My aunt Cathy has been making caramel candies for us for Christmas for 25 years. I have never tasted caramels as good as hers. They are always soft and creamy with a wonderful flavor. With this recipe you can make your caramel as soft or as hard as you want to. Because confection recipes are always easily affected by altitude, my aunt, who lives at a much lower elevation than me, suggested I use the drop test method instead of a candy thermometer for figuring out how hard or soft my caramel is going to turn out. I went along with her suggestion because, for one I didn't want to Spring for a candy thermometer, and also because the temperature I would need to cook it to would differ for me from what she would cook it to and so she couldn't tell me what that temperature would be. (She says she cooks it to approx. 248 degrees F). So, instead of going through the trouble of trial and error, I have always used the drop test method, and it has worked for me every time. I will explain this method for those who don't know it in the directions.