- 1 tablespoon canola or other flavorless vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts or unskinned almonds
- Line an 8-inch-square metal baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the sides of the pan. Thoroughly coat the foil with the canola oil.
- In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the cream, corn syrup and sugar. Stir continuously over moderate heat with a long-handled wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Using a pastry brush dipped in warm water, brush down the side of the pan twice to prevent crystallization.
- Raise the heat to moderately high and place a candy thermometer in the pan. Continue to cook the syrup, stirring constantly, until the temperature registers 250°, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the butter, vanilla and nuts. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and let cool to room temperature on a rack, at least 2 hours.
- Use the ends of the foil to lift the caramel from the pan. Peel the foil off the back of the caramel. Coat the blade of a chef's knife with oil. Cut the caramel into 8 equal strips, then cut each strip into 8 pieces. Arrange the caramels, without touching one another, between sheets of wax paper, or wrap them individually in wax paper.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.