HOMEMADE CARAMEL, my failproof recipe

10.14.09

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!
amazing homemade caramel candy

Once you go homemade, you never go back.

I love the process of making homemade caramel. Getting the caramel started, pulling out a bowlful along the way to use as homemade caramel dip, then dipping apples just a little bit further along the way. Then reaching the end, where it’s ready to be candy, real homemade caramel, the heavenly stuff. For a week after I’ve made caramel I melt one piece of caramel in each cup of hot cocoa I have. Try it. You’ll like it.

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Following is my fail proof recipe. Or at least it is really really nearly close to fail proof. I have failed at it many times in many different ways in order to bring it to you in this bulletproof form. I’ve also had some minor degree burns. So be careful when you make homemade candy. Respect the candy. (You’re welcome.)

Homemade Caramel (or caramel dip)
Yield: about 60 caramels
Prep and cook time: 1 hour (not including time to cut and wrap caramels, save extra time for that)

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup light corn syrup (11.5 oz)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (or substitute two cups half and half or light cream, I almost always use sweetened condensed milk b/c makes for shorter cooking time)
2 1/4 cup brown sugar (14.5 oz.), white sugar is also okay, but I prefer brown
1 tsp. vanilla
(Note: if you try any substitute ingredients, I’d love to hear how it goes! I’d love to accommodate readers with any dietary restrictions!)

Equipment:
candy thermometer
heavy, 3-qt. sauce pan, or 6-qt. if doubling the recipe, which I always do (having a heavy pan is important, if your pan is too thin it can heat the caramel unevenly and make it separate)
parchment paper (how I love parchment paper, i’ve never found anything that sticks to this stuff)
8×8 or 9×9 pan (or large jelly-roll cookie sheet if doubling recipe)
wax paper for wrapping caramels

Method:

  1. Every time before using a candy thermometer, clip a candy thermometer onto a pan full of cold water and bring it to a boil (make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan). I cheat on a lot of things, but I never cheat on this. Boiling water should read 212°. Once the water is boiling, make note of any difference in your reading, and adjust your reading accordingly when you make the candy (for example, if thermometer reads 210° in boiling water instead of 212°, then take caramel off at 242° instead of 244°). High-altitude note: If you live above 7k feet, see the high-alt info below.
  2. Line pan with parchment paper, even up the sides. Prepare any apples, pretzels, or other things you’ll be dipping. Chop any nuts or prepare any candy you’ll be sprinkling on top.
  3. Cut butter into smaller, even sized cubes for even melting. Melt over low in sauce pan.
  4. Carefully add sugar by pouring it into the center of the pan. If any sugar crystals stick to side of pan, push them down with a damp pastry brush so they do not crystallize the entire batch and make you want to cry. Stir slowly until well combined with melted butter.
  5. Add and mix in corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk (or cream).
  6. Cook and stir on medium for one minute, then to med.-high until boiling. You want to change temperatures slowly so you don’t shock the candy. Once boiling, clip on your candy thermometer (again, don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan). By the time your caramel is boiling, if you have been stirring well, you should have the butter fully blended into the caramel mixture, not separated.
  7. Reduce heat to about medium, adjusting so that you keep a moderate, steady boil. Stir frequently. I’m serious about the stirring. If you let your caramel go too long without stirring, you’ll end up with a separated, greasy batch of caramel. No good.
  8. Temperature does not raise at a steady rate, so watch thermometer closely. If you have any doubts about the accuracy of your thermometer, periodically do a test by dropping a little in cold water. When your thermometer reaches thread stage (230–233°), take out any caramel that you would like to use as dip. When thermometer reaches late soft ball stage (234–240°), dip in a few apples for caramel apples (UPDATE: Click here for  a great pro tip for perfect caramel apples.)
  9. When thermometer reaches 244°, remove caramel from heat (this is low firm ball stage; reaching this stage from boiling takes me about 30 minutes with sweetened condensed milk and longer with cream, though I have had a reader reach it in less time, so watch closely).
  10. Stir in vanilla. If dipping, start immediately. If making caramels, pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Either way, take care not to burn yourself, this stuff is so so hot.
  11. Allow to cool for several hours and use a butter knife or kitchen shears to cut pieces (UPDATE: a clever reader suggested a pizza cutter, another preferred preferred her trusty Santou knife, lightly buttered, thanks Susan!). Wrap in wax paper. Or to save on cutting time, just leave the whole batch out on the counter with a knife next to it and watch it gradually disappear.

And, for handy reference, here is the candy temperature list:

230–233° Thread
234–240° Soft ball
244–248° Firm ball
250–266° Hard ball

High altitude: I so appreciate this note from Debbie: If you live above, 7000 feet,  stop at 227 degrees! I used the NMSU E215 Guide, which I’ve found to be the best reference. I used the lowest temperature listed for chewy candies. It was the perfect temperature. I always select the lower end of the temperatures listed to take into account the extreme drying conditions of H.A!

candy thermometerchecking the thermometer temperature

dipping apple in caramelmmmm. apples and caramel means fall is here.

how to make a caramel candy apple with nutsrolled in pecans

homemade caramel

heaven in a wrapper

{ 334 comments… read them below or add one }

shanti October 14, 2009 at 10:01 am

yummy! i’m gonna be trying this one! maybe today. it’s a good day to make caramel. nice tip about the candy thermometer. i never thought about “synchronizing” it to make sure it’s accurate. DUH!

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Maureen October 14, 2009 at 11:29 am

Yummy! Im making them for sure..and Im glad it is fail proof, I need those kind of recipes especially candies, they never turn out for me..I wonder what a carmal dipped pear would taste like?? they had the cutest little pears at Sams club..I might have to try that and let you know!! Thanks for sharing!

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Carly October 14, 2009 at 11:43 am

Oooohh, you have found my secret weakness! (okay not so secret)

I will have to try this recipe. And buy larger pants.

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Michelle October 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

A bulletproof recipe worth of any superhero baker. : )
This looks great and I especially love that stir stick. Very clever idea and perfect for a cup of hot chocolate.

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Tami B. October 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Oh my word…your caramels are gorgeous! Love those stir sticks!

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Gooseberry Patch October 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Oh my…this dreamy caramel looks incredible.
We just had to tweet about it!

http://twitter.com/gooseberrypatch

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jen duncan October 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm

oh THANK YOU! Weight Watchers be damned; I need to make this! :-)

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Tania October 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm

bookmarking the recipe for both my caramel apple taste off and Valentine’s sweets! yum.

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Superkitina October 15, 2009 at 5:38 am

oooooooh, looks delicious

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Laura. October 16, 2009 at 6:33 am

agh! these look amazing, i am definitely going to try this recipe. oh, i love fall and the excuses to bake yummy things!

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christi October 18, 2009 at 8:57 pm

oh delicious! i might have to make some.

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chocolate shavings October 23, 2009 at 10:39 am

Those caramel sticks look SO GOOD! Care to send me a few ;) ?

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natalie October 23, 2009 at 11:36 am

oy yum!! looks like so much fun! love the stir sticks!!

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nkp October 24, 2009 at 7:50 am

I have a bazillion things on my to do list, and yet, I cannot stop reading your blog. So much inspiration and goodness. I’m brimming, NO, make that over flowing with ideas. Here’s another to add to that growing to do list. Sincerely, thank you.

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Memoria October 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for the tip on testing your candy thermometer. I have two, and I think one is way off.

Lovely photos!

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El October 25, 2009 at 5:14 am

I’m absolutely thrilled to have this recipe. I’ve tried many but some are just too greasy. Thanks for the inspiration and step by step guide!

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PatW October 25, 2009 at 7:20 am

Aha. I make cream pulled candy, which is pretty cranky stuff. I never thought about checking the thermometer. I’ll do it next time I make the stuff– I flopped two batches in a row, which had NEVER happened before, and it may have been a temperature issue. Thank you!

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Lenetta @ Nettacow October 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm

MMM! There is just something so *perfect* about homemade caramel. I linked to this on my weekly roundup – post is under my name. Thanks!!

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Nic November 6, 2009 at 3:04 am

Any suggestions about what to do if you cannot get light corn syrup?

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AmberLee November 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Hi Nic,
I’ve been searching around a bit to try to find an answer for you. It looks from here and here like golden syrup might be an acceptable substitute. This article and this answer also suggest substituting sugar syrup. I wish I had an obvious, already tested answer for you. If you do a little experimenting and have success, I’d love to hear about it.
-Amber

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annajulius July 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Liquid glucose! I sub it all the time coz where I live corn syrup is very expensive_

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Naptimewriting November 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I use maple syrup, grade B. Phenomenal flavor. Expensive but worth it. I use it in all corn syrup recipes. Tried it in this caramel recipe today. Awesome consistency and taste.

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AmberLee November 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm

wow, maple syrup! That sounds completely incredible. thanks for the tip. this will be a must try for me.

Sandy November 19, 2009 at 9:15 am

I know I’m getting to the party late, but I would love to try and make these caramels. How long should they last? Meaning, can I make them ahead of time for Christmas gifts or should I make them the day I want to give them out?

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AmberLee November 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Hi Sandy,
That’s a great question. Mine always stay good for a week or two before the texture starts to go. I’d say that if you wrap them tight and keep them in the fridge, they should do well for at least two weeks. I’ve looked online and saw here that you may be able to freeze them for up to a year. I’m curious to try this.

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JaNahn Barnhouse April 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

HAHAHAHA. I made caramels for Christmas and have had them in the fridge. I just ate some today and they are the same as at Christmas time…. Can’t tell the difference.

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Brittany September 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I have left my caramels out as long as 2 months and have had no trouble. Freezing is a great way to extend the life of your candy. I have frozen mine up to 6 months and you can’t tell the difference at all. I cook my caramel to 246 F and have hit 250 F (not on purpose), but they have all turned out well. I like to cook it to 246 F and just when it hits 247 F I take it off the heat. This has worked well for me.

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Lisa December 2, 2009 at 8:23 am

These look delicious…caramel is my favorite! I was wondering if the finished product is chewy or hard? I can’t wait to try them. Thanks!!

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AmberLee December 2, 2009 at 9:41 am

Hi Lisa,
These caramels are soft and chewy (yum). I stop cooking them at the “soft ball” stage on my candy thermometer. But I’m pretty sure they could be hard if you cooked them to the hard ball stage and just found a way to pour them into a mold? Good luck!

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Jay Selby November 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm

When I was a kid, my mother used to make hard crack caramel every Christmas. After cooling completely in a jelly roll pan (lining with parchment paper is a great idea), she used a hammer (I suggest a meat cleaver and wooden mallet) to score and break it into somewhat irregular squares, which we also wrap in waxed paper and pack in a decorative tin. Cooking the candy longer gives it even more flavor, and it can store for weeks in the refrigerator (as if it ever lasts that long). I’m going to try it with this recipe, since I have unfortunately lost track of grandma’s original recipe. Thanks for a wonderful sounding recipe and great tips! JS

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AmberLee November 11, 2011 at 7:21 am

Jay,
I love this idea. Anything that lets me use my kitchen mallet is worth a try in my book : ) I’d love to hear if this works for you, or if you do find a recipe that does the trick. Happy cooking!

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HisMrs December 8, 2009 at 12:15 am

I made this the other day and they are oh so yummy! Thank you! One part I had a bit of trouble with was cutting them and I found that a pizza cutter worked the best and thought I would pass this info along. I used one of the pro cutters that are just a bar you rock across but I think a regular one would be easier as well.

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AmberLee December 8, 2009 at 9:14 am

a pizza cutter is such a great idea! thanks for stopping by to share!

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KattFritz December 8, 2009 at 11:42 am

OMG!! They look so good! I’m going to use this reicpe in place of the store bought caramels I usually use in my Sweet Teeth! They are Marshmallows dipped in caramel , dipped in crushed pretzels then drizzled with chcolate! Yum! I can’t wait to see the difference homemade caramel makes! Thanks!

