1 cup shredded coconut, chopped
1 cup whole milk
a pinch of cream of tartar, less than an 1/8th of a tsp
1 cup of salted butter
2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of heavy cream at room temperature
2 tsp of real vanilla extract
a few drops, no more than 7 of red food coloring
1 buttered 12 x 10 x 2 or larger pan, depends on how thick you like caramels.
Soak the coconut in the milk for at least 20 minutes; covered overnight is best. Use a glass container for this, not plastic.
Put the milk and coconut into a stainless steel or copper saucepan, adding the cream of tartar, butter and sugar, turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 240 degrees F. Stir in the cream, vanilla and food coloring. Continue to cook and stir until mixture reaches 256 degrees F. You may have to increase heat slightly to reach this temperature.
Immediately remove from heat and pour into prepared buttered pan. When cool, cut into bite sized pieces. You can sift powdered sugar over them at this stage but it isn't necessary. Do follow exactly the heat directions.
In candy making heat and quantity are crucial. You cannot just double the recipe and expect everything to work. I wish it were true but it isn't. One tip I can give you about candy making is to always warm nuts you are using in recipes, don't add them cold-makes a world of difference, don't know why, just know it does. lucas hess
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My mother was a professional candy dipper when that was an art form. She and my father ran their own candy company for 8 years after he retired. Unfortunately most of their recipes are lost and not recoverable. This one survived