Caramel candies, or caramel chews as they are often referred to, can be more difficult to melt then you may think. Trying to melt the caramel candies in a microwave by themselves can make an extremely sticky mess and melting in a pot without any other additive can lead to scorching and hardening of the caramel. The best way to melt caramel candies for cooking is to first consider what type of recipe you want the caramel to be used in. That way you can start the process by melting the caramel with another ingredient like milk or cream.
Coat a large cooking pan with 1 tbsp of salted butter to prevent the caramel from sticking to the pan. Start heating the butter on low heat before adding your caramel. It's important to not add to much butter or you could disrupt the taste of the melted caramel.
Unwrap the caramel candies and place them in a measuring cup. Filling up two measuring cups with the candies should roughly create 1 to 1½ cups of melted caramel. It's best to only melt 2 cups of the candies at a time so that the caramel breaks down easier and quickly.
Raise the heat of the pan to medium-high and stir in the caramels slowly. It is important not to add all of the caramels at once to prevent scorching. Simply, let a couple pieces at a time start to melt before adding more.
Continue stirring and cooking for up to 18 minutes. It is important to stir frequently during this time and to also add any cream, milk or sugar for the recipe you are using the caramel for.
Don't let the caramel cool. Simmer for a short period of time and use the melted caramel for cooking while it is hot. For example, you can dip an apple in the caramel right after it has all melted for candy apples.