Be careful: you will not be able to stop eating these once you start!
Homemade sea salt vanilla caramels. Hold on for a minute if you read that and thought there’s no way you could make these mouth-wateringly yummy candies yourself – you totally can! You already have most of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe in your fridge or pantry, then it’s just a matter of stirring everything together while it cooks on the stove. That’s it, homemade caramel.
Now, we will say it’s helpful to have a candy thermometer to make these bad boys, but it’s definitely not a necessity. The crux of making them is combining your ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and then stirring for 10-15 minutes (so the sugar doesn’t burn) until the mixture bubbles and thickens and turns a deep golden amber color. Once it does, add your sea salt or any other flavorings you want to throw in there, then pour it into a baking dish to cool. You’re done! Let your caramel reach room temperature, then slice it up. You’ll be shocked by how good it is – way, wayyy better than store-bought – and everyone who tries them will think you bought them from a candy shop…these disappear quickly though, so make sure to make a big batch and save some for yourselves!
Sea Salt Vanilla Caramels
Serves 4 dozen; 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing dish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- sea salt, garnish
- candy thermometer
- pastry brush
- [Note: calibrate candy thermometer by attaching it to saucepan (making sure it’s not touching bottom of pan) and bring a large pot of water to boil for 10 minutes. Depending on your boiling point (which varies based on altitude, but standard is 212º F), check what the thermometer says when the water is at a full boil; if the thermometer reads under 212º F (or whatever the boiling point is typically for your region), make sure to add that many degrees to whatever you’re cooking so that it’s accurate. On the flip side, if your thermometer reads over 212º F when it’s at a rolling boil, make sure to subtract the difference in degrees from whatever it is you’re cooking.]
- Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease it with butter.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stir together heavy cream, sugars and corny syrup. Stir constantly so sugar dissolves and doesn’t burn; it will be thick.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then dip your pastry brush in water and brush down the sides of your saucepan. Attach candy thermometer, just make sure that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan (which will give you an inaccurate temperature), and heat mixture to 245º F, swirling pan occasionally. 8-10 minutes. Mixture should be deep golden brown.
- Remove pan from heat and season with salt, vanilla extract and butter, stirring continuously. Butter will cause mixture to spit and bubble, so be careful as you stir.
- Once butter is incorporated, pour caramel into greased baking dish and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Let cool completely.
- Once cool, lift caramel out of baking dish and peel away aluminum foil. Use a pizza cutter (lightly greased with non-stick spray, if desired), and cut caramels into squares or rectangles. Wrap with wax or parchment paper and store in an air-tight container. Enjoy!