6 minutes. Test the icing for outline consistency by piping a small amount through a decorative tip. If it tends to curl back or is difficult to pipe out, the icing is too dry and needs a few drops of water. If the piped icing seems runny, add more powered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating on low speed to blend. Don’t over-beat or the icing will stiffen and lose its gloss. Divide the icing among clean containers, one for each color to be used. Tint as desired with concentrated food coloring pastes or powders (liquid colors can thin the icing too much). Add each color by dipping a toothpick into the paste and transferring small amounts to the icing; stir with a spoon until no streaks remain. Keep the containers sealed when not using them.

Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar 

1 cup salted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder 

3-1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Red food coloring (I use India Tree out of Seattle @indiatree.com — it’s all natural food coloring).

Directions:

Divide dough in half. Color one half and refrigerate for 3-4 hours for best results. Make small balls, then roll out into 4-inch long ropes. Roll side by side and gently press as you twist together. Bend tops to create candy cane shape. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper evenly spaced

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, let cool.

This is one of our family’s favorite Christmas cookies. We make them every year. They are delicious when they are still warm.

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