Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Soft Chewy Caramel - Two Excellent Recipes

I love the taste of soft, chewy caramel.  When looking at recipes for caramel, I had no idea how many variations there are.  Wow, I found a lot of wonderful recipes for caramel!  After weighing my options, I chose two recipes I felt would make the kind of soft, creamy caramel I hoped to achieve.  In this post I'll share both recipes, and you can decide which one you like best.

Thermometer Test

Before you make your caramel, you should test your candy thermometer.  Water boils at exactly 212 degrees Farenheit or 100 degrees Celsius.  Clamp your candy thermometer on the side of the pot you plan to use to make your caramel.  Make sure it does not touch the bottom of the pot.  Fill the pot with a few inches of water, making sure the temperature sensor on your thermometer is immersed in the water.  Place the pot on the stove and turn up the heat to boil the water.  Watch your thermometer as the water heats.  At the precise moment you achieve a rolling boil, check the thermometer temperature reading.  Is it 212 degrees Farenheit?  If so, your thermometer is correct.  As you can see from the photo, my candy thermometer is off by about 12 degrees.  When my thermometer reads at 195 degrees Farenheit, the water temperature is actually 212 degrees Farenheit.  Knowing this helps you accurately cook your caramel.  Now I know I have to follow the recipes exactly, allowing for the 12 degree difference on the reading with simple math.  Whatever it tells me to bring up the temperature to, I simply deduct 12 degrees.

Candy Thermometer Test Reading

Caramels Recipe by The Joy of Baking

 The photo of the caramels from Joy of Baking is absolutely gorgeous!

I love this recipe because the the instructions are clear, the ingredients are simple, and that picture of caramel looks so yummy!


1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy whipping cream (has a 36-40% butterfat content)

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (210 grams) packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt
(I used sea salt because I didn't have kosher salt.)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Caramels: Butter an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan.

In a heavy medium sized saucepan, stir together the cream, sugars, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture boils, with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water, wash down the sides of the saucepan to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed. Clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Boil the mixture over medium high heat (do not stir) until the temperature reaches 245 degrees F (118 degrees C). 

NOTE: If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, wash them down with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water. (I used a wooden spoon soaked in hot water instead of a pastry brush.)

The temperature is almost right (with adjustment made per thermometer test).

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the caramel into your prepared pan and let cool, undisturbed, for at least eight hours, or overnight. 

NOTE:  My caramels cooled much faster than the time shown here.  Maybe it was because I used a lightweight, disposable aluminum pan to cool them.

With a sharp knife, (oiled with a tasteless vegetable oil, like safflower), and with a sawing motion, cut into squares or rectangles. These caramels can be stored at room temperature, between layers of wax paper, for several days. Caramels make a nice gift, especially when wrapped in wax paper or cellophane.

Makes about 48 pieces. Preparation time 40 minutes.

NOTE:  They tend to get a bit grainy on the edges after awhile if they are not protected from exposure to air.

Aunt Emily's Soft Caramels by Land O Lakes

The original recipe makes 72 caramels.  I divided it in half.  This recipe is for 36 caramels.


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Butter a 8 x 8 inch pan; set aside. Combine all ingredients except vanilla in heavy 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil (15 to 20 minutes).
Continue cooking, until candy thermometer reaches 244°F. or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball (about 25 to 30 minutes). 

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool completely. Cut into 1 1/2x1-inch pieces; wrap candies in plastic food wrap. Store refrigerated.

After preparing and tasting both recipes, I really can't choose a favorite.  They are both excellent!  The first recipe, Joy of Baking: Caramels Recipe, is a bit softer and saltier.  The second recipe,  Aunt Emily's Soft Caramels by Land O Lakes, is a bit firmer (still soft and chewy though) and not salty.

I love caramel!  I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. 

This post is shared at:

Sew Crafty Angel:  Weekend Blog Link Party #5  

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Flaunt it Friday 149

Sincerely, Paula: NO RULES Weekend Blog Party #43 



  1. Wow this looks good. I've gotta try it.
    Thanks for sharing at my blog hop.

  2. These look delicious!!! Came over from Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring

  3. I love both recipes :). I love making caramels but I do it the lazy way in the microwave :).

    Stopping by from Pin Me. I'm your newest follower.

    Alexis from Running Away? I'll Help You Pack!

  4. Not sure why, but I am scared of using candy thermometers!!


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