caramel corn image by Jessica Nigro from Fotolia.com

In just a few minutes, you can melt caramels to a smooth consistency in your microwave. Caramels are made by gradually heating sugar with butter and cream to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit, known in candy making as the "firm ball stage." Melting caramels in the microwave helps the novice candymaker avoid the sugar-scorching perils of direct heat. The microwave oven warms the butter fats from the inside--sugar crystals don't harden and the caramel melts before it overheats.

Spray a microwave-save bowl with cooking spray. Choose a bowl large enough so that when the caramels are in it, they do not reach the rim. Pyrex glass measuring cups are available in a few different sizes and are ideal for microwave caramel melting.

Unwrap the individual caramel candies and put them in the bowl.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds.

Put on oven mitts, remove the bowl and smash the warmed caramels down with the silicone spatula before returning it to the microwave for 30 seconds at 50 percent power. Lower the time to 15 seconds if your microwave does not have a power adjustment setting.

Stir the caramels with the silicone spatula. If any lumps remain, microwave again for 30 -econd bursts at 50 percent power until the candy is totally melted.

Tip

Stir a dash of real vanilla extract or cayenne into the melted caramel for another dimension of flavor.

About the Author

Jeffrey Brian Airman

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.