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Sarah December 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I have used this recipe twice now and I love it! The first time I made them, I used wax paper and it stuck horribly. I found parchment paper and that worked perfectly. I was wondering how you package them. I saw the picture…is that parchment paper? How do you get it to stay closed? Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

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SANDRA December 12, 2009 at 10:22 am

JUST FINISHED THE HOME MADE CARAMELS THEY ARE GREAT.
WAS MY FIRST TIME EVERY TO MAKE ANY TYPE OF CANDY, I’M
HOOKED. IT’S TRUELY FOOL PROOF. THANKS FOR THE RECIPE

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Beth December 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Has anyone had a problem with the butter separating while cooking? I added the 1/2 and 1/2, warmed, and whisked very well until all ingredients emulsified. As it cooked and thickened, the butter separated.

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Heather December 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I loved this post — I have made other homemade caramels before, but I found your recipe to be my favorite. So much quicker to use sweetened condensed milk! Awesome. Just wanted to chime in to say that freezing the caramels works GREAT. I froze some back in September (mixed my caramel with cashews that time.. DELISH!), and it’s still delightful (I know, I have scary willpower *shrug*). I love the way it shatters between my teeth when I bite into it. I love frozen things, and this caramel is no exception. :) Just my two cents!

Happy Baking! <3

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Lady Aime December 21, 2009 at 7:54 am

Awesome! I love to make caramels around christmas time with my mom and this year I have moved out and live on my own but still wanted to make some caramels.
I like that you gave temps. I always examine a few recipies, and yours is the one!

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becky December 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Beth, I have found you won’t have the problem with the butter and milk seperating if you use ‘liquid lecithin’ about 1/2 tsp for this recipe. you can get it at a GNC store or a specialty store. It is real cheap like 16oz for $5.00 and it last for years. I just keep it in the cabinet. Hope this helps you out, I use to have the same problem.

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Pam December 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Thanks for the recipe I am making some homemade Pecan turtles for a Chritmas celebration and the caramel is just perfect! I had to dip some apples in for caramel apples rolled in pecans since your picture looked so delicious. I drizzled caramel on some pecans and they are chilling, later I will drizzle some chocolate on top. We’ll see. Got to save this recipe for fall

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Anna December 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I made caramel for the first time this year and it never set up to the consistency that I was looking for. It stayed very soft and was difficult to wrap. I put it in the fridge and it set up but only until it became room temp. again. Any suggestions? My temps were right on and I used sweetened condensed milk.

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AmberLee January 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Hi Anna,
darn.
I’m so sad to hear this didn’t get quite hard enough. I’m not sure why, but I assume a little extra heat will do the trick. Have you ever tried the cold water test when making candy? Next time, when you’ve reached the firm ball stage, you can take the pan off the heat and scoop up a spoonful of hot caramel and drop it into cold water. When it cools, it should make a pliable ball but should hold its shape. If it’s too thin, it’s okay to just put the pot of caramel right back on the heat, let it heat up another couple degrees, then test again. If you have luck or figure out a different trick, I’d love to know. Good luck!
Amber

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AnnaLee February 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

This recipe was excellent! It was so much easier than I thought it would be and very tasty! Thank you!

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Bonnie Ellsworth February 9, 2010 at 7:07 am

I love homemade caramels!
I have a question about the sweetened condensed milk–it’s sugar content is high–wouldn’t that change the taste/sweetness level of the caramels? Ever substitute evaporated milk for the cream or half and half? Thanks!

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AmberLee February 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Hi Bonnie,
What a great point. I can’t believe I’d never computed this in my brain before. I’ve never tried evaporated milk or half and half, but now I’m totally curious. I think it just might work. If you try it, tell me. I think I might play around with it the next time I make it.

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Cristina February 22, 2013 at 7:15 am

AmberLee and Bonnie

I tried using half and half in place of the sweetened milk and it was amazing! I like the creamy flavor of caramel so this was a really great plan. I used your recipe as a dip coating on Taffy Apple Cakepops as I forgot to buy caramel soooo I just thought to whip some up myself. I am so glad I did.
Thank you AmberLeee for sharing.
Cristina

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AmberLee February 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm

hanks for your note Cristina!! This is so helpful and I so appreciate you coming by to let me know!

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Raz February 18, 2010 at 8:23 am

Just wanted to say thanks! These came out beautifully. I rolled them in sea salt before wrapping them in strips of waxed paper.

I even botched the recipe a little (used less corn syrup because I ran out, forgot vanilla) and they still came out delicious with a great texture.

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Sherry March 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I was thinking about caramels today…because i randomly think to sweets throughout the day . I was think how it would be great to put some on pancakes or in pancakes. yum thanks

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Melanie March 30, 2010 at 11:05 am

Great website! Those candies look so appetizing, I’m going to try this recipe tonight! Wish me luck!

Melanie

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danny2113 June 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

just made a batch. waiting on it to cool

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Vanderbilt Wife July 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

Mmmm. I used a similar recipe to make homemade caramel apples for my daughter’s first birthday party last year and everyone RAVED at how much better they were than those with storebought caramels. I wish I had used the extra caramel to make candies like this!

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Chris July 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Would have been great, had I not melted a spatula in it, ruining the batch. How does the pan get cleaned?

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AmberLee July 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Ah! Chris, I am so sorry. I might have to add a note about this. I usually boil water in the pan to clean it. Though I’ve never had to clean out melted spatula. I am so sorry. I have melted pacifiers in a pan before, and that was a disaster.

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Kathryn August 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Oh my goodness! These caramels are heavenly! Thank you so much for sharing. They were so good my daughter actually stopped talking just to enjoy the flavor! Thanks!

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AmberLee August 20, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Kathryn!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop and tell me! I’m so happy they turned out. And truly, silence is a mark of well-made caramels.

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susan September 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

I made your caramels for the second time – and they were terrific. The first time I forgot the vanilla, but they were amazingly good without it. This recipe truly is caramel perfection and not too hard on the dental work! For my next batch, I plan to experiment with other extracts – maybe raspberry or rum. I’d also like to try a chocolate version, and wonder if anyone else has had success with that.
thanks again for a a consistently good recipe.

“Santou” Susan

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Amanda October 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Made these today. HOLY SMOKES!! Fantastic!! Thanks for sharing! This is what I’ll be giving my kids’ teachers for Xmas!

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Michelle October 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Perfect! Just as it was!!! My two year old and I made this (well, I did and she “helped”) this morning for Halloween treats and it turned out amazing!!! It will be posted on my blog tomorrow.

Thank you SO much for sharing!!!!!!! I will forever keep this in my “good book” of recipes! You will be remembered in my family for generations AmberLee :)

Michelle

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admin October 31, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Michelle! I’m so glad they turned out. Hooray! Thanks for stopping by to tell me. And I feel incredibly cool to make it into the “good book.” Thanks, and Happy Halloween!

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C November 1, 2010 at 1:42 am

I just finished making your caramel for caramel apples. Wow!! there is nothing like
homemade caramel. My first time ever, and it came out perfect.

Thanks for sharing,

C

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admin November 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

C,
I’m so happy to hear it turned out! It was so good of you to make the time to come back and let me know.

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PaperDollyGirl November 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I love making homemade caramel and will definitely try your recipe! How long do caramel apples generally keep for?

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AmberLee November 15, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Hi PaperDollyGirl!
Sorry to take a while to get back to you! I’ve found, with caramel apples, I’m usually safe planning on them keeping for a week, even if they are out at room temperature but especially if you put them in the fridge, then you’re definitely good for a week.

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Katie November 11, 2010 at 2:21 am

I have to make these this year!

Found you via Sew Mama Sew

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Colleen November 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

New to your blog – through sew mama sew – thanks for the caramel tutorial – I am making this for my son for Chrismtas!

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DadOfSeven November 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm

i have made this recipe several times and always works perfect for me, i did try a batch with Splenda and it worked but the taste was really off, any other ideas for sugar substitues, my oldest two daughters are diabetic.

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Shanna December 3, 2011 at 8:58 am

I was wondering if the Aguava syrup that has just recently come out would work for it.

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AmberLee December 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hi Shanna,
I have never tried Agave with this recipe, after reading this article from a favorite chef, I’m curious to see if it would work to substitute Agave plus a dash of cream of tarter. If you try, I’d love to hear if it works!

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Blanca Torres December 1, 2010 at 1:05 am

Just made these to give as presents… our little apartment was filled with the most amazing aroma, and my boyfriend licked that wooden spoon clean. Thanks so much!

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BeckyS December 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

DadOfSeven,

Go to http://www.JustLikeSugarInc.com. This a product that I’ve had good success with, but have not made candy. The website could probably help you w/that info.

It is expensive (I’ve heard buying in bulk is cheaper), but could be worth it for your family.

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Linda December 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm

AmberLee,

I made, tried to make caramels last night. They didn’t set. Can I reheat and try to get them hotter? Ever tried this? I put pecans and melted milk chocolate on top of them, so that would end up being mixed in. Wacha think? I might just go ahead since they aren’t any good the way they are.

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AmberLee December 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Hi Linda,
I’m glad you got it to work out! I have reheated caramel before and gotten it hotter, but not w any chocolate in it. You might be on to something though!

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Linda December 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Ok cooked them longer and used a different thermometer. The chocolate and pecans mixed right in. Wow this is good! :)

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Linda December 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm

AmberLee,

My husband can’t stop eating them. LOL They really turned out good! I did add another can of sweet cond. milk and about 1/2c brown sugar. The chocolate was a bag and a half of Milk Chocolate chips and pecans from my trees out back. My son says I need to individually wrap and sell them at our town’s little Saturday Market. I might have to do that, I may way to much. Thanks for your quick replies!! :) Happy creating!

Linda

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Sherry December 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I like the fact that you gave us options for the different stages: caramel sauce vs candy. I was wondering if it was only a difference in cooking temp and you answered that question.

Also, for some of the people that are having bad luck, I wonder if altitude could be the determining factor. Here is a quote from the article about the cold water test that you reference above:

“Note: The temperatures specified here are for sea level. At higher altitudes, subtract 1° F from every listed temperature for each 500 feet above sea level.”

I do think that humidity plays a big factor in the success of candy making too.

Just a thought.

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KenR December 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

I tried a recipe for chocolate dipped peanut butter balls. I guess I did something wrong. The mixture did not thicken enough to form into balls. Is there anything you can do to thicken it up and save it? It’s mostly evap. milk, sugar, butter, P-nut butter and marshmallows.Know any tricks ?

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Cooking on a Dime December 12, 2010 at 6:09 am

Just set these out to cool. *fingers crossed* thanks for such clear directions! This is the first time I have ever tried to cook caramel.

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MonteCello December 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I just poured the fragrant molten goodness into a pan lined with parchment paper. I am waiting for the caramel to firm up. The recipe was very simple to follow..and the thermometer tip was great. I found out that mine was of by 5 degree’s.

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Kathleen December 13, 2010 at 2:49 am

These turned out great. The caramel is so good my college age children never want store bought again. It was wonderful making these with my teenage daughter.

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Tiffanie December 13, 2010 at 6:56 am

I just made these caramels and am impatiently waiting for them to set. So far so good! Do you know if these candies should be stored in room temperature? If so, for how long will they last? Thanks!

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AmberLee December 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Hi Tiffanie!

Yea. I hope they are delicious. Yes. You can store these at room temp and they’ll last about a week, or you can even freeze them and they’ll last for months.

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Chris December 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm

These were a big hit with my family and for our office holiday treat exchange! They turned out perfect.

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Craigthecandyman December 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm

made some yesterday.. turned out pretty well and flavorwise, they are excellent however, they were a little bit oily even though I stirred it constantly. Any suggestions? I did use walmart brand butter and corn syrup, maybe I should try using ‘the good stuff’ …. ??

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AmberLee December 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Hi Craig,
I’ve had this happen and it can be so frustrating. I think the main thing I do to try to avoid the grease is to make sure temerature changes happen slowly, other than stirring a bunch, which you said you did (I always know it will turn out if everything is totally combined by the time it boils).

I hope this is helpful. If you come up with any other tricks, I’d love to hear.

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cheri December 15, 2010 at 12:04 am

just made a batch and they are a little too sticky/chewy just a bit more chewy than say milk duds. should i lengthen cooking time or shorten? thanks

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AmberLee December 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

Hi Cheri,
It sounds like your caramel needs to get just a little hotter. You could either start from scratch or reheat the caramel you’ve already made, this time letting it get a few degrees hotter than last time. I hope you’re able to make it work!

