Total Time
10 Hours 35 Mins
Yield
Makes 5 dozen
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Hargett

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat; cook, without stirring, 7 minutes.

Step 2

Stir in condensed milk, and bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 238° to 240° (soft ball stage), about 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 3

Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Let stand at room temperature 8 hours.

Step 4

Invert caramel onto a cutting board; cut into 1-inch squares using a bench scraper or knife.

Step 5

Cook chocolate and shortening in a saucepan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Toss caramels in chocolate mixture, in batches, until thoroughly coated, using a fork. Transfer to wax paper. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger or coarse sea salt, if desired. Chill 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator up to 5 days.

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