A Tradition of Gifting: Christmas Caramels
Who knew these sweet little morsels would become a coveted treat year after year?
I began making caramels in 1996. Martha Stewart was in her prime and I was a huge fan (ok, I still am). I purchased one of her holiday books, embraced every page and took on the challenge of a homemade candy recipe of golden caramels.
The first batch I made with two friends, splitting the completed caramels between the three of us. We each received 65 individually wrapped candies. They didn’t go far and soon I realized this would be a great gift idea for friends families, teachers, coaches and of course clients and suppliers. As you can imagine, the list started to grow. From there on in I decided to make my own batch yielding roughly 200 caramels from each pan. If you’ve ever made candy before, there is a precision to the temperature it must reach, timing to add each ingredient and overall patience is a must. The time to make the caramels is 1.5 hours, then set for 24 hours to fully come to room temperature. The cutting and wrapping is what seemingly takes the longest! All in all it is a process, however one that has become a Christmas tradition in our home. The number of pans of caramels has increased over the years. I’m now up to five pans, roughly 1000 caramels, packaged and delivered to list of recipients.
These caramels have become a ‘thing’ in my world. Those who have received them, look forward to seeing them arrive on their doorstep or in the mail. And once received, I hear stories of these sweet treats being hid from other family members, stashed away in drawers and secret places, only to be enjoyed by them.
Even while cutting the caramels my family hovers around so they can eat the corners. Any caramel left in the pot is scraped out and savoured. I get such a kick out of it. People are mad for these caramels! It makes me so happy.
Which is exactly why I keep doing it. Year after year. And each year the numbers grow.
I distinctly remember one year I was so overwhelmed with work and seasonal activities, I called a family meeting to explain I wouldn’t be making caramels that year. I just couldn’t fit it in. There was a unanimous outcry with all three of them saying ‘you have to find a way!” And so, with their help, I did.
And then there’s the packaging. One of my favourite things to do is wrap presents. So the caramels are no exception. This year I found the cutest cellophane envelopes with patterned backing from a store in Toronto, The Paper Place.
So 22 years and counting, the tradition continues. Do you have a tradition people look forward to year after year? I’d love to hear about it!
If you’re feeling ambitious, here’s the secret recipe :)
I hope your Christmas preparations are coming along well!
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