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mamie December 15, 2010 at 1:37 am

Wonderful, easy recipe. I never tried caramel before and they are great. I made it first with cream and second with sweetened cond. milk. Both were equally good, but cond. milk was a lot faster. Thanks.

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AmberLee December 15, 2010 at 3:38 am

Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know, mamie! I’m glad to hear they turned out, and it’s super helpful to know you liked them both ways.
Happy Holidays!
Amber

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julie green December 16, 2010 at 1:15 am

having never tried making caramel before, i’m afraid that this first perfect experience (thanks for that!) may indeed have spoiled me forever. my two additional tips: its easiest if you make your caramel on one of your front burners. afraid that my two small kids would somehow get burned if i did so made me put mine on the back burner, but stirring and watching the temp were harder that way. also, you don’t really emphasize until the end of step 6 that frequent (or constant) stirring is essential. if i hadn’t read the directions ahead i don’t think i would have stirred so much in the first stages, when it was actually kinda difficult to mix in all the melted butter without stirring continually and a bit vigorously.

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AmberLee December 16, 2010 at 7:03 am

thanks, Julie! It was so good of you to stop back and let me know how it went. I will have to change the stirring thing. Great point.
happy holidays!

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Mary December 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm

These are truly the best carmels ever and so easy to make. I got this recipe 30 years ago and make it every year at Chritmas. They are always the one requested food item every year. I don’t take the time to wrap them individually (unless I am giving some away as a gift) I just keep them covered with plastic and we just cut and eat them all up.

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Jenna December 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

SO GOOD way easier then an older family recipe I have, but note that if you live at a higher altitude then dont heat over 220 -230 degrees, it will burn! Thanks!

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AmberLee December 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Thank you, Jenna! I will have to add this to the instructions. That would be super frustrating.

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Alice December 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I am so glad that I read your site before making my caramels. I bought a new candy thermometer to make the caramels and would never have thought to check the accuracy before using it. Well it was off 13 degrees and my caramels would never have set up had I not checked it. The caramels turned out perfect. Thanks for the recipe and the info on checking the accuracy of a thermometer!

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Dawn Warrick December 28, 2010 at 3:34 am

A friend used to make me homemade caramels at christmas. I decided to try to make them myself, found this recipe and tried it, LOVE THEM, Thanks so much:)

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AmberLee December 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Thanks for coming by to let me know, Dawn! I’m so happy they worked out.

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Sue December 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I had never made any kind of candy before but I knew I wanted to try. I’m so glad I picked your recipe. They turned out GREAT!! I made a double batch and gave little boxes of them out for Christmas. Everyone loves them. My best friend begged for the recipe (I gave her the link to giverslog) Both of my son-in-laws have asked for more. My boyfriend just came back from the store with the ingredients for more…hmmm :)
These caramels will be a Christmas staple from now on.

THANKS!!

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AmberLee December 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Sue! I’m so totally flattered that you liked them so much, and your family too. Thanks for taking a moment to come let me know. Merry Christmas!

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Mona December 30, 2010 at 5:54 am

I have been looking for an easy caramel recipe and found your site. Made your recipe tonight and thought I should let you know that they turned out perfectly. My batch did not take the full thirty minutes( you said this could happen), and I used the “drop ball into cold water” test as I was not sure of my thermometer. Overall, it was super easy. The hardest part is wrapping them in wax paper. And not eating them all tonight.
:-)Thanks for taking the time to put this recipe out there. My search is over. Will make them again!

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AmberLee January 3, 2011 at 5:39 am

Thanks, Mona! It was so good of you to stop back and also to include details. I’m so happy they turned out!

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swooshie January 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm

HELP: I need a tip for caramels. I make great caramels like these in many different flavors and some stores want tot sell them. But they don’t last long. after a week or so they turn fudgey, and crystallize. what am I doing wrong? is there a cooking tip ir is there an additive I need to add.? Please help.HELP…..

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Ashley January 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm

This is such an amazing caramel recipe! Thank you! Would it work to put the caramel sauce in little jars to give out as gifts? And if so, would the jars just need to be reheated prior to serving (on icecream, etc)? And would they need to be refrigerated? Thanks for your help!

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AmberLee January 13, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hi Ashley!
I’m so glad you like the recipe. And yes. This caramel is perfect as a sauce, I’m so glad you asked :) and no need to reheat it. I gave it as a gift to my neighbor and posted about it here. Just take the caramel off the heat at the thread stage. It is amazing. And if you want to save some for a few months down the road, it freezes super well.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

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Ashley January 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Thank you so much! I can’t wait to make the caramel sauce! My co-workers will be very happy with their Valentines Day gift this year! :)

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Ashley January 17, 2011 at 9:19 pm

And…success! FINALLY got some feet on these suckers. Cheers :D

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CIndy January 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I made the caramels but didnt cook them long enough, put them in the fridge in hopes they would set that way with no luck. Can I put them back in the saucepan and try to reheat tehm again to harden?

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AmberLee February 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hi Cindy!
I’m so sorry they didn’t turn out. It so frustrating. But yes! You should be able to put these right back in and reheat until they’re at the right temperature. If you get a sec, I’d love to hear how it goes!

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Kirsten February 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Thank you for this recipe. I was afraid to make them, but your instructions gave me the courage to try. I made some at Christmastime, and they were the hit of the party.

In fact, my college-aged son loved them so much that I feel compelled to make some more to ship to him for Valentines Day. :-)

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AmberLee February 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Hi Kirseten,
Hooray! I’m so happy they turned out! Thanks for taking a moment to come back and let me know. And you have one lucky son to have his mama sending him goodies. Care packages are the best thing in the world.
xo,
AmberLee

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Big J February 8, 2011 at 7:00 am

None of this woulda, coulda, shoulda. I used your recipe and made these caramels tonight. They are fantastic!…and I’m a dad! I did not have a candy thermometer, but they came out gooey and delicious. I had to rely on the cooking times stated in the recipe. I was afraid of burning the batch or overcooking it, so I lowered the heat the last half hour to low. And, I stirred and stirred and stired the entire time. I dropped dollops off my spoon in cold water every few minutes so I would not end up with caramels too soft to cut or too hard to eat. I can’t believe how great these turned out. Thanks for sharing the recipe and tips! These caramels are perfect, truly!

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AmberLee February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Hi Big J!
Thanks for taking a moment to come back and comment! And I love that you added ‘i’m a dad’. Congrats on the caramels! and thanks for the kind words!
bst,
AmberLee

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Melissa February 16, 2011 at 1:20 am

I just made these yesterday, and they are fantastic! I haven’t made the hot white chocolate on a stick yet, but that is next on my list :)

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Heather February 18, 2011 at 4:50 am

Hi Amber,

I just wanted to say thanks for the amazing caramel recipe! I’ve used your recipe three times and each time it’s turned out wonderfully.

I also wanted to share that I used your caramel recipe in some homemade heart-shaped scotchmallow candies I made this Valentine’s Day.

I would love for you to take a peek at them if you have the chance!

http://www.pixiecrust.blogspot.com

:) Heather

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Kate March 17, 2011 at 7:33 am

Is there any soy substitute you would be able to use in this recipe for the evaporated milk?

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Kate March 17, 2011 at 7:33 am

I meant condensed. sorry, I really want to find a non dairy caramel recipe to make for my family :)

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Sarmin March 20, 2011 at 6:12 am

Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I used half and half instead of condensed milk and it turned out great. I actually took it in to my husbands friends work and everyone raved about how wonderful it tasted. I have made this a few times already and will be making it for 250 People for my brothers upcoming wedding favors. I bought wedding favor boxes and will be stuffing them with wrapped caramel squares. Any suggestion on how early I can start making the caramel without losing any of it’s flavor? Thanks again for your yummy recipe!

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AmberLee March 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Hi Sarmin,
Thanks for taking a second to come back and write. Yea, I’m so happy you loved them. And you can make these months in advance, just cut them, wrap them, and then freeze them. I’ve had success tripling the recipe too, just make sure you pan has enough room where it won’t boil over. Good luck! And way to be an awesome sister, btw.

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Jenny March 30, 2011 at 9:06 am

I just made these, and they are fan-tas-tic! I added 2 teaspoons of fleur de sel to the melted butter to make them salted caramels. I live at 5900 feet, so taking them off at 232° was just right.

Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

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emily April 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I LOVE caramels. Always been my favorite! My husband found your site and made these for my birthday and then made batches of batches at Christmas to give as gifts! I tried to make them tonight for an upcoming birthday party (3 weeks away) and I think took them off a bit too soon. I turned off the heat at 244, but maybe needed a bit longer so the final product would be harder (really soft now). Once you have them in the pan and cooling – there’s really no way to go back and redo them, is there? Will try to cut – wrap – put in zip lock and freeze until the first weekend in May. Will also try doing another double batch in the morning and leave them on to the 250 range. THANKS SO MUCH!

OH … I read a year or so ago that you could put an entire can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan of boiling water and after “x” minutes it will have turned in to caramel. IT’S TRUE! Open the can and you can pour it. Just thought I would share that nugget of info!

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AmberLee April 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Hi Emily,

Thanks for the note! I actually have been able to scoop all the caramel back into a pot and reheat it. It’s a little trouble, but less work than starting over. Hopefully if you get to the 250 range you’ll find a temperature that is just right for you. I had to use the temperature I listed, because I had it way too soft/hard when I tried other temperatures. I’m curious if the climate makes any difference for the temperature you would use? Hmmmm.

btw, I am totally trying the sweetened condensed milk trick now! I think I could handle that!

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Cory Gagliardi May 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Should I use Light Brown Sugar or Dark Brown Sugar for this recipe?

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AmberLee May 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Hi Cory,
Thanks for the great question. I usually use light brown sugar, but dark brown should work fine if that’s what you have on hand.

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Amber June 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Hi AmberLee,

I love salted caramels. Do you have a suggestion as to how much salt and when in the cooking process would be best to add it?

I also tried a chipotle chili caramel at a local cafe recently and wanted to try and make some myself. Same question as above for a good chili powder??

Thanks!

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AmberLee June 13, 2011 at 5:44 am

Hi Amber,
Thanks for the note! When I add salt, I just shave a little sea salt on top. I like to add it soon before eating it, because otherwise it can kind of dissolve into the caramel, and it’s nice to get that punch of salt right at the beginning. I would do the same with the chipotle (which is a great chili to use, it’s smoked dried jalapeno), just add a good solid pinch on top of each caramel. I’d love to hear if they turn out and if you decide on anything different. Good luck!!

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Amber June 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Thanks so much!!!

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Samantha July 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Caramels are my absolute favorite and this is the best recipe I’ve ever tried-and I’ve tried a lot! I am wondering if this could be used as an icing on like a butter cake? What temperature would you think you’d stop cooking?

Delish!
Samantha

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AmberLee August 2, 2011 at 6:50 am

Samantha,
Thanks for your sweet words! I’m so happy you liked the caramel. Yummm, i love your idea of trying this on a butter cake. I would try taking it caramel off at the thread stage (230–233°). If you try, I’d love to hear how it works! Good luck!!

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sweet sarah August 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Hey amber,
I was lookin at your recipe and it looks great, but I had a question is it possible to make them without the cornsyrup and still have them turn out just as delicious?

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AmberLee August 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm

hi sweet sarah!
i haven’t given this recipe a try yet without cornsyrup, but I would love to find an alternative. if you discover something, I would LOVE to hear.
thanks for the note!

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Beckab September 6, 2011 at 4:39 am

Hi! I have been looking for a good caramel recipe to put ontop of my oatmeal cookies. Do you know if the caramel apple stage would work best for that or the soft ball stage?

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AmberLee September 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi Beckab,
Caramel on top of oatmeal cookies!? Waha! What a great idea. And yes, I would say the caramel apples stage should work perfectly.

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Ericka September 6, 2011 at 7:22 am

This recipe is on our “list” for fall baking, and I’m super excited to make it! We made it last year and feasted on apples in caramel dip :) We’re going to attempt the rolled caramels this year!

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AmberLee September 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Thanks for taking a moment to stop by and let me know, Ericka! and you’ve got to try freezing a few. i LOVE taking a thin rolled caramel out of the freezer, snapping off a bite, and letting it melt in my mouth. they last for months and months in the freezer, which I know because I just had one today that I made before Easter. Happy cooking!

