Just about everybody loves caramel candies. The chewy, gooey, buttery decadence is unrivaled, especially when the caramel is still slightly warm.
And like most anything else, they’re usually better (’cause they’re fresh) when you make them yourself. If you’ve never tried to make homemade caramels, you really should give it a shot. They’re super easy (really, all you do is boil the mixture to a certain temperature), and you get to control (i.e. exclude) any ingredients that you don’t want. You should know by now that I don’t post recipes that require a whole lot of slaving away in the kitchen, and I’m not going to start with this one!
I checked out the ingredients of two common caramels and found things like hydrogenated oils, soy protein, lots of artificial colors (who knew you needed Red, Blue and Yellow to make that lovely shade of brown?), corn starch, and artificial flavors (why enjoy the real caramel flavor when you can have fake?). Umm, thanks but no thanks, candy makers. I like my food to be non-fake. Even if I am making candy…
So for our basic homemade caramels, we’re using butter, sugar, cream, honey, pure vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt. And looking at that list of ingredients, you know something good is coming out of it, no matter what form it takes 🙂 Make sure you use the highest-quality ingredients that you can get your hands on!
Extra-Special Bonus Recipes:
Maple Walnut Caramels
Substitute 1 1/2 cups brown sugar for the regular sugar and 3/4 cup maple syrup for the honey; cook as per the original instructions. After removing from heat, stir in a dash each of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves, and 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts. Pour and let cool.
Chocolate Coconut Caramels
Prepare the basic caramel recipe. Toast 1 cup of shredded coconut, and spread half of it on the parchment paper. When it comes time to remove from heat, stir in about 8 ounces of dark or bittersweet chocolate (a decent-sized bar works; I didn’t actually measure mine and it turned out fine). Pour the caramel mixture onto the parchment, then sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top. Let cool.
And now, I’ll cease my chatter and let you get to the kitchen to get started on these exquisite homemade caramels 🙂
For some more caramel options, check out these blogs: