1 c. butter
2 1/4 c. packed brown sugar (1 16 oz. package)
2 c. light cream
1 c. light (-colored) corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
1 c. nuts if desired (I don't, but my cousin Barb does)
Line an 8" square or 9" square baking pan with foil. Butter the foil. If desired, sprinkle nuts on the bottom of the pan.
Melt butter in a saucepan over high heat. Add all other ingredients but vanilla. Cook and stir until it boils. Reduce heat to medium, and continue boiling steadily, stirring frequently, until firm-ball stage. (248 F on a candy thermometer)
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and pour into pan. When the caramels have set, use the foil to remove the large caramel lump from the pan and use buttered kitchen shears or a buttered knife to cut them into squares or strips to wrap in plastic.