1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup butter
1 16 ounce package packed brown sugar (2 1/4 cups)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Line an 8x8x2 inch pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil. If desired, sprinkle walnuts on the bottom of the pan. Set pan aside.
2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup. Mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently till the thermometer registers 248* or firm-ball stage. (about 15-20 minutes)
3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared pan. When caramel mixture is firm, use the foil to lift it out of the pan. Use a buttered knife to cut caramel into 1 inch squares. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Makes 2 pounds.
Dip caramels into chocolate candy coating instead of plastic wrap.