Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 10, 2012 10:16 AM

Homemade caramels that will keep for a couple of weeks?

I'd like to give homemade sea salt caramels this year, but I'd like to make them now. Some won't be given till several days after Christmas. Anyone know a good recipe I can make now that will keep? (Or maybe this isn't a concern and any recipe will be okay? I've made caramels before, but only once. I do have a candy thermometer.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    apple cider caramels
    (these are amazing!

    pumpkin caramels
    (note: don't skip the seed topping, really makes the difference

    pomm caramels
    (note: I used pom molasses straight from the bottle-bought at the Indian market)

    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      I need to finally make those smitten kitchen caramels; I have jar after jar of boiled cider in the kitchen, all ready to go, and need to start using it :).

      1. re: girlwonder88

        Cute, girlw! Those caramels are so good!

    2. I think maybe once i actually made enough of these caramels that they were around for more than a week...but they tend to disappear too fast at our house for me to know their actual shelf life. I do keep therm in the fridge, just to be sure.

      I got this recipe from Chowhound, but I can't find the original thread anymore, so I can't credit the original source--sorry!

      Fleur de Sel Caramels

      1 cup half-and-half
      1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
      3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel (2-1/4 tsp. if you use unsalted butter)
      1 pound superfine sugar (about 2-3/4 cups)
      1/4 cup corn syrup

      Bring the half-and-half, butter and fleur de sel to boil in a heavy, 3-quart saucepan (watch it as it comes to a boil—it will boil over fast). Set aside.

      Stir together the sugar and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a temperature of 293 degrees F. on a candy thermometer over medium heat. As the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan often until all the sugar is melted. Don't stir at this stage or you will risk introducing crystals and ruining the smooth texture.

      Remove the pan from the heat and add the half-and-half mixture (it will boil up quite a bit, so make sure you're using a large enough pan). Set the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to 248 degrees F., stirring frequently. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. (The mixture will look like a caramel sauce.).

      Pour into an 8-inch-square pan (a silicon pan makes the caramels easy to remove when cooled) and allow to set overnight.

      After the caramel has completely cooled, turn it out on a cutting board. Cut the caramel into 36 pieces and wrap individually. Store in a dry place.

      Servings: 36 caramels.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MsMaryMc

        Woo hoo!! My caramels just won the prize for "yummiest" in the dessert contest at my husband's office holiday party! The $50 iTunes gift card prize is nice, but what I really enjoy is crushing the competition (who, me, viciously competitive??)

      2. I really can't think of any caramel recipe that wouldn't keep at room temp for at least a month, but if you are concerned, all the homemade caramels I've ever made freeze beautifully.

        1 Reply
        1. re: biondanonima

          Thanks--that'll make me not worry.

        2. I've made the recipe in Bittman's How to Cook Everything many times. It's easy, comes out great, and gets raves from people I give them to. You'd just need to add your fleur de sel.

          Here it is:

          15 Replies
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Would you still add the salt in the caramel if you were using sea salt to top it? How long would you wait to add the sea salt once the caramel has been poured into the prepared pan?

            1. re: monavano

              I tried sprinkling sea salt on top of my last batch, right after I poured it up. I didn't reduce the salt in the mix, so this was extra, and it still wasn't too salty. But the salt was relatively fine-grained, and by the time the caramels had cooled, it had just melted away. I still want the crunch, so next time I'll try a more coarse-grained kosher salt, and see if that holds up. Or maybe waiting longer to add sprinkle on the salt? I hadn't thought about that, but it might help.

              1. re: MsMaryMc

                Thank you.
                Anyone have input about the best wrappers? Do you use parchment paper (oh, can't wait to cut all those little wrappers?) or anything that works really well?

                1. re: monavano

                  We actually found that paper cupcake wrappers work great for wrapping caramels. They come in all sorts of colors and prints and if you place the candy dead center and roll on an angle, twisting both ends you get the perfect coverage without all the pre-cutting you would need to do with parchment.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    That is a fantastic idea. Thanks!

                    1. re: monavano

                      I've used two kinds of wrappers specifically made for candy.

                      Waxed paper wrappers, very easy to use and extremely nonstick (for bite-size caramels, I just cut these in half crosswise):

                      Foil candy wrappers, like this:

                      I've bought these from my local cake/candy supplies shops, but they're readily available via mail order. If I do any for the holidays this year, they'll be wrapped in the foil wrappers, as I already have those in various colors.

                      1. re: monavano

                        I've used these clear cellophane wrappers from . You can see the candies through them and they don't stick to the wrappers at all.

                        Their website is miserable for finding or linking to things, but you can search for them under "cellophane candy wrapping sheets" and scroll down that page.

                        Actually, I've found a place in town (Seattle) where you can buy the same thing--Home Cake Decorating Supply up in Roosevelt. But if you don't have a specialty store where you live, Sugarcraft is a good choice.

                    2. re: monavano

                      I would definitely still add the pinch of salt in the caramel mixture, because it'll be better balanced. If you want to add flaky salt to the top of the caramels, I'd wait a couple of hours after pouring, until the surface is tacky, so the salt won't just sink in as MsMaryMc describes. I don't put the pan in the fridge to set up, I just stick it somewhere cool, like my unheated laundry room.

                      If you use a metal baking pan, I do recommend lining it with foil (what I've done) or parchment and lightly oiling it. Next time I'll use the 8x8 silicone pan that was a gift but is (IMO) no good for baking.

                    3. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      One thing I'd like to mention about the Bittman recipe I linked, or any other plain caramel recipe that calls for light corn syrup, is that if you can find it at your local stores, I recommend using Lyle's golden syrup instead. It works similarly for the purposes of the recipe (inhibiting crystallization), but its caramel-ish flavor improves the flavor of the caramels.

                      I also have liked Bittman's chocolate caramels variation: Just add 4 ounces of chopped unsweetened chocolate (a decent brand, not Baker's) to the basic recipe. They're delicious in a dark chocolate, more adult way.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Re the Lyle's and the 3 recipes I posted for caramels, I've made them with Lyle's and with corn syrup and the corn syrup does a better job of staying in the background and not interfering with the flavors. So, to the OP if you try the recipes I recommended consider the original recipe before substituting.

                        And for pennies on the dollar the brown