Everyone needs a special treat for the Holidays—Even Dietitian-Nutritionists!

My special Holiday Treat is home made caramels. I experimented with a recipe from Betty Crocker cookbook when I was a teenager. But, my memory of the best home made caramels came from long time family friend Louise Lattimore. I remember having her caramels when I was a kid and I wanted to replicate those. I called her up and she gave me the recipe for “Mrs Stovers Caramels”. There is nothing nutritious about these, BUT they are absolutely delicious!

Making them is a great chemistry experiment for your kids—see how the ingredients change as they are heated and the sugars carmelize!

”Mrs Stovers Caramels” from Louise Lattimore


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (1 – 16 oz bottle) Karo syrup
  • 2 cups (1 1/2 – 14 oz cans) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-3 cups chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts (IF desired)


  • Heavy bottomed large pot
  • Long handled spoon
  • Candy thermometer (essential!)
  • Mit for holding candy thermometer (it gets hot)
  • Greased 9 X 13 inch baking pan


  • If adding nuts, chop them and spread them over bottom of baking pan before starting to make caramels
  • Melt butter with sugar and karo syrup in your large, heavy pot.
  • Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly



  • Add sweetened condensed milk
  • Continue to stir constantly.
  • Hold candy thermometer so that tip is below surface of caramel mixture, but not touching side of pan or bottom of pan.
  • Continue to cook until temperature is 240º F (if it gets hotter than this, the caramels will be very hard; lower than this and they will not be solid once they cool) Immediately remove from heat.


  • Add vanilla and beat with spoon until creamy
  • Pour into baking pan (with or without the nuts) and allow to cool
  • Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy. We wrap each square in plastic wrap and put in gift boxes or mason jars for Christmas gifts for family and friends, or just put a plate of caramels out for a holiday gathering.