Ooey-gooey, rich and creamy, silky-smooth caramel. When the fall season arrives, we start craving these golden-colored treats available in many forms…caramel candy, caramel apples, caramel kettle corn, caramel dip and caramel drizzle.
How about skipping the box and making your own decadent caramels? Don’t worry if you are new to candy making. We can help. Caramel candy is actually quite easy to make, and can be a showstopping, thoughtful and inexpensive holiday gift.
Caramels are so good, it’s difficult to eat just one. Luckily with these tidbits in mind (a couple of which came from our 1951 vintage cookbook, Sue’s Candy Kettle and Some of Her Success Secrets ,) you can make as many as you wish. You’ll be harnessing your inner candy maker in no time, faster than you can say “Willy Wonka.”
- Use the perfect pot. Use a large pot so your sticky mixture doesn’t boil over and create a hard-to-clean-up mess. However, be sure the caramel will fill the pan deep enough for a good thermometer reading.
- Control the crystals. Crystallization may be controlled by increasing the amount of corn syrup, by stirring the cooking mixture only enough to keep it from sticking and to thoroughly mix the ingredients. Most recipes will require high heat, which reduces the chance of both crystals forming and ruining the caramel.
- Don’t overcook your caramels. Variations in temperature and length of stove top time can produce a too-tough or chewy caramel. Because a high cooking temperature is sometimes required, you must stay by your pot at all times to make sure it doesn’t burn – don’t walk away!
- Fix a tough caramel. If your caramel is too tough, slightly increase the amount of cream or butter, or cook the caramel a few degrees lower.
- Cool the caramel. Make sure to let your caramel fully cool before you cut it into bite-sized pieces.
We’ve gathered several of our best caramel recipes for you to try—just in time for fall.
Homemade Caramels – It doesn’t get better than this. Classic caramels with a rich, soft texture. This recipe is easily changeable by adding different extracts, such as coconut, almond or hazelnut. Wrap them individually in small squares of wax paper for the perfect holiday gift.
Caramallows – All we can say is: chocolate, marshmallow and caramel. It’s an amazing trifecta – and an indulgent bite-sized dessert that will wow your friends and family.
Irish Cream Microwave Soft Caramels – Short on time (and a stove top?) You can make these super simple Irish Cream Caramel Candies in a microwave.
Mini Caramel Apples – Armed with these goodies, you will be the hit of any fall party. For these fall-decorated mini caramel apples, you’ll use the same techniques you use when making caramel candy. These fit the bill for when you don’t want a whole caramel apple or when you are trying to please a crowd of picky eaters.
Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramels – Bacon, chocolate and caramel – why not? Christmas will be extra cheery when you leave these confections out for Santa. Dark chocolate wraps rich, buttery caramels topped with candied bacon pieces.
For 131 candy recipes including more caramel-type confections, be sure to visit the candy section of our website.