4 TB unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, in chopped chunks or chips
1-cup whole milk
3/4 cup molasses
1 ts peppermint extract (if you don’t like peppermint you can use vanilla extract)
½ cup finely chopped candy canes
Cook note: this is a very gentle peppermint flavor. I don't like a lot of peppermint taste, so I did not add in a lot of peppermint.
There is a slight peppermint taste to this, and more of a molasses flavor.
Generously butter an 8x9 or 9 inch oval or square baking dish.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a medium, heavy saucepan.
Combine the butter, chocolate, milk, molasses and sugar in the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees on the thermometer.
This will take about 15 or more minutes—be patient. Do not be tempted to turn up the heat to get temperature higher—you might burn the sugar.
Continuously scraping the bottom of the pan with a silicon spatula (or a wooden spoon) so the mixture doesn’t stick and burn.
Once you reach the temp of 248 degrees, take off the heat, and stir in the extract. It will bubble up. Give it a good stir then pour into prepared pan.
Then working fast, sprinkle in the candy cane bits, and stir again till combined. Let this sit at room temperature at least an hour or longer before slicing.
As soon as the caramel is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a cutting board and use a buttered chef’s knife (or scissors) to cut the caramel into ¾-inch-wide strips, and then crosswise into ¾-inch pieces.
When the caramels are completely cool, wrap them individually in wax paper, or layer in parchment paper in an airtight container.
Should make about 60 pieces, all depending on how you slice them.