Homemade Milk Duds Recipe
For the Caramel:
4 ounces water
8 1/2 ounces sugar
3/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
6 ounces heavy cream
For the Chocolate Coating:
8 ounces finely chopped dark or milk chocolate , such as Callebaut or Valrhona; do not use chips
Nestle a large sheet of parchment paper into an 8-inch cake pan to roughly cover the bottom and sides. In a 2-quart stainless steel saucier, combine water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir with a fork until sugar is fully dissolved and syrup comes to a rolling boil, about 4 minutes. Simmer, without stirring, until syrup is honey-gold, roughly 7 minutes. Immediately add cream and reduce heat to medium-low, adjusting the heat lower if needed to keep caramel from foaming too high. Stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula, simmer until caramel registers 260 degrees F on a digital thermometer, about 7 minutes. Immediately pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil, and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Peel caramel from parchment, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 50 pieces with a sharp knife; don't worry about being too precise with their shape or size. If you like, use your fingers to mold the pieces into a more oval, Milk Dud–like shape.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Temper chocolate according to one of the methods described here. Fold all caramel pieces into tempered chocolate. With a clean hand, scoop up pieces like handfuls of marbles, then slide each one over your index finger with your thumb into your other hand and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature until fully set, about 15 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container.