Brown Sugar Caramels are the perfect sweet treat to make and give this holiday season — just try not to eat them all yourself!
…Yeah, me neither…
But seriously. There is just something about homemade caramels. (By the way…do you say “car-muhl” or “care-a-mell”?) It only takes a few humble ingredients and a little bit of heat to make magic happen when it comes to making caramel.
Much like sharing family recipes with you every Christmas, I seem to have need to encourage you to pull our your candy thermometers about once a year. (Exhibit A: My great-grandmother’s Peanut Brittle recipe.)
I know that candy making can feel intimidating, but it really is not that scary. Get yourself a good candy thermometer – this one on Amazon is very similar to the one that I use – keep your eye on it, and you are set.
This recipe makes around 75 caramels – this can increase or decrease depending on how big you cut your candies – which is plenty to give as gifts or take to a holiday party this month. In fact, this recipe is a perfect addition to this month’s #12Bloggers theme – Holiday Party Treats!
Regardless of the occasion – be it a work shindig, school party or a soiree with the in-laws – we have you covered this month. Make sure to check out my fellow 11 bloggers’ recipes for fun and tasty holiday party treats:
- Vanilla Mixed Nuts with Cranberries from BetsyLife
- Peppermint Marshmallows from Home Cooking Memories
- Rum Spiced Walnuts from I Love My Disorganized Life
- White Chocolate Chip Cherry Shortbread Cookies from The Rebel Chick
- Easy Peppermint Bark from Million Moments
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge from A Night Owl
- Old Fashion Molasses Cookies from Bless This Mess
- Peppermint S’mores from Mom Endeavors
- Gingerbread Cupcakes from See Vanessa Craft
- Cranberry Orange Fudge from Around My Family Table
- Cinnamon Sugar Cheesecake Bombs from White Lights on Wednesday
Brown Sugar CaramelsPrint Pin Rate
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- Sea salt to top
- Lightly grease an 8x8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper (the baking spray helps keep the parchment in place). Set aside.
- In a large glass measuring cup, add the cream, butter and salt. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals until cream is hot and steamy and the butter is melted, stirring or swirling gently between microwave intervals. Set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot (I used my 3-quart dutch oven - you want a large pot for this as the mixture boils up quite a bit), add the sugars, corn syrup and water. Whisk until thick and grainy. Use a wet pastry brush to wipe down the inside of the pot. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pot, making sure the tip is submerged but not touching the bottom of the pot.
- Turn the heat to medium. Without stirring, heat to 260 degrees. Remove from heat, then slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Mixture will boil up.
- Return to heat and, again without stirring, heat to 250 degrees. Turn off heat, quickly but gently whisk in the vanilla, and carefully pour into the prepared pan. Do not scrape the bottom of the pot, as this will have burned sugar that you do not want in your caramels.
- Top caramels lightly with coarse sea salt and allow to cool completely, at least 2-3 hours or, preferably, overnight. Cut into squares or rectangles and wrap each piece in waxed paper.
Caramel is the best! I just busted my thermometer though 🙁 I better hurry and get a new one so that I can make these asap!
Oops! For what it’s worth, mine is getting pretty old so I think I may need a new one next year, too. Good thing they’re relatively inexpensive!
Does it mske a difference whether you use light or dark brown sugar?
I have actually used both and had them turn out great. Dark brown sugar will just result in a more molasses-y flavor.
I tried making caramels once. It wasn’t pretty. Let’s just say my candy thermometer is cheap and crappy. Yours look fabulous- I can taste the buttery goodness just by looking at them!
An accurate thermometer really does make all the difference!
These are so pretty! Fun to make as a gift… or to receive! 🙂
I’ve never attempted to make my own candy but these look so amazing. Toffee and caramel flavours are probably my favourite when it comes to chewy treats – these would be perfect for work gifts! Yum xx
Just set aside lots of time to individually wrap them…as I learned the hard way! Haha
These homemade caramels loo so good! I’ve never tried making them. Going to have to change that! 🙂
Oh, they’re easy! You got this 🙂
Wow! These little guys are soooooo perfectly shaped. I love caramels.
Anal retentive, party of one.
HOLY COWWWWW-I def. could never resist these caramels!
I saw carmull but when I read it in my head I say “car-a-mel”
Me too!! I thought I was the only weird one who did that.
I have a question in regards to the ingrediants in this recipe. Can you use Cinnamon Sugar instead of Brown Sugar? Thanks!
Hi Natalia – For this particular recipe, you do need to use brown sugar.
Is there anything I could use to substitute corn syrup in this recipe? My parents don’t buy corn syrup and I really wanted to make some of these for my younger siblings…
Hi there – Honestly, I don’t have a substitution for you. Corn syrup really does serve a purpose in candy making – I know some people have successfully subbed out corn syrup in candy recipes, but I’ve never had a chance to try it and couldn’t attest to how it would work for this recipe.
These caramels are exactly what I’ve been looking for! THANK YOU! I just can’t get enough of caramel sauces made with unrefined muscovado sugar and thats what I used in these and they turned out PERFECT! Slightly sweet with a rich brown sugar flavor and a touch of salt and smoke. YAY!! Now I just have to try to not eat them all before I give them away as Christmas gifts…..
You’re most welcome! And thank you for the lovely comment! Great to know that the unrefined muscovado sugar works well in this recipe.
I am in the waiting stage as I type this and man do they smell sooooo good! I have never made them with brown sugar but I was really short on white sugar to make them with just white sugar. I figured brown would work but finding your recipe is a life saver. Thanks!
This recipe is great but the temperatures did not work for what I wanted. I wanted to cut them into squares and wrap them in parchment as individual candies. At these temperatures the candy (although tasted awesome) was too soft to cut. I increased the first temp up to 320 degrees, then added the cream/butter mixture, then took it to 245 degrees and it was perfect to cut. Still chewy. I also did rum extract instead of vanilla for a little change. My husband and neighbors ask for this every year!
You don’t need a thermometer..Just use the cold water to drop small amt into and forms a solid ball..Never have used thermometer for anything in my life. Okay if you have one, but don’t delay making the caramels if you don’t. Love this recipe…HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!!
P.S. Use Stephie recipes a lot ! Always good..