This candy is not at all difficult to make, and has so many uses! It makes a great gift, wrapping the squares of candy in waxed paper squares. It is also the base for caramel sauce, and as a filling in Salted Caramel Cookie Bars. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's original.
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lightly oil or spray with non-stick spray a 9 X 9-inch metal baking dish. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhand on two sides (to lift out the caramel after it hardens). Oil or spray the parchment paper, as well.
Place the cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a very large (4 quart) heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring slowly until sugar melts. Once mixture comes to a boil, cover with a lid and allow to cook for a minute, covered. (The steam inside the pan will melt any sugar that might be stuck on the sides of the pan which could crystallize.) Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, untilcaramel reaches 248-degrees on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Pour the caramel into the baking pan and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 8 hours, and up to one day.
Lift the caramel out of the pan with the parchment paper and place on a large cutting board.
Cut into 1 X 1-inch pieces to use as candy. Cut into nine square pieces and layer with wax paper, then wrap in plastic wrap to use as a base for other recipes. Candy will keep at room temperature for a month.