I’m on a homemade candy bender. It really freaks people out when you make homemade candy. I get a million questions about how this sweet treat they thought could only be bought in a store came out of my kitchen. Last week, when someone tasted my homemade marshmallows, they asked if I bought the round marshmallows at the store and melted them down to cut into squares. It set me on a homemade candy mission. I want to make small batches of your favorite candy all day! Any requests for me?
Homemade candy is a mystery to most. A magical sorcery of sorts. Except: the only thing you need is a candy thermometer. I bought one of those clip-on candy thermometers, but I never use it, actually. I dip a meat thermometer in the boiling mixture when my intuition tells me the temperature is close. And by intuition, I mean my nose. When it smells good, it’s time to move onto the next step. This is true for almost everything in the kitchen: searing a steak, sauteing tomato paste to bring out the flavor, browning butter. Your nose knows.
For homemade chewy, sticky, creamy BEST EVER caramels, you just have to be able to boil a mixture. Twice. To two different temperatures. I think we can handle that, yes?
Plus, when you make your own chewy caramels, you no longer have to ask a Trader Joe’s employee if they could give you all of the boxes of fleur de sel caramels they have in stock. And a bigger shopping cart. (Guilty).
I want to try making all sorts of flavored caramels. But, truth be told, even if you leave the vanilla out of the batch (like I did the first time), the caramels still taste great. I’ve got my eye on apple cider caramels next. I didn’t grow up in a place with abundant apples, so I’m not well versed in apple treats, but I want to be! Would you believe I’ve never had a proper apple cider donut? I’m on a mission!
Please, friends, be careful when making these caramels. Boiling things are, um, hot. Don’t burn yourself. When the sugar gets to the right temperature, move quickly but skillfully. And don’t be tempted to scrape the pan. Use both hands to steady the pot of boiling hot stuff, and then be done with it. Let the caramels cool a few hours, or overnight (uncovered).
5 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Line a 9 x 5 x 3-inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
- In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, add the heavy cream, butter and salt. Microwave in 30 second pulses until melted and steaming. Set aside.
- In a 2-quart saucepan (seriously, don't use a smaller one-it boils up), add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Turn the heat to high, and cook without stirring until it reaches between 290-295 degrees.
- Turn the heat off.
- Slowly stream in the heavy cream mixture, and whisk gently. Turn the heat back to high, and cook without stirring until it reaches 250 degrees.
- Turn off the heat, and add the vanilla. Whisk gently to combine.
- Immediately pour the mixture into the loaf pan; do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
- Let sit for a few hours, or overnight.
- Slice into desired shapes and wrap individually in wax paper.