Makes one 13×9-inch pan of caramel (actual number of caramels varies depending on how big you make the pieces when cutting up the caramel)
2 cups granulated sugar
8 ounces butter
1 3/4 cups light corn syrup
14 1/2 ounces evaporated milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1. Butter a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.
2. Place the granulated sugar, butter, light corn syrup, and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan (minimum size of 3 quarts) and cook over high heat while stirring until the mixture reaches 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 245 degrees Fahrenheit (firm ball stage).
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and nuts and stir quickly. Pour the caramel into the buttered 9×13-inch pan and set aside to cool.
5. When the caramel has cooled completely, cut into squares and wrap.