The best Caramels I ever had came in an unmarked clear bag from a Walgreens in Smithtown, LI.  I checked my walgreens for them today, but no luck.  It was actually hard to find any type of plain caramel anywhere – everything had chocolate or cream in it.  I finally found those square caramels from back in the day.  They’re not my favorite, but they got the job done.

Caramel is made from boiling butter, brown sugar, and cream.  It’s very versatile.  Its incorporated into many desserts and candies, a topping for ice creams and custards, a filling for desserts and candies and pies, and used to flavor items like puddings, coffee, or cakes.

Hard caramel (sugar and water) had been made by American woman since as early as the 17th century (approx 1650).  It was around 1850, when it was discovered adding milk and fat to this mixture would make a soft chewy confection soon to be called caramel.

Milton Hershey’s first business was actually the Lancaster Caramel Company!  He had a great caramel recipe, and he would sell chocolate covered caramels from his company.  He soon became more interested in chocolate and sold his caramel company [for 1 million dollars] to begin his chocolate business.

As this American candy became a world wide hit, caramel recipes began to decrease in quality and was mass produced to fill a market.  But so many forms and variations of caramel exists you can find it anywhere and in almost anything.