Christmas Nugget Wrappers & "Easy" Homemade Caramel Recipe

 
Ho Ho Ho!!!! It's that time of year again. It seems like it was just Labor Day and here we are just a few short weeks away from Christmas. WOW!...time just flies by. Actually, it's just a few days before Thanksgiving. The house is clean, the turkey is thawing in the refrigerator (it's been thawing since last Thursday)...LOL! It's a big one, about 25 pounds. We are only having around 16 people, but we do love those leftovers. 

But, it's also time to start thinking about Christmas cookies, goodies, shopping for those most important presents. I've said this before in other posts, but it's worth repeating. I have four children, 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. I so enjoy canning and baking in the fall and now it's time to start packing up all those goodies to be given to the family. The cookies, caramels and other delectables will be made right after Thanksgiving and stored in the very cold garage until Christmas. The breads are partially made and are frozen. I'll add a few more varieties of bread when I'm working on the cookies. It's a great time of year to gain lots and lots of weight...just kidding! Ha!
So in this post I've decided to share a wonderful caramel recipe along with Hershey Nugget wrappers for Christmas. It's the best recipe I've found and I've used many, many recipes. It's easy and almost fool proof. It makes about 80 pieces of caramel. 

In years past I tried oh so many times to make caramel. It just never turned out. It always ended up burning at the bottom of the pan. The one thing I learned in making candy like caramels or toffee, is don't ever use a metal stirring tool. Always, and I mean always use a wooden spoon. I never knew that. 

I finally consulted with the internet (my best friend) and this is what I found...Wooden utensils have natural qualities that mean they handle heat better, do not become too hot in use and have antibacterial properties that help trap and eliminate germs and bacteria, making it safer to use and more sanitary. 

Metal spoons can change the temperature of the caramel mixture in different areas of the mixture and may cause scorching. Also, always use a non-stick pan. I started with a non-stick high side frying pan and then purchased a non-stick dutch oven that I only use for making candy. They are very inexpensive. I found one that works well at Walmart and it was only $12.

A Twofer - Homemade Caramels and Hershey Nugget Wrappers...
I also thought some Christmas Hershey Nugget Wrappers would be a nice addition to this post. I totally enjoy making these cute wrappers for different holidays, events and occasions. This is a "free" download that you can print for a cute addition to your Christmas treats.
So Let's Make Some Delicious Caramels...
Before we make the nugget wrappers, let's make some delicious caramels. I have also posted this recipe in my Christmas post, "Oh How I Love Those Smiles". Now that I've found a great caramel recipe, I'll never use any other.
You'll need the following...
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar (white, granulated)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated mile)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • salt flake for the op of the caramel (optional)
Notice that the measurements are so easy. Five ingredients (1 cup each) plus salt, vanilla and salt flakes (optional)

Melt butter, add sugars, karo syrup, sweetened condensed milk, (not evaporated milk) and salt. Cook in a semi deep frying pan or dutch oven until it reaches 240 degrees, soft ball stage. (Note: I cook it to the "firm ball" stage. I find the caramels are firmer, but not hard).  I Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir until incorporated and then pour into a parchment lined 9X13 cake pan or a well buttered pan. Let cool and cut into size of your choice. That's it! Easy peasy and delicious!!!

The Best Homemade Caramel Recipe
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar (white, granulated)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated mile)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • salt flake for the op of the caramel (optional)
Directions:
  1. Prepare your baking dish.  Grease a 9 by 13 baking dish with butter.  Do not use non-stick cooking spray for this or it will give your caramel a strange flavor.  Set it aside until the caramel is done cooking.
  2. In a non-stick pan, add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, Karo syrup, sweetened condensed milk and salt.
  3. Cook in a deep saucepan (I used a high sided frying pan and it worked fine) over medium heat, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted.
  4. Stirring constantly, cook the caramel mixture until it comes up to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. (Note: I cook it to the "firm ball" stage. I find the caramels are firmer, but not hard). If you don't have a candy thermometer, use the cold water method. (Put a couple of cups of cold water in a cereal bow. Drop a tablespoon of caramel into the cold water.  Move the caramel mixture around with your fingertips.  If the caramel forms a "softball" it's ready.  If the caramel dissolves or runs through your fingers, keep cooking it.)
  5. Take the caramel off the heat immediately to stop the cooking and add the vanilla.
  6. Pour the caramel into the greased, prepared, 9x13 baking dish.  Let the caramel cool before cuttings...about 3 hours.
  7. Sprinkle with salt flakes if desired...enjoy!
Well, that's it for the Homemade Caramels. So easy and so good! I do hope you try this recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Now on to the Christmas Hershey Nugget Wrappers...



If you are interested in making these nugget wrappers, just hit the "Print" button. Full instructions are included with the download.
The download contains 16 different designs and 5 toppers
   
  
Here's a List of  Items You Will Need to Make the Wrappers
Before we get started, gather the following...
  • Hershey Nuggets (your choice of flavor)
      
  • Pretzel Bags (can be purchased at Walmart, or any craft store with cake decorating items, or online
  • Printables from Handmade by Hoffy on this post
  • scissors, 
  • glue or double faced tape
  • ribbon, jute, wire ties, ribbon or anything you want to tie the bag closed with or just use a stapler.
  • copy paper for printables
  • construction paper for trays
  • cardstock for label (opt.)
  • stapler
Instructions for Making Nugget Wrappers and Tray
Although I have included the instructions for the nugget wrappers in the printables, I thought I would also include the instructions on this post. The wrappers are pretty easy. Just print them and cut them out.

Nugget Tray...
The tray is very easy also. I use a ScorPal, but if you don't have a Scor pal, you can easily use the round edge of a paper clip and a ruler. Cut the size that you are interested in...1 7/8"X 4" for a 4-pack of nuggets, 1 7/8"X 6" for a 6-pack, and 1 7/8"X 8" for an 8-pack.
Score the construction paper or cardstock 1/4" on both long sides using method above. Once scored, fold on score line to give each side an edge where the nuggets will be held in place.

Place a piece of double faced tape down the center of the tray or a dot of glue....whatever you have available. Then place nuggets in the tray. The tape or glue holds them in place so they don't move around. If using glue, wait until the glue is dry before you put in to the pretzel bag.

Insert your tray of nuggets into the pretzel bag. (These can be purchased at Walmart, or craft stores that have a cake decorating department or online. They are very reasonable.

Cut out the topper and and staple to the top of the pretzel bag. The pretzel bags do come with silver ties if you don't want to use the topper.
.
And that's it...pretty easy and very creative!
 
This might be a fun project for the kids and parents. They are definitely easy and add a little touch of Christmas to the candy treats!

A Little Extra...
I've made these wrappers for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and now Christmas. If interested in making any of these, just click on the Holiday below and you will be redirected to the post that contains the wrappers for download.

 


One Final Thought...
I just love making the nugget wrappers. They would be great for birthdays, weddings, baby showers and a lot more. Maybe when I get time, I'll make some for those events. In the meantime you can download ones for upcoming holidays.

I also hope that everyone gets a chance to make those wonderful caramels... You have to trust me on this, they are the easiest and best caramels I've ever made or eaten.
Merry Christmas from our home to yours!