4. Christmas Caramel

Caramel from Bake Chocolate Cake Blog
Caramel is a perfect candy to make during the holidays.  It packs well and it can be made several days in advance. Caramel, plain or with nuts, is delicious!

Anise oil added to plain caramel reminds me of the licorice caramels I used to get from England.  It is one of my favorite holiday treats.

The following recipe is very similar to the caramel I make for caramel corn but instead of pouring it over popcorn, it is cooled, shaped and wrapped in parchment or wax paper.

Roll the caramel in chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios for an incredibly satisfying treat.

Christmas Caramel 

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*(optional) add 1 teaspoon anise oil

Melt the butter in a pot over low heat.  Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the baking soda and the anise oil.

Pour the melted caramel onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cool.

When the caramel is cool enough to touch, pull off about 1 Tablespoon of caramel.  Shape the caramel into a rectangle log.  Roll in chopped nuts if desired.

Place the caramel on top of a small rectangle of parchment or wax paper.  Roll the paper around the caramel and twist the ends to seal.

Continue to wrap all of the pieces.

Store the caramel for several days in an air tight container.

(*For a licorice flavor add 1 teaspoon natural anise oil.  Anise oil can be found on various sites online including King Arthur Flour and Amazon)