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Fluffy Chocolate Caramel Bars

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons water
2 egg whites
35 unwrapped caramels
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
24 oz milk chocolate morsels

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup,
1/2 cup of the water, and the salt. Stir often until the mixture
begins to boil, then continue to cook, using a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and form peaks.

When the sugar mixture reaches 270 degrees F, or the soft-crack
stage, remove from the heat and pour the mixture in a thin stream
into the egg whites, blending with a mixer set on low speed.
Continue to mix for 20 minutes. The mixture will thicken as you
mix, until it reaches the consistency of cookie dough. At this
point, add the semisweet chocolate Be sure the candy is very thick
and fluffy before adding the chips.

When the chocolate chips are completely blended into the candy,
press the mixture into a greased 9x9-inch pan and refrigerate about
30 minutes.

Heat the caramels with the remaining 2 tablespoons water in a small
saucepan until thoroughly melted. Pour the caramel over the
refrigerated candy. Refrigerate.

Melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave for 2 minutes on
medium power. Stir halfway through the heating time. When the
caramel is set, use a sharp knife to cut down the center of the
pan, then cut the candy across into 7 segments, making a total of
14 bars. Using a fork, dip each bar into the chocolate to coat
completely, then tap the fork against the side of the bowl to knock
off excess chocolate. Place each bar on waxed paper and cool until
firm at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours. Makes 14 candy bars.


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