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© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Line an 8-or 9-inch-square baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Generously butter the foil. If desired, sprinkle walnuts over bottom of pan. Set pan aside.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, half-and-half (or cream) 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; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until the thermometer registers 248°F, firm-ball stage (45 to 60 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil and watch temperature carefully during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking as temperature can increase quickly at the end.)
Remove pan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour mixture into prepared pan. Let stand about 2 hours or until firm. When firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Use a buttered knife to cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap each piece in wax paper or plastic wrap. Store at room temperature.