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Slee September 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

waiting for it to cool now!
i think i borked it though, rereading while it is cooling, i realized my dyslexia kicked in and i misread a couple amounts, so we’ll see how close an approximation to yummy it is. *fingers crossed* (at least i know what i did wrong in case it isn’t quite right, right?)

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Rhonda September 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I have been making carmels with the same recipe as you use here, and just made a batch. I found you because I was looking for an answer to my problem. I am having trouble with the mixture beginning to scortch just as it is about to be the right temp. Then I get these brown pieces coming up. I have tried taking them off sooner, but of course they don’t set up right then. Could it be the pan I am using??? What?? I love to make them and its disheartening when you are almost there and then…. Thanks for any suggestions. What a lovely site!!

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AmberLee October 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Hi Rhonda,

That really is disheartening! I do think your pan could be the problem, which is too bad because it is not a quick fix. If you can manage a thicker pan, I know the LODGE brand sells some well-reviewed and affordable dutch ovens, I think you’ll be much happier with the result. I know making mine in my dutch oven makes me enjoy the process so much more than I used to. Good luck!!

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Jill December 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

I was just reviewing the comments wondering what the brown specks were about in my caramel recipe…will they still taste ok or is the batch ruined? I have made another recipe in a copper bottom pot and never had any troubles before. I am so bummed. So is that problem all about the pan? I do have a Dutch oven never thought to use that before though…

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Mandie M October 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm

All I can say is WOW!!! First time I have every made caramel before and it turned out better than I thought it would. I have a tendency to not read all the directions so things don’t always turn out. The directions were easy to follow and man oh man it was awesome. I’m going to make them for Halloween for the kids. Also very, very good with almonds. This is a recipe I am defiantly keeping.

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AmberLee October 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Mandie! I am a huge almond fan and have never ever thought of putting almonds in my caramel. what is wrong with me? i don’t know. but I plan to fix this next time.

I’m so happy your caramel turned out, and thanks for stopping by to let me know!

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Mandie M May 31, 2012 at 12:40 am

Hi Amberlee,
I live in High altitude and I tweaked the recipe a little. I used salted butter and 2 1/2 cups brown sugar then cooked to 240 degrees. Once it cooled they are soft and chewy and I will defiantly use sc milk from know on. I was using cream but when I was at the store I forgot what type of cream to used so I got sc milk and it was my best batch yet, I couldn’t believe what a difference it made. It was so much sweeter and creamier, it just melts in your mouth good. I can not believe how east it is to make.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Do you have any other recipes I can try?
Mandie M

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Amanda Reed October 12, 2011 at 9:38 am

I made these and they are delicious. Can someone please tell me though why mine turned hard once cooled.

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AmberLee October 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

Hi Amanda,
If your caramels came out hard (and I’m so sorry to hear they did!!), you probably didn’t take them off the heat at low enough a temperature. If you used a candy thermometer, make sure to check it first with the water boiling test, it can really make a difference.

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Jennifer October 13, 2011 at 5:13 am

Hi Amber!
I was doing some research for our company yesterday on caramel making and found your recipe! We have had customers inquire about making caramel in our Automated stir pan. I needed to try it to see if it worked…and it did! I used your recipe, along with our stir cooking pan…I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I used the “water” test for achieving the proper stage. (Not the best way, but it worked!) Needless to say, they turned out AWESOME! I even roasted pecans in our stir-pan before I made the caramel and added one on top of each caramel and then dipped them in chocolate…then I did as others suggested and sprinkled sea salt on top! They were delish! Thanks for your great instructions and pictures!

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AmberLee October 13, 2011 at 6:56 am

Jennifer,
Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and drop me a note! I’m so thrilled the recipe worked for you, yipee! The stir cooking pan sounds like a fab idea, I’m off right now to check it out.

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Emily October 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm

HI I just wanted to know what to use to stir since I read one person melted a spatula. I saw someone used a wooden spoon. Is that safe?
Emily

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AmberLee October 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Hi Emily!

Great question. Yes. a wooden spoon should work perfectly. The caramel definitely gets super hot, so most spatulas can’t take it.

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Kathleen October 19, 2011 at 10:25 am

My daughter would like to dip caramel apples as a craft for her birthday party. Is it possible to make the caramel a day in advance, and then remelt it for dipping during the party? Could I be really lazy and just leave it in the pot until the next day? Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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AmberLee October 24, 2011 at 8:50 am

Kathleen, this is a great question! I’d never actually thought of this. In my brain I imagine it would work, from what I know about the caramel. But I can’t promise you (if you try, I’d love to hear.) One other option is to just leave it cool and let them cut a little off, roll it out, and wrap the apple. Whatever you decide, it sounds like so much fun. Good luck!

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Kathleen November 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

The remelting and dipping expirement went pretty well (although I didn’t leave it in the pot). I cut cooled carmel into slices and remelted in a double boiler. This worked for a while really well, until the carmel got too hot — I wasn’t watching the temp. The apples dipped toward the end were a bit too hard to bite through. The earlier apples and the carmel that I didn’t remelt were to die for, however. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe.

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AmberLee November 22, 2011 at 7:31 am

Kathleen,
I have been thinking of you and wondering how this went! It was so great of you to come back and let me know. I would have never guessed the caramel could get that hot with you taking care to heat it in a double boiler! But these details are so helpful to know because I would really love to give this a try. It’s such a fun idea.

Thanks again, and warm holiday wishes!!
xo

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Mellissa Spitzer October 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Thanks a bunch for posting this recipe I put chocolate and sea salt on top of the caramel. I let the caramel cool first before placing melted chocolate on top of it…mmmm is it good!

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AmberLee October 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

thanks so much for taking a moment to come drop me a note, Mellissa. And I’m pretty sure that is the best possible thing to do with caramel ever. I feel a craving coming on!

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Ed October 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm

just made these caramels they turned out great and the pizza cutter worked really well to cut them also.

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AmberLee October 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Thanks so much for taking a moment to stop back, Ed! I’m so happy they turned out!

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Melanie October 31, 2011 at 11:09 am

I have used this recipe for years and it is the BEST! I was looking for the temp for dipping sauce – Thanks!. Yes, you can re-melt the caramel care just needs to be used so it doesn’t get to the boiling stage again making the caramel too sticky to chew. I thought I was the only one who left it on the counter with a knife!

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AmberLee October 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thank you for the help Melanie! That is so appreciated! Now I will have to try.

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bassetbabe October 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Made it tonight for Halloween! The best! Will use this as my go to caramel. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm!

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AmberLee November 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

Thanks bassetbabe!! I’m so happy it worked out. Thanks for taking a moment to come back and share!

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cndelu November 12, 2011 at 8:36 am

AmberLee,
I was wondering how to incorporate your caramel with dipping into different chocolates or adding nuts. Would I add the nuts when still warm or add them when I am about to pour it into a pan? As as for adding salt if I am giving the caramels as a gift, do I put the salt on top of the caramel when it is cooled and before I dip them into chocolate of after. Sorry I have so many questions but I read all of the above and could not find an answer. Thanks for taking the time of sharing your recipie.

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AmberLee November 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm

hi Cndelu,
I am speaking from my own preference and experience, but in order to add nuts, I would pour and then add them, or add them just before pouring. And for salt, i would dip in chocolate first, then add the salt. Or if you’re going for just caramel with salt, I add the salt just before I gift them. Good luck! It sounds like you have some yummy things planned.

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mustelid November 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hi AmberLee. Thanks for this recipe! I just made a batch and am letting them set up, but I am afraid they are going to end up harder than I expected/wanted them to. I cooked them to 244, per the instructions. However, I read later in the comments that you cook them to soft ball stage for soft, chewy caramels — that’s what I was looking for. Was there a mistake in the original recipe? Thanks!

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AmberLee November 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Hi Mustelid,
Thanks for your note, but I am SO sorry these are ending up too firm. That is always so dissapointing. I just ran in my kitchen to double check my original recipe in my binder, and I do take them off at 244. Were you able to check your thermometer in boiling water before starting? I find my thermometer is almost always a few degrees off. If so, and you are able to find a temperature you like in the soft ball stage, I’d love to hear what ends up working for you. But again, I’m so sorry this batch didn’t work out : (

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mustelid December 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for your reply! I did check my thermometer in boiling water before I started, and it indeed was a little bit off, but since I compensated for that I took it to 244 exactly. I’m not minding the Werther’s-esque candies I ended up with, but I guess next time I’ll experiment going a few degrees lower.

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Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:10 am

I had the same problem when I made them last night. I tested the thermometer in advance, used my good, heavy pan, and they turned out like Werther’s. Still edible and I think next time I’ll take them off a bit sooner.

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Emily A November 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Hi, I just tried this yesterday, but I didn’t have the best of luck. It tastes quite good, but it has a grainy texture… I did everything pretty much exactly as the recipe says, except for using evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed. It’s not that the sugar didn’t melt, but like the milk clumped up…so maybe evaporated isn’t the way to go? Anyone know what happened?

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libby November 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

WOW! I wasn’t so sure this would be as easy as you said but, yes, success on the first try! Thanks for the awesome recipe! I’ve always wanted to make homemade caramels but have always been too afraid – not anymore!

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AmberLee November 22, 2011 at 7:29 am

Libby! I am so happy your caramels turned out! Congrats on conquering homemade caramels : ) Thank you so much for taking the time to come by and let me know!
xo

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tara November 25, 2011 at 10:43 am

hey, wanted to try this recipe to hand out with my christmas baking. followed it to a T but its rock hard! should i try cooking it to a lower temp? any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

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AmberLee November 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

Hi Tara,
I am SO sorry your caramels turned out hard. i hate that, so dissapointing when you’re ready to dig in! Yes, first make sure you test your thermometer in boiling water before you begin each batch. But you could try cooking to the soft ball stage instead of firm ball. You can always put the caramel back on and heat it more if you decide it’s too soft!
good luck!! I’d love to hear if you are able to make it work!

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Denise February 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

Hi there thanks for the solution my caramel is too soft so I’m going to try cooking it again… I’ll let you know if it works

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AmberLee February 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Hi Denise, I’m so bummed to hear your caramel turned out too soft! Yes, I would love to hear if you’re able to save it! I am crossing my fingers for you!

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Amy November 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I want to add chopped pecans to my carmel. When do I add them?

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AmberLee November 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

Hi Amy!
Thanks for your note! I would add the pecans at the very end, after you’ve pulled the caramel off the heat and before you pour. Or sprinkle them on top!

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CaseyS November 29, 2011 at 5:58 am

I was wondering if anyone has ever tried to make caramel corn with this. I have made the caramel a few times before and its always a big hit. It’s a great recipe thanks for sharing.

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Marine Supporter December 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

Hi Amber Lee,
I LOVE homemade caramels but never knew these were so easy to make. I found your recipe while searching for a homemade caramel recipe to make homemade turtles for the Marines I support deployed in Afghanistan. The first batch I made last weekend I wasn’t watching the thermometer closely enough at the end and took it off the heat too late (nearly 248). The caramel was still soft and delicious, but not chewy as I like it. I still sent them overseas and the Marines loved them. So I decided to try another batch this past weekend. This time I took them off the heat at 242, just a hair shy of your 244. These turned out absolutely perfect. I doubled the batch and ended up with 90 pecan turtles and poured the rest into a lined jelly roll pan, which yielded 75 wrapped caramel sticks. These are going in the mail tomorrow and I KNOW they will make these American Heroes very happy at Christmas time. Thank you for helping me make this Christmas very special for these very deserving Marines as they spend another Christmas away from home!!

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AmberLee December 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Sharon, you are not messing around about the caramel! This is super helpful to hear that it worked for you to take the caramels off at 242. Thanks for taking the time to come back and share.
And a giant THANK YOU for doing something so wonderful for our marines. It warms me up just thinking about them upackaging a homemade treat for the holidays.
xo

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Todd C December 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I’m making turtles for my clients for Christmas gifts. Can I simply add pecans when the mixture reaches the soft ball stage then proceed as I normally do (drop on a plastic wrapped cookie sheet, freeze, then drop in melted almond bark)? Thanks for your help! You’re going to save me a mint in buying all those wrapped caramels, of which is followed by bribing our sons to unwrap them and put in the bowl to be melted!

