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Sherman's Christmas Caramels

submitted photo

FOXBURG — Dave Sherman is a loner when it comes to his yearly tradition of making delicious, buttery caramels.

“I am totally in charge of caramel making each year, and my wife (Lori) randomly distributes them to friends and colleagues as she sees fit,” he said.

Sherman has been making his delectable caramels for approximately 10 years from an old family recipe.

“One year I asked my mother if she still had the recipe. I remembered her making them when I was young. She gave it to me and some of the hardware she always used, and I was off running,” he said. “The recipe has been in the family for many, many years.”

Sherman makes about 15 to 16 pounds of caramels a year. He gathers all of his supplies and pre-cuts wax paper to wrap each individual caramel prior to getting started.

He only makes the candy one day each year, so they have to turn out perfect.

“The greatest challenge in making caramels is cooking them to the exact, right temperature,” Sherman said. “A good candy thermometer is a must. A few degrees too high, and they will break teeth. Too low, and they will not set properly.”

Sherman’s greatest reward is hearing all of the comments about how much people enjoy, according to him, “the decadent little pieces of goodness.”


1 pound light brown sugar

1 cup dark Karo

1 14 ounce-can Eagle Brand condensed milk

1 cup butter


1. Grease a 9x13 cookie sheet with butter. The cookie sheet must have sides.

2. Combine half of the can of condensed milk and the rest of the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring until it is all melted. Don’t rush the process by turning up the heat.

3. Add the second half of the condensed milk and stop stirring when the mixture comes to a boil again.

4. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (soft ball stage).

5. Continue to boil for two minutes at that temperature.

6. Pour onto cookie sheet.

7. Cool completely, cut into squares or rectangles, and wrap in wax paper, twisting the ends.