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Salted Honey & Vanilla Bean Caramels

These Honey and Vanilla Bean Homemade Caramels are oh so merry and bright! Gift wrapped for the holidays, these buttery and sweet caramels are surprisingly easy to make and are wonderful (and delicious) gifts. 
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Candy, Confections, Holiday Recipes, Pastry
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Setting Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 60 Pieces
Calories: 153kcal
Author: Emily Laurae

Equipment

  • Heavy Bottomed Large Saucepan or Large Dutch Oven
  • Spatula
  • 8x8 Pan or Frame
  • Parchment Paper
  • Knife
  • Gloves (optional)

Ingredients
 

  • 2 Cups + 2.5 Tbsp (500 g) Heavy Cream
  • 2 ½ Cups (500 g) Sugar
  • 2.5 Tablespoons Honey
  • ¾ Cup + 2 tsp (292 g) Light Corn Syrup
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ One Vanilla Bean, Scraped, or 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 g) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons Flakey Sea Salt

Instructions

  • Prepare an 8x8 baking pan by greasing with butter and lining with parchment paper.
  • Add your cream, sugar, honey, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla beans in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
    2 Cups + 2.5 tablespoon Heavy Cream, 2 ½ Cups Sugar, 2.5 Tablespoons Honey, ¾ Cup + 2 teaspoon Light Corn Syrup, ¼ Teaspoon Salt, ½ One Vanilla Bean, Scraped
  • As the caramel starts to cook it will bubble and rise significantly, so make sure the pot you use is large. I personally use a 5.5 qt dutch oven.
  • Place the dutch oven onto the stove and turn on the heat to medium-low. Stir the ingredients to combine as they start to warm with a spatula.
  • Monitoring with a candy thermometer, continue to cook contents until you’ve reached 248 degrees Fahrenheit. This should take approximately 20 minutes,
  • Once your caramel has reached 248 degrees, immediately stir in the butter which will slightly cool the caramel and prevent it from cooking any longer.
    2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Once the butter has fully incorporated, pour into an 8x8 baking pan lined with parchment and coated in baking spray or butter so that the caramel does not stick.
  • Top with flaky sea salt 10 minutes after the caramel has been poured into the pan. This allows the caramel to set slightly on the top so that the salt does not sink into the caramel.
    2 Tablespoons Flakey Sea Salt
  • Let sit for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight so that it sets completely.
  • Remove caramel from the pan and place on a cutting board 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut caramels into the size of your choosing. Then, wrap with small squares of parchment paper.
  • Note that because the caramel is so malleable, your fingerprints will appear if you don’t use gloves. As I love to give these caramels as gifts, I prefer to use gloves so that my fingerprints are not noticeable even if I am using clean hands.

Video

Notes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  • Can you make homemade caramel without corn syrup? I don’t recommend it. Corn syrup acts as an interfering agent which prevents the sugars from crystallizing as they cook which could leave a coarse, grainy texture to your caramels
  • Why is my caramel so soft/hard? The caramel will be quite malleable when you’re handling or wrapping them. If it’s too soft to work with, place the candy in the fridge for about 45 minutes to 1 hour so they harden slightly. Note that if your caramel is feeling quite soft, you may have needed to cook your caramel a bit longer, exactly to 248 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the butter. Similarly, if your caramels came out too hard, you may have cooked them a bit too long! Monitoring the temperature of your caramels can be a bit mundane, but incredibly important for the perfect caramel chew and texture. 
  • How long do homemade caramels last? Once they’re cut and wrapped, the leftover caramels will stay fresh at room temperature for up to a few months, and longer if kept in the fridge!
Tips for the best homemade caramels
  • Watch the temperature - Don’t walk away or get distracted when making this caramels recipe! This could lead to it burning.
  • Use a candy thermometer - It’s the only way the ensure the caramel sauce has reached the optimal temperature of 248ºF.
  • Use a big pot - Caramel has the tendency of foaming up as it cooks, so use a large heavy-bottomed pot so the foam doesn’t spillover.
  • Always grease and line the baking pan - Because there’s nothing more heartbreaking than caramel stuck to your baking pan.
  • Wear gloves to wrap - Even clean hands can leave fingerprints when you’re handling or wrapping malleable caramel candy, which isn’t so great if you’re giving them away as gifts.
  • Have patience - You’ll need it while you wait for the caramel to set. Wait at least 8 hours before taking it out of the pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 273IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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