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AmberLee December 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Hi Todd,
you have some lucky clients. i definitely think this recipe should work the same way, add the pecans and cook as usual. but I’d love to hear if it works out right!

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Julie December 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Just starting to food blog and ran across this gem of a site! Tried the caramel, it was Heaven and super easy! I topped mine with a bit of smoked sea salt and sparse chocolate flakes, it was beautiful!

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AmberLee December 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Julie, your caramel sounds like heaven. mmm. Thanks for taking a moment to stop by, and best of luck with your new blogging venture!

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Ann Ferguson December 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm

AmberLee, I just happened upon your site while browsing for Christmas gift ideas for neighbors. I think your site looks so beautiful and interesting and can’t wait to finish browsing. But, I had to stop and tell you, I LOVE your name. My daughter’s name is EmmaLee, she is named after my sister, RiLee. I rarely see names like that, so it was fun to see yours. :)

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AmberLee December 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Ann, thanks so much for your sweet note! EmmaLee is beautiful. Good pick : ) I’ve always liked having my name too, many of my friends call me Amber, but I have to admit I always enjoy hearing AmberLee just a little bit more, especially when my little nieces and nephews go around calling Aunt AmberLee! It’s my favorite.

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Rae December 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm

What did I do wrong if my butter started to separate near the soft ball stage? I just kind of chucked everything in there at once. Is that the problem?

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AmberLee December 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Hi Rae,
I’ve had this happen a few times. Usually it was because I wasn’t stirring as constantly as I should have, so the butter and sugar heat up at different rates. But it can also happen if you heat everything too quickly. When I’ve changed heat slowly and stirred constantly I’ve been able to avoid the separating. But I’ve also been told humidity can be a problem. If you find the answer, I’d love to hear!

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Alexis Haer December 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

This recipe was absolutely perfect!! This was my first try at making homemade caramels and I followed your directions to the letter. They turned out WONDERFUL! Best thing that has come out of my kitchen in a long time. Only thing I would have done different would have been to double the batch, they only lasted about a day and a half between my husband and son. Thank you, Thank you!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Alex! Thank you so much for your note about the caramels. I’m so happy they turned out and got gobbled down.
Happy Holidays!
xo

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Alexis Haer December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I was wondering what your thoughts were on using maple syrup in your recipe. We make our own syrup and not that this recipe needs any improvement, I like to find new ways to use our syrup. Do you think that I could replace some of the corn syrup with maple syrup or maybe just add some extra syrup to the mix. I don’t want to disrupt the balance in the recipe, the texture was perfect. Thanks for any ideas!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Alexis,
You make your own syrup. wow. I am not totally sure how the maple syrup would work. I’ve had one reader who added a little torani syrup, but didn’t replace the syrup. I’ve had another in Scotland use GoldenSyrup. And after reading this article from a favorite chef, I’m curious to see if it would work to substitute maple syrup plus a dash of cream of tarter? If you try, I’d love to hear all about it.

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Nina December 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

You are amazing! This looks so good! I love your words about never going back, once you’ve gone homemade. I will have to check out your other posts. Thanks!

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Jody December 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I had just completed a double batch of caramels ( not your recipe) and after cooling the batch went grainy :( then after finding your blog recipe I decided to throw the Whole batch back in the pot to rescue my caramels. After following your advice of heating slowly and stirring minimally, I managed to rescue them!

So I Wanted to say thankyou for your detailed instructions that helped rescue my Christmas caramels. Just have to now pack in the double batch!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Jody! This is so great to know. I’m glad you were able to rescue them!! Thanks for coming by to let me know, I’m sure I’m not the only one who will appreciate knowing this.
xo

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Gayle December 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

OMG. These caramels turned out PERFECT!!! I live at 4700 feet and adjusted my candy thermometer according to the boiling point of water at my elevation and perfecto. I let them cool and then dipped them in milk and dark chocolate and then sprinkled with pink himilayan sea salt. I will have to make more before christmas. BTW I have never made candy before so this is truly a foolproof recipe. Thank you.

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Gayle,
Thank you for stopping by to let me know! And how festive is pink himilayan sea salt? I completely love it. Congrats on your first candy making!!

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Gerri Kling December 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

I really wanted to try making caramels for the first time this year. The first recipe I used burned and took forever….I had to trash the whole thing….then I found your recipe…..OMG! These are the best caramels. I doubled the recipe and cut them into 1 inch bite-sized pieces. The only thing I changed is that I added a sprinkle of sea saltto each as I wrapped them….it put them over the top! I got rave reviews from everyone who tried them! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Amberlee. ;-)

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Gerri!
Thank you so much for taking a moment to come back and report. I am so thrilled they turned out. yipee!!

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Faye Westlake December 13, 2011 at 7:46 am

Turned out wonderful even with the substitute ingredients available to me in Scotland.
When I was a Hospice nurse in the States during Christmas one of my patient family members offered me a piece of Mrs. See’s Candies from California….I had never had one… and I must have picked the best one from the box….ohhhh caramel with spices and spiked mixed dried fruits dipped in choclate ….heaven!
So today while we are incurring some windy cold weather I saw my jar of marinated dried fruits and, went in search of a caramel recipe, and I found this one …I have never made caramel before. I dug out my ingreidents and got started. I used….
16 oz or 500 grams demerara sugar
1/2 stick butter or 125 grams
1 small can GoldenSyrup or 454 grams
2 squeezy tubes sweetened condensed milk 170 grams each
and 100 grams evaporated milk
and pinch of salt

followed your instructions and had to use water ball stage method ..set my timer for 30 minutes after 20 min… i dipped 2 apples (yummmm) and finished off the caramel
poured half onto lightly buttered parchment paper
mixed in apporx 1/2 c minced brandied fruits and 1 tsp cinnamon

it is setting up now and my caramel apple was great! i sat them outside….lol.. they cooled faster that way

still have to cut and dip the caramels into chocolate and do a taste test then but i think it will be great

wooo hooo what a fun thing to do but play mad scientist chef in the kitchen today

thank you for the recipe and glad my conversion to UK ingredients worked!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Faye! It was so sonderful of you to come by and share these details! I’m so thrilled you were able to make it work with demerara and GoldenSyrup. Thank you!! I’ve had a few visitors from Austraila too asking about using the GoldenSyrup, and I’m sure this will be great for them to know.

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jen December 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I was just thinking about the caramels my grandma used to make when I was a kid. Can’t wait to make these! Thank you for the recipe!

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Kishna December 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I’ve made this recipe 4 times since finding it in late October of this year! Such and easy recipe that turns out perfect every time! I’ve added torani syrups to the caramel at the point when you tell us to add vanilla and it makes fabulous flavored caramels. My friends have gone crazy for bacon flavored caramels with candied bacon crumbles on top. Your recioe plus the torani syrups = a tastebud explosion! Thanks!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Kishna,
oooh. torani syrups? wow. that sounds like so much fun. now I’m going to have to try. Thanks for taking a moment to let me know!!

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renee December 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I just made these and they are cooling but look like they are going to come out fabulous. They are setting so that is good. the only question I had was the ones in your picture are way darker than mine I was kind of wondering why. Mine are just regular caramel colored while yours are a pretty brown. I don’t know if you can tell me why but I just thought I’d comment. Either way the recipe was yum!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi Renee,
hmm. That is a good question. It’s been a couple years since this post, so I can’t quite remember. It may just be my camera setting? I don’t remember them looking particularly dark once made. Or maybe I used dark corn syrup, but I almost always use light! As long as yours do set up and taste good–really really good–i’m sure you did everything perfectly!

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Amy December 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Made these with my brother, who had the wonderful idea to buy fancy schmancy salt to sprinkle ever so lightly on the top. We doubled the caramel recipe, spread it onto a cookie sheet, and used Chardonnay Smoked Fleur de Sel from India Tree. They were unbelievably good. We did take the time to individually wrap them in wax paper and the effect of a giant bowl of these was delightful- a “brown paper packages tied up with string” favorite things moment!

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AmberLee December 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Amy! yum. the salt sounds ah-mazing. holy cow. I’m so happy they turned out. and thank you for taking a moment to let me know.
Happy Holidays!

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Olga Markovic December 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Hi – just made these caramels and the taste is wonderful!! However, I have a question, the came out the consistency of fudge. I think its because after following your advice to the letter, I ended up putting them into a pan that was not the right dimensions (my 9×9 square baking pan was hiding from me!!) so I used a 9×6 pan instead and I think that’s why it came out at this consistency. The caramel that was left in the pot in a thinner layer came out just right. Please help with other suggestions! Thanks for the lovely blog!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Chelsea December 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

Yum this is SO delicious! It really was a breeze to make, although mine turned out a little hard … my candy thermomater doesn’t have as precise measurements as I wish it did, but when I got to 244 degrees I took it off and it was perfect (and i licked the spoon for like 20 minutes), this morning it’s rock hard … is that normal? At any rate, this is an amazing and easy to make carmel recipe, I think it turned out great for being a first timer :)

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SHANA December 17, 2011 at 9:44 am

You were right; These are failproof! And they came out gooey and delicious.

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Laura December 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I just tried making these and they turned out SO delicious! Thanks for the awesome recipe- I’ll be sharing it and your blog on mine soon!!

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Jamie December 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I found your recipe via Pinterest and wanted to say thank you! I’ve been looking for a great caramel recipe and had settled on one that was just okay for the past few years. Well, that one has been replaced and I finally have my great one. Your directions are clear and easy to understand and I appreciate all the tips. Thanks so much and Merry Christmas!

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Rebecca December 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

I followed the recipe directions to a T and the caramel came out perfect! Using the pizza cutter to make long strips was great idea. I dipped half the batch i chocolate and wrapped half in wax paper. I’m already contemplating my next batch. My favorite candy now at my homemaking fingertips may be dangerous… but delicious! Thanks so much for the clear instructions and recipe. You just made a caramel maker for life : )

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Kim Wagner December 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

Thank you for your fail proof recipe! This was my first attempt at homemade caramels and they turned out perfectly! Love your instructions and your website in general!!! Awesome!

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Debmorton December 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Boiling point of water at altitude is not 212 so make sure you check accordingly

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GC December 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I made these tonight — first caramels ever — and hooray, they worked! I dropped and broke my candy thermometer in the middle of the process, ugh, and had to go with Plan B which was the water drop method. So that’s two things I’d never done before :)

I substituted heavy whipping cream rather than 1/2 and 1/2, just because that was what I had on hand, and also used salted butter. All was well and the caramels set up beautifully, are soft and chewy without being sticky, and nom nom nom nom nom nom nom :)

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Michele December 20, 2011 at 9:32 am

Hi there! This is the second time that I have made these caramels. The first time was for myself to test it. The second batch I am giving out to family for Christmas and I also brought into work. Everyone has loved them! I wrapped them individually and they look so cute. I used to be a big tootsie roll fan but no more. I can never go back.

I do have a question for you. The caramel are very buttery and seem to have a bit of a buttery feel to them. Is this normal? It would never stop me from eating them or giving them out but I was just wondering if that was normal. It leaves a bit of a buttery feel to my fingers.

Thanks again!

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Olivia December 21, 2011 at 4:36 am

Hi AmberLee,
I tried this recipe and it tastes divine! I would love to wrap it in wax paper like you have but it is very soft and sticky and it’s been sitting in the pan overnight with me scooping out spoonfuls to eat (yum). Is it supposed to be like that or should it be hard? Could it perhaps be because I had to substitute corn syrup for golden syrup because I live in Australia?
Olivia :)

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AmberLee January 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Hi Olivia,
Thanks for your note! My caramel is soft, but maybe not quite soft enough to easily spoon out. I wonder if cooking it just a few degrees higher would have made the difference? But if all else fails, you can always wrap big chunks in parchment paper for others to open and spoon out. I don’t know if I’ve helped at all? If you get it figured out just how you like it, I’d love to hear.

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Bridget December 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

This really was a failproof recipe. My aunt and I made it last night and it turned out perfect and so delicious. I used the caramel in my homemade turtles. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be making again.

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Grammy December 23, 2011 at 3:33 am

This recipe looks good. I’m going to try it soy and milk free. I’m using soy free Earth Balance butter and Almond milk. I’ll let you know how it works. And thanks for the tip about checking the thermometer. I usually use it as a suggestion of temperatures and double check with water test. Well here goes. I’m going to save some dipping caramel for apples. My daughter has been craving caramel since she can’t have any soy or dairy while nursing a baby with soy and milk intolerances. :-(. Going to try and change that to a smile. :-) thanks for the tips.

