Don’t ask why this is called reindeer candy. All we know is that our Aunty Pat called it reindeer candy and she is the one who made this for us growing up. Every Christmas time she would whip up a batch of this magical treat and we would eat soooooo much of it! I have memories of her sitting on her couch cutting it and wrapping each piece in wax paper while we would sneak in and steal a piece.
As we grew older she would always make sure to send us a package in the mail filled with a bag of reindeer candy. A tradition we miss dearly since her passing.
This year I was missing my aunt and happened to go through a pile of old recipes she had sent me and came across this one. I knew I had to give it a try. Word of advice – get yourself a candy thermometer. You need to get it to the right stage for it to be justright.
Aunty Pat’s Reindeer Candy
1 cup corn syrup
1 tin (300 ml) Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 cup butter
4 1/2 cups brown sugar
Prepare a pan that is approx 12 X 15 by greasing VERY well with butter. NOTE – I rolled up some tinfoil and placed it on my 12 X 17 cookie sheet as a wall to get it to a smaller size and held it in place with clips. The exact size of the pan can vary, it just means your candy will be a bit thicker or thinner. It will stick to the pan if it is not completely greased so grease it well.
Prepare caramel – Place all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat.
Stir constantly until candy thermometer is in the area between soft ball stage and firm ball stage (approximately 245 F or 117 C). Basically, it is done when it just comes off soft ball stage by a degree or two.
Immediately pour it onto the prepared pan.
Set somewhere to cool completely. You can place in a fridge to speed up the process, if desired. Be careful handling the pan, it will be hot from the candy!
Once it is completely cool, I ran a large spatula under it to free it from the pan and then flipped it onto some wax paper on a cutting board to make it easier to cut.
Cut the candy into approximately 1 inch strips.
Then cut each strip into approximately 8 pieces.
Roll each of the pieces into a smooth log shape (kind of like a tootsie roll)
Wrap each piece in a square of wax paper.
And the twist the ends to hold it in place.
Repeat until all candy is wrapped. I got 120 pieces (10 dozen) from one batch. You may want to recruit some help for this – it can take a while. (NOTE – you can, of course, cut them into any sized piece you like! This is how I cut them to get 10 dozen)
Rolling it into a log is not necessary but this is how our aunt used to do it so this is how we do it.
You could just wrap it in the flat shapes you get when you cut it.
This is THE BEST Christmas candy ever. Ok, it’s not necessarily just for Christmas BUT it totally is for us. Getting it to just the right stage is the secret to perfect gooey caramels.
Just passed soft ball stage is where you want it. From when I put it on the stove to start cooking to the time I took it off the heat was 16 minutes exactly. DO NOT only go by the time though! Many things can affect how fast caramel cooks. Get a candy thermometer! If you boil it to the firm ball stage or hard ball stage your candy will be rock hard (think: brittle, not gooey). Which is still delicious but not as much fun to eat.
Aunty Pat’s reindeer candy might be known to you by a different name but to us it will always be Aunty Pat’s Reindeer Candy. It’s funny how only 4 ingredients can create such a wonderful memory of a truly beautiful human being.