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Grammy December 23, 2011 at 5:28 am

I worked like a charm it doesn’t quite have the caramel flavor but it is close more almondy flavored but really good flavor. I babied it stirring constantly and was really glad I checked my thermometer it was boiling at 190 degrees!! Time for a new thermometer. So used the water test too. It is cooling now and if what is stuck to the pan is any indication it will set up nice and be gooey/chewy. Thanks for the tips and hope this helps other soy/milk intolerant/allergic candy cravers.

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Adara December 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

Woe this recipe turned out so well! Thanks so much!!!

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Heidi December 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I am very new to making candy and my first candy-apple venture went well, so I gave this a whirl for a new Christmas treat. It worked so well! I used a wide, shallow Dutch oven type pan and only had one batch in it, so I didn’t have to put the heat on quite as high as the recipe said, and stirred almost constantly. I did not have a candy thermometer and instead gauged the temperature very frequently using cold water. They ended up a little too firm, but not too hard to chew or cut, thankfully. I sprinkled toasted pecans (toasting the nuts brings out lots more flavor~) on top of half of the caramel after I poured it and pressed them in a bit, but most of them fell off when I cut it. I just pressed them onto the caramels while I was wrapping them. Next time I’ll mix them in instead. I also pressed some sea salt (nothing fancy since I wasn’t going shopping, just something for some contrast with the sweetness…it looked like kosher salt) into some of them just before wrapping and that tasted good too. Definitely keeping this recipe around for later. Thank you for sharing your caramel making secrets :D

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AmberLee January 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Heidi! Thanks for your note about the caramel! And welcome to the world of candy making : ) It sounds like you’ve pretty much got it whipped. I am trying not to drool on my keyboard while reading you comment.

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debbie January 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm

AmberLee. Thanks for the recipe, instructions, and all the feedback you’ve provided on this particular recipe. My third batch of caramels are perfect and tonight I’ll make some more as my husband ate half a batch last nite!!!
Ten years ago I’ve moved to 7,000ft. from 5K and the extra 2,000 feet have had a major effect on even the easiest of cookies. I went from my original love of baking to candy making and have found it very easy, especially with the new heavier “no stick” pots and other 21st century kitchen utensils. So here is my input:
Hi-Altitude (7000 feet), stop at 227 degrees!!!! As guideline I used the NMSU Hi Altitude E215 Guide: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/e-215/welcome.html which I’ve found to be the best, easiest reference for all issues related to high-altitude cooking. The guide has a wonderful table listing all the temperatures for all the different types of candies from sea-level to 75K plus. I used the lowest temperature listed for chewy candies for 7500 feet = 227 degrees. It was the perfect temperature. I always select the lower end of the temperatures listed to take into account the extreme drying conditions of H.A. (A slice of bread laying on the counter becomes “crouton material” within an few hours).
As the caramel laid on the counter drying I, too, added sea salt (or course Kosher salt) as well as grating lemon rind. The rind dried up and added to the slight crunchiness of the coarse salt. Walnuts were added too. I cut them into 1.5 inch cubes, wrapped them in parchment and/or wax paper and sealed with some colored 1/2 inch round stickers I had left over. A big hit!!! Thank you and Happy Holidays. Plan to do the same for Valentine using some small heart stickers.

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AmberLee January 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Debbie! You are so wonderful to add this about the high altitude and the two sugars! I so appreciate it. And sea salt and lemon rind? It sounds amazing, and totally something I would adore. I will have to try. Thank you!!

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debbie January 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Note:…..My second batch was made with evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. The generic brands of evaporated and condensed look exactly alike and I didn’t notice the difference… No problems both versions were great. Did not experience any difference in cooking time.

However, I made one batch with dark brown sugar and that batch seemed to cook a lot faster, but since I didn’t time it, I couldn’t swear that either type of sugar made any difference. There was no difference in taste or texture with either type of sugars.

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Vicky January 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I just made – with evaporated milk instead because that’s what I had. I needed some carmel for a salted carmel fudge recipe that had been floating in my head since holiday sweets hit the stores. It looks great, I can’t wait to try it tomorrow. The pan cleaning samples have been great so far though. Thanks!

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Paul January 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

This is definately the BEST caramel that I’ve ever tasted. I’ve been making pecan turtles for years (Christmas gifts) and decided to try this recipe this year. Our friends and family RAVED about the caramel. I couldn’t make the turtles fast enough to satisfy the demand for more. I don’t use a thermometer but rather gauge the “doneness” by the color of the caramel and how it does when some is dropped in ice water. The caramel must be soft enough so that I can work it into turtles. Again, the ABSOLUTE BEST!!!!!

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AmberLee January 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Paul,
Aw. You made me blush. Thanks so much for taking a moment to come back and let me know how the caramel went. Nice work testing done-ness without a thermometer too!

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Cassandra Dworchak January 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Phenomenal directions and recipes! This is the best caramel I have ever had and I have had my share!! ;) Used the caramel to make Turtles, walnut candy and just to eat by itself. Adding your recipe to my box of beloved recipes. Thanks so much.

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AmberLee January 13, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thanks Cassandra! I’m so happy you liked it!!

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Michele January 14, 2012 at 7:49 am

I have read most of the posts and never saw anything about cutting the recipe in half….sometimes it is not advised. Have you ever done that, and if not do you think it would still work?
thanks!

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AmberLee January 15, 2012 at 6:54 am

Hi Michele,
Thank for your note! You should have no problem cutting this recipe in half, though you may want to make sure you use a smaller pan and raise the heat slowly. Just keep an eye on that temperature!

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Michele January 15, 2012 at 10:04 am

Thanks for your reply! I decided to try it and use whip cream instead of sweetened condensed milk since i cannot understand how they replace each other with all the sugar in the Sweetened condensed milk….but will try that maybe the next time. I also have to tell you that the rest of your site is awesome….will try the oatmeal pancakes ASAP..wish my grandchildren were here in TX not CA for that one. I have encouraged my daughter (with 4 kids) to look at your site….you are like a young Martha Stewart and so is she!!

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Michele January 16, 2012 at 7:26 am

yep, splitting in half worked perfectly. recipe takes lots of patience but worth it! thanks!

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Tara January 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

If you don’t have parchment paper WAIT!!! I thought it would be ok to grease a cookie sheet and then put wax paper on top and grease that. DIDN”T work. the wax paper is all stuck to the caramel :( I doubled the recipe too.

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Tara January 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

If you have used wax paper and it stuck try putting the whole pan in the oven and heating it and then scrape off the wax paper. That worked pretty good after trying to get it off some other not so sucessful ways. Got to salvage a good bit of it. Yay.

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Denise February 6, 2012 at 6:47 am

I ruined my first batch of caramel and found some interesting solutions on here to help make it right – I’ll let you know if they worked. Thanks for sharing

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Tara February 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Had to make my second double batch of caramels since my first was all gone. I decided I wanted it a little softer than the last batch so I took it out a little sooner. They are yummy but now I am thinking I likethem a little hard at first better. Anal me decided to make them all in little squares. Took forever to cut and wrap but now I have lots to enjoy and give away to teachers for Valentines Day. Not planning on losing this recipe any time soon.

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Ramsey February 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Thanks for this recipe,

I was inspired to try making something yummy for my sweetie for Valentine’s Day and found this recipe. It’s my first time making candy, though I’ve done lots of canning and other cooking. I like to improvise and like as natural ingredients as possible so used maple syrup instead of corn syrup, and went with the cream instead of condensed milk.

It turned out amazing though my thermometer is definitely off so thanks for the suggestion of truing it.

Unfortunately I got about 1/2 of the caramel (making pecan-chocolate clusters) but then all of a sudden it started to separate. I tried stirring and put over low heat again and the whole thing went into a dry crumbly consistency. Can I re-constitute this some how or do I now have a lot of yummy ice cream topping?

Thanks!

RH

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Debbie March 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hello!

I’d love to use this for caramel and chocolate covered pretzels, and have a few questions.

Would I use the caramel at the apple stage to dip the pretzels in? Would I thn wait for it to cool to dip in chocoalte? Will the caramel stay soft enough to bite into, and how long does the caramel stay good for (trying to figure out how long the pretzels would then be good for)?

Thanks!

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sarah March 20, 2012 at 11:23 am

Debbie yes you would do it at the apple dipping and let it set the dip is chocolate other wise u won’t get that look u will need and the camel will just melt I made the carmel over christmas and again not to long ago I store it in the fridge seem to last a whil

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Haline March 27, 2012 at 7:38 am

Hello.
I made the caramels, but it was so hard to cut. Is it common or I over cooked?
Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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Hudson April 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

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ElleBeth April 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’m seventeen and I like to cook, but I don’t have much experience. I don’t have a candy thermometer and this recipe still works like a charm. This is my first time making caramels, and though my first batch is still cooking, I know it’ll taste amazing because I kept sampling as I went along. Also, I used a wooden spoon to stir continually, and I’m really excited to like all the yummy candy off of it. Sometimes you just gotta be a kid. :)

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Karen @ Sugartown Sweets May 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I can’t wait to try this! I’ve been looking for a caramel recipe!

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mlle taylor May 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Try this same recipe but see if you can get your hands on some sorghum. Replace the Karo with it- amazing! The sorghum gives it a really great bitterness. I’d use regular cream with it though, seems to work better.

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Barbara Ocone June 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

Wow, this was supper easy. I am not a big cook. Had to buy a candy thermometer just make the receipe. Was on vacation and spent a bunch of money at a high end candy store buying carmels, and then decided I had to try to make some my self. This was so fun and easy. Did it with my 12 year old son. The carmels came out great! Thanks for sharing. On my next batch I will put some chopped up nuts in them! Thank you for sharing the receipe and for all the comments. The parchment paper was easy and we wrapped all in small individual pieces of parchment paper.

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Cynthia Light June 26, 2012 at 7:25 am

LOVE this recipe, coming back for like my 10th batch, and I always come back to this. I am a sucker for turtles. I make almond chocolate covered “bark” with this, I have dazzled my MOM2MOM mates, spoiled the nurses at my OB office, and today it will be a little of both again. Im 28 weeks along with my 2nd baby girl and I really hope I don’t gain 5 pounds this week soley due to the candy binge Im about to go on today. LOL I like to use some honey to replace some of the corn syrup just for the sake I can say its a little more healthier, and it works awesome. I also use salted butter if I haven’t got unsalted because generally i love butter, and have tried the salted caramels that costco sells and I try to recreate. So I thought I would chime in about it so others know that it WILL turn out if you change it up a bit. And I’m happy to report that my digital thermometer works like a charm every time. Also when I am preparing my turtles, if the sauce starts to get hard, you can just put it back on the burner and stir continuously to get it back to the right consistency to make your chocolate caramel delights. Hope Ive helped someone, I was always feeling in uncharted waters. this is the best recipe out there for caramel and I wouldn’t do it any other way. :)

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Joni August 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I use your recipe, however, I have tried many flavors of the LorAnn flavorings including chocolate mint, vanilla butternut, chocolate, Mapleine, amongst other flavors. Need to make more ( stockpiling, for making caramel apples for some upcoming flea markets ) and just purchased some french vanilla.

Freezing is great, no problems with caramel in freezer for 2 months or so, comes out fresh as the day I made it.

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Alisia August 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been using your recipe since summer 2011, and I make it at least once every 3 months. It is THE best, I’m surprised I haven’t memorized it yet! I’m going to make another batch tonight to give to my Bootcamp ladies on Thursday. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe, my sweet tooth and friends who benefit LOVE IT!!

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AmberLee August 15, 2012 at 6:56 am

Thanks for your sweet note, Alisia!! It was so wonderful of you to come back and let me know! hope your summer is going great!!
xo

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FoodMuster - Courtney August 9, 2012 at 4:49 am

Hi Amberlee, I had to let you know that I used your recipe with great success, I replaced light corn syrup with glucose syrup and it worked well. I have also used honey in the past. I have done a link back to your post here to show credit i used it and if you have the time, my post is http://welfarewisdom.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/mastering-caramel-in-hotmix-pro.html.
Thanks for sharing a great recipe:)

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Charlotte August 11, 2012 at 2:17 am

i was reading through the recipe and wondered what the water was needed for, is it just to check the temperature for your thermometer or do you melt the butter and the rest of the ingredients in it, I am sooooo dying to make these! :)

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AmberLee August 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Hi Charlotte,
You’ve got it! The water is just for checking the temp on your thermometer (I do it every time), nothing more. Good luck!!

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Sarah August 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Oops, High altitude. Thanks. That explains why my caramels have been coming out rock hard.

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D August 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm

What a wonderful recipe! I just found your blog and substituted ingredients so I could make make this right away. I used smart balance 50%/50% butter blend, and fat free half and half. After beginning to boil, it took just under 1 hour to reach 244 degrees. The butter substitute I used may have altered the flavor a bit, it didn’t taste quite right, so I will use regular butter next time. I was impressed with the flavor, texture, and how easy (other than an hour of stirring) this was to make! Thanks for sharing!

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Joni September 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

Hi, just wanted to drop by once again and let you know, French Vanilla is the bomb for this recipe. As well, I am considering nuking ( I know if I let the caramel sit too long out in the open so to speak, it recrystalizes. I have remelted with the microwave and its back to new.

My next test is to microwave from scratch and see how it works. White sugar, Im betting it wouldnt turn brown, but, with brown sugar, should be no prob.

Ill stop by and let you know………..

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Isaac September 12, 2012 at 2:34 am

Hello, and thank you very much for sharing this recipe! I am going to give this one a try because the final product looks so yummy!

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Debbie Bowen September 13, 2012 at 5:07 am

This caramel recipe sounds wonderful and your examples look good enough to eat! Quick question- I have to make about 100 caramel apples for a friend’s wedding in a few weeks and wondered if I made the caramel recipe you give here ahead and wrapped it up when cool and then reheated it in mass in a crock pot the day before and dipped the apples all at once. Have you ever tried this or can you think of another way to make a lot of apples at one time- and not to use the little caramel candies that have to be unwrapped and melted- can’t imagine they could be nearly as tasty as your recipe. :)

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AmberLee September 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Hi Debbie,
I hope I am not too late answering your question!! First of all, you are a great friend. Second, I have had readers try this before and had it work, though I believe they kept it in the original pot. I really can’t think of why this might not work.

I did get a few great caramel apple tips from pros and shared them here, incase that helps at all:
http://www.giverslog.com/?p=10314

If you make any discoveries along the way, I’d love to hear.

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Debbie Bowen October 8, 2012 at 8:54 am

Hi Amberlee-
I tried the recipe for 150 caramel apples for my friend’s wedding this past weekend and thought I’d drop you a quick note to tell you how it all ended. My husband and I made 11 batches the week before and refrigerated it in two large tupperware containers. We figured we needed about 2oz. caramel for each apple and therefore decided on the 11 batches. We probably only needed about 2/3 that amount but i can’t say that we mind the leftovers!! It held up well but we decided to slowly reheat it in two large batches, separately with the thermometer again to be sure it didn’t get too hot- over the 240 degrees that we decided worked best for the apples. It all went well- although a lot of work but that seems to usually follow when I open my mouth and say “yes”, as I am prone to do.

A tip we found- use Cortland apples. They don’t brown as other apples do when bitten into and left awhile and they seem to mostly grow to a medium size. The flavor is similar to a Macintosh but not quite as tart but still a perfect pairing with the sugary caramel.

They tasted and looked great and we had tons of good reviews! Thanks for the recipe!

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AmberLee October 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Wow, Debbie! First of all, you are an awesome friend. How amazing to have yummy caramel apples at a wedding. And second, THANK YOU (!!) for coming back to share. This is seriously the most helpful thing to know! I will have to try some Cortland apples! I’ve never heard of them but they sound perfect. Thank you! And hope your week is great.

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Jeff H. September 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Hey AmberLee,
I just made a batch of caramel with your recipe. The final product turned out better than I thought! I did change the recipe a little bit though. I added some cocoa powder to the mix when it was in mid-boil just as an experiment. It gave the caramel a whole new look and the cocoa complements the caramel flavor. Thanks AmberLee!

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Susie September 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

We substitute almond milk and spectrum shortening so that it is soy and dairy free. YUM! ….but it takes forever to cook.

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Kim Anderson October 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Thank you sooooo much for posting this recipe. I used it to create a bowling ally on a chocolate brownie ice cream cake for my son’s 5th birthday. It was just the right thing to make lettering and ally. I can’t thank you enough for saving me from buying a new candy thermometer and ending my candy making career. Every time except 1 I burnt the carmel. (hmmm my thermometer reads 178 at boiling)

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Jenna October 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I am having a fall party and would like to make this before hand for us to dip apples in later. Do you think it would keep in a crock pot on warm until we were ready to dip the apples?

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AmberLee October 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Hi Jenna,
This is a fantastic idea. I have to admit, I am not 100% sure, but I would really think that as long as you got the caramel to the right temp first, then maybe let it get a little less hot before pouring it into the crock pot, that it should work. I wish I could give you a certain answer, it sounds like so much fun. If you do try, I would love to hear how it works out. Best of luck!!

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Naomy October 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Can you use normal milk if you dont care about cooking time?

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AmberLee October 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Naomy,
This is a great question. I’ve never given it a try? I’d love to hear if you decide to be daring and give it a go!

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BallMom October 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Have used this recipe for two years and its AMAZING!!!! I first used it to raise money for my daughter for homecoming. We used nacho trays and cored and sliced apples and sold them as caramel apple dippers! Everyone loved the caramel so much! We shared the recipe with tons of people! Since then we have used it numerous times in fall festivals and simply for our own pleasure :) It is the best! Thanks sooooo much for sharing it!

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AmberLee October 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for the wonderful note, BallMom!! I so appreciate it. Thanks for taking a moment to stop back!! And I love the idea of caramel apple dippers! Perfect and yummy!

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Amanda October 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Just wanted to let you know I just used your recipe to make caramel dip for apples. I’m 8 months pregnant and I have been on a candy making kick all week (almond joys, fudge now caramel dip). This recipe is the best! I didn’t use a thermometer, I find it more intuitive to go by feel but it turned out delicious and I’m sure it won’t last long :)

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Jennifer October 17, 2012 at 7:30 am

Just made your caramel recipe yesterday. I took some out for dip and then made the firm caramels. I forgot the vanilla and they still turned out great. I did use the brown sugar. Amazingly good. Half the caramels I mixed in toasted pecans in it. Very simuar to a soft praline. I’m sending most to work with my husband – if they stay here I’ll eat them all! Thanks for sharing!!

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Kimberly October 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hi. Does it matter if I use salted butter instead of unsalted?

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AmberLee October 22, 2012 at 4:27 am

Hi Kimberly! Unsalted butter will do just fine! In fact, throw a little seasalt on top of your caramels too at the end : ) Good luck!

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Cherie Collins October 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I tried your recipe(it had the fewest ingredients and easy directions) and it came out AWESOME!!!!! Thank you. I did do a slight change by using salted butter(because I didn’t have unsalted butter at home). It wasn’t too salty just a slight hint of salt can be tasted. 3 out of 4 in my house have tried and loved it!!!! My 2 year old won’t try it because he snuck into the kitchen just after I poured it out of the pan (scalding hot) and stuck his finger in it.( I’ll make another batch another time when daddy takes him for a walk so he can try it.) Thanks again for such a great recipie!!!

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Laura Hengt October 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

My candy recipes say if the weather is rainy or humid to cook the candy 2 degrees higher than stated to compensate.
Love caramel recipes. Thanks

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Bakingnotwriting October 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Dear AmberLee,
What a great post! Thanks for doing it. I took your advice and made a vegan version:
http://wp.me/p1fdox-h8

Couldn’t have done it without you!

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Marissa October 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I did the same thing without the parchment paper and it worked fine

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Kathie October 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

To anyone who wants to know, I have used this recipe for years, except I use evaporated milk..I have NEVER had it fail, and the evaporated milk is much cheaper then condensed, so go for it, it comes out perfect!

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AmberLee October 26, 2012 at 8:07 am

Thank you, Kathie!! THis is super helpful

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Marion October 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Can I make the caramel a week ahead and store in fridge for dipping apples? Would I then reheat it to the dipping temp?

Also, I want to make 100 caramel apples. How many batches of your recipe do I need? How many apples dip in one batch?

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Denise October 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I made a couple of batches of these last year. The worst part was the fact that they were addicting. Caused a fight between my mom and dad because she was stashing more than her share:-). They are absolutely delicious and I am amazed anyone had them left long enought to go bad.

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Elena and Pamela November 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

A friend and I tried this and it worked really well! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. We live in Spain and thought we wouldn’t be able to have caramel apples very often, since we only make it to the States every 3-4 years. We wanted to say that since corn syrup is not available, we used agave syrup instead and it worked! 😃 This was our first time making anything in the “candy” category and due to the success we are not afraid to try most anything now. We will be making this quite often, I think, and Zaragoza, Spain will be introduced to the world of caramel apples thanks to your inspiration. 😊

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Kelly November 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

If I were to use this recipe to make caramel filled chocolates, at what temp. should I take them off the heat?

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debra klecan November 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I live at 7000 feet and did several versions last year and found that 225 degrees made for perfect texture. I’ve already made several batches for Thanksgiving next week and they are all perfect. My friend in Albuquerque at 5000 feet used 230 degrees to make her caramel.

I made two version, one sprinkled with crunchy salt with a sweet caribean/pinapple punch from Trader Joe, and another batch sprinkled with dried lavender petals. Caution: check that the lavender you use is “food friendly.” I grow several different varieties, I just taste each and use the one that has no bitter aftertaste. Perfection, thanks so much for this recipe. Everytime I gift it, I get request for the recipe!!!

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Angie November 25, 2012 at 5:12 am

My first two batches wouldn’t set, then I switched the brand of sweetened condensed milk and it made all the difference! Don’t use Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand of sweetened condensed milk, it’s too thin.

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AmberLee November 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Wow, Angie, this is super helpful to know. I had no idea this could make the difference. Thanks for taking a moment to come by and share!!

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shay December 1, 2012 at 12:28 am

hi, someone might have already asked this, but is there any substitute for corn syrup for those of us in the world who can’t get our hands on it? thanks :)

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Paula December 1, 2012 at 9:32 am

Searching the web for Carmel recipe and found yours! I and ready and excites to try this today! I am planning on making homemade turtles … But for a change up I wanted to make my Carmel from scratch vs using the Kraft single melted with heavy cream.

My question is, at which temp would you think should be my stopping point to add the pecans so I can spoon them out onto wax paper so they can get a little firm in order to dip them chocolate?

I was thinking more like the temp (consistency) for dipping the apples.

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Debie Montross December 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

Have you tried to dip these Caramels in chocolate before wrapping in wax paper?

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Steph December 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Just wanted to say what an AWESOME recipe this is. It’s a keeper for me now, as I’ve used it twice to make turtles and it turned out perfectly both times!
It’s so nice when someone puts a little advice in with the measurements. ;)
And the warning about the sugar on the sides of the pan saved me alot of tears!
cheers!

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Morgan December 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

So, I searched and searched for a caramel recipe and yours had my favorite directions (so thorough!) and Best pictures. So, I followed it on my first ever batch of caramels and caramel apples and everything turned out amazing!! I’ve always been told making caramel was hard but everything went smoothly and the only 2 times I worried was when 1. the caramel wasn’t changing color like I expected and 2. when I added the vanilla, the mixture “popped” and “sputtered”.. I’m guessing that was from the alcohol in the vanilla but I just kept stirring and it was okay.
Only change is I added some sea salt at the vanilla stage for some depth.
Long story short (haha), thank you so so much!
wish I could add pictures.. thanks! :) :) :)

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Morgan December 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I just wrote a post raving about these caramels and they just set and are DELICIOUS. I’m talking, probably wont last til work tomorrow (which was their original purpose- a Christmas treat).
I had mentioned I put sea salt in the mixture at the vanilla stage and while this tastes delicious (it balances the flavor wonderfully), it’s not the most pleasant thing to chomp down on. Next time, I’m sprinkling on top!
Aand my spouse just came home and said it tastes like Macintosh toffee which I was SO SO excited about since they stopped selling the bars (at least in my part of the world).
Oh! And I “borrowed” one of my moms good pots which I found to be a little deep but the caramel left the pot CLEAN. I mean, it all just slithered on out and barely left any residue behind so I recommend if you’re having problems with cleaning out the pot after, try a different pot! Lol.
Next day off, I’m going to try adding things to the cooled caramels like maybe grated orange zest, a crushed nut or something spicy like wasabi? I was eating wasabi nuts and caramel and they tasted delicious together!!
Again, thank you! I’ll keep you posted on the other versions I try and if my good luck today was a fluke or not! Lol.

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AmberLee December 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Thank you, Morgan!! I hadn’t thought of orange zest, but that sounds like it would be amazing!! and wasabi, watch out!

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Deborah December 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

Thank God I found this recipe. I made pecan turtles every year for Christmas for many years. Only difference is I used dark brown sugar, dark karo, and 2 Tbls. of mollasses. Makes the best dark caramel ever. I pressed 3 pecan halves onto the bottom of a 1″ ball of caramel, placed them on was paper and popped them in the frig to get hard before dipping them in dark chocolate. I made turtle “hearts” for valentines day. That was when I lived in GA where pecans are plentiful and not that expensive if you know someone whith an orchard. Now I live in CA. and pecans are very expensive and frankly hard to find. So I’ve decided to use almonds instead since they’re more plentiful here. This time though I have a gas stove so it may be a bit different timewise. Happy Holidays everyone!

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Evelyn M. December 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

My friend turned me on to this and it got perfect.now gonna try by my self for dipping and to use for my Martini glasses appletinis yummm thanks

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Sheryl December 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Oh.my.goodness!
I made these last night and I can’t believe how wonderful they are!!

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Lynn December 12, 2012 at 6:56 am

I accidentally halved the butter in the first double batch, and although it was a hair harder, they were still super good!!!

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Lacy December 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I just made these caramels and they are setting up right now. I pinched a little taste, and it was the best thing I’ve EVER tasted! I’m holding on to this recipe and I’m going to call it “Better than Sex Caramels”! Thanks for the recipe!! :)

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Peggy December 13, 2012 at 8:09 am

My caramels are nearly hard, not the wonderful soft caramels I had envisioned. What did I do wrong? I checked my thermometer first. Followed directions, stirred constantly, brought to 245 degrees, removed from heat, stirred in some vanilla and poured into a pan. I’m feeling really frustrated. Can you help?

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Kirsten January 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I found that a soft carmel is closer to 240 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your elevation. If you are using an old-style candy thermometer (not digital), the tip of it is supposed to be in the solution at least 2.5 inches to get an accurate measurement! Also, see my tip on the cool water test that I posted today to help with the consistency. I found the test in an old candy recipe book.

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Linda December 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

Unfortunately, mine turned out very hard and I followed this recipe exactly–even bought a brand new thermometer which checked out perfectly. I had used the recipe years before several times successfully.

The only thing that I can see that has changed since I made so many years ago to now–…sweetened condensed milk used to have 15 ounces, now only 14 ounces. My recipe card from many, many years ago stated clearly a 15 ounce can.

Next time I try, I am only going to cook to 240–hope we can eat these…

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Deborah December 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Just made this recipe and yup, fab!!! I put some Pink sea salt and walnuts… oh, it’s so good… I love this recipe. I will be making more for sure, it’s easy and oh, instead of corn syrup, I used treacle and it was terrific.. worked perfectly. Used the same amount as the corn syrup.
Oh and I did use the pizza cutter, that was brilliant, worked like a breeze.
Thanks so much for this treat… makes for the holidays that much sweeter! ;-)

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Janeen December 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

Just tried the caramel recipe, looks good can’t wait till I cut them apart. Thanks for posting the recipe.

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Alyssa December 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I don’t know if you are still responding to comments or questions on this recipe, but I’m a beekeeper and am looking for a caramel recipe that I can use honey with. I read (skimmed) all the comments and didn’t see that anyone had subbed all honey for the corn syrup (I want to make these for Christmas gifts so using my own honey is part of the deal). Do you recall if anyone has contacted you about it? I did find some other recipes on Pinterest with honey, but none that had the detailed comments this one did and had been so tested out by readers. Thanks!

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jason December 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

Im on my phone so its very difficult to read all the replies but heres my experience.

I replaced the corn syrup with honey. I even tried all natural local “winter honey” which has so much more flavor than regular honey. Now to top it off i chopped up some fresh pecans and added them with the vanilla at the end. Tragic results! It is so good people wont stop begging for more. Now before you pass judgmenteven my wife said that sounded like a bad mixture to add to an already amazing recipe but now shes in the front of the line of beggars.

Thank you for the great recipe.

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Cynthia December 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

It worked! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge about making caramels. I made mine with cream and it took 47 minutes to get to 244* at exact sea level. Having your guidance that it would take upwards of 30 minutes really helped. Now my grandson’s teachers will have homemade organic salted caramels in their Christmas goody gifts.

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Lined December 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Made this recipe and got distracted at the wrong time (lesson learned, don’t walk away from thermometer when in the 200s!) and ended up with super hard caramels :( BUT, I reheated it and added just a bit of water, watched much more carefully and they are absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing an amazing recipe!! Pinned it on pinterest and will definitely be making it again!!

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Donna December 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

Love your blog and pinned this page to make for the holiday. I LOVE caramels but always talk myself out of making them because my one and only experience with them (many, many years ago) was a nightmare. When I was “no fail” in your title I thought I would try it. Let’s just say, I followed your recipe to the T and the caramels are absolutely gorgeous, the perfect consistency, and scrumptiously delicious. Thanks for your hard work in creating this awesome recipe and tutorial. Merry Christmas!

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michelle December 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm

this is the third time i’m using this recipe!! LOVE IT!

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Marcia December 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Hi There! LOVE your caramel. Daughter and I tried to make Turtles last night using your caramel as our base!!!! No Luck. Chocolate wouldn’t stick to it. Any suggestions.

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Katie December 31, 2012 at 7:55 am

If you “polish” caramel with cornstarch it takes off the buttery residue without changing the flavor. Lightly coat with cornstarch, then gently rub the powder off.

Good luck!

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Michelle Hoger February 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I came across a ‘hint’ when making chocolate-covered toffee for Valentine’s day treats. The ‘hint’ was to use paper towels and wipe the surface of the toffee before putting on the chocolate chips to melt, because the butter would cause the chocolate to flake off as soon as you tried to break the toffee into pieces. I’m pretty sure the caramel would do the same thing when making turtles. Try ‘wiping off’ the butter first, and see if that helps.

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vanessa December 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I was searching for a good homemade caramel recipe today and came across your site. I’m glad I did! My daughter’s and I used your fabulous recipe tonight and our caramels turned out great. It was my first time ever making caramels and your instructions were very helpful. Thank you for posting this easy to follow recipe

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Shalynna December 21, 2012 at 8:38 am

I’m so excited to make these! My friend made them using your recipe a couple of years ago and they were delicious. I do not have parchment paper, only freezer paper. Would it be better to just well grease a pan or try to use the freezer paper in a pan? Thanks so much!

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AmberLee December 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

Hi Shalynna,
I would definitely try a good solid greasing over freezer paper. But if you ever get a chance to pick up some parchment paper, it is worth it, i am always amazed that nothing ever sticks to the stuff! Best of luck!! I would love to hear how it goes!

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Shalynna February 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

I greased the pan and it was fine! I just had to dab the caramels a bit after so they didn’t have excess grease on them. Thanks for an awesome recipe. It was my first time and I was SO pleased with the results!

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Sydney December 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

i’m 11 and i like cooking. as i grabbed for the vanilla extract that didn’t have a tag saying “VANILLA EXTRACT” and i put a teaspoon of it in and my mom came ’round and sniffed the ”vanilla extract” and said that it was ”almond extract”.i poured the caramel in the pan and took some off the spoon and it tasted ……….. ….. …. GOOD!!! cant really taste the almond-y taste

OOOOOPPPPPPSSSSSIIIIII!!!!!!!!!

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Siu December 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Dear AmberLee,
I am want to make chocolate caramel pretzel rods. Do you think your caramel recipe will be firm enough to stay on the pretzels? Or if needed, how would you adjust your recipe? Previously, I have tired another recipe and it was too soft to stay on the rods.

By the way, your instructions and all the helpful hint are wonderful.

Thanks!
Siu

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AmberLee January 6, 2013 at 7:32 am

Hi Siu!
Yes!! This was actually the reason I first even used this recipe, just make it to the soft ball stage and dip the rods right in. But be SO careful not to burn your fingers!! I have done that at least every other year!

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Katie December 31, 2012 at 7:58 am

I made these last night, and substituted 1/2 of the corn syrup with honey. They turned out great! Next time I’m going to try all honey. Might be helpful for people with sensitivities to corn, or for those looking for a more natural syrup.

Great recipe; thanks for sharing!!

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AmberLee January 6, 2013 at 7:02 am

Thank you, Katie!! This is fantastic news. I can hardly wait to try.

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Abi January 2, 2013 at 2:07 am

i tried these are theyre delicious – it was my first time making caramels so thanks so much for the recipe and the instructions, pics are here http://abimakes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/caramels.html

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Mary January 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hi! I tried this recipe, and it’s been a great success. I’m all out in two days! However, there was one thing that happened while I was making it. When I mixed it, sometimes little bits of darker sugar would come up in the caramel. Although it didn’t really affect it much in terms of taste and texture, I’d like my caramels to look perfect. :3 Do you have any tips for me?

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Jeff January 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I just made your recipe today. First time making candy or using a candy thermometer. Thanks for the tip on checking the accuracy with the boiling water method, mine was off by 5 degrees. I poured my caramel over whole salted cashews and covered them with melted chocolate, turtles I guess. I used 2 cups of heavy cream instead of the canned milk and didn’t have quite enough brown sugar so I had to add some white to get enough. Everything worked out great and they are awesome! Thanks for sharing this and I will definitely make these again, but before the holidays so I can share with family and friends…maybe.

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Kirsten January 22, 2013 at 11:52 am

Does the recipe require packed brown sugar? We tried it without packing the brown sugar and the recipe had excess butter that had to be wiped off the cooled carmel.
A great way to test the carmel for consistency is to use the cool water test. While making the carmel, have a shallow glass or bowl of cool water at hand. Before the desired temperature, drizzle a little bit of the carmel into the cool water. Remove it, feel it and chew it to see if it is the consistency you desire. I start testing before or around 240 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure I don’t pass the consistency I want.

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Suzanne January 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I substituted honey for the corn syrup and it turned out WAY better than with the syrup. That honey flavor really just sent these caramels into the ecstasy zone. I also used fat-free sweetened condensed milk and it worked just fine. I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I used the cold-water test every five minutes until it was the right consistency. Turned out exactly the way I wanted it! After they cooled a bit, I sprinkled coarse sea salt over the top because I love that saltiness on the caramels.

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AmberLee January 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Thank you for this, Suzanne! You are making me want to try this right now!!

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Chris Warner February 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I am making these for the third time tonight!My family loves them and they were no problem to make, hand cramped a bit from constant stirring but they’re worth it.thanks!

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Suzan February 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I just made the caramels & they are in the fridge. Of course the last spoonful just got cool enough to hit my lips! Mmmmmmm!
Thought I’d let you know that I used half & half & live just above 5,000 ft. I only made 1/2 recipe because I only had 1/2 c of corn syrup. It took exactly 30 min. I cooked it to 228 degrees. I KNOW they taste great because of the sample, but I’ll see how they do as they cool down.
Thanks for the recipe!

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Insain1 March 4, 2013 at 2:04 am

I am a MM patient, my Dr. wants his patients to eat Marijuana rather than smoke it. He says you stay at a even level and your pain doesn’t bounce up and down all day. I now no longer have to take so many pain pills.
I came across your recipe last Christmas, I wanted to make gifts from the Kitchen last year. (They were a big HIT) I made them “Regular”, Salted, Coconut. I then made some for myself “Medical”. I made the mistake of NOT using the full amount of brown sugar and even though they were a little more BUTTERY they were still very YUMMY!!!!
Thanks you for your Wonderful Carmamels!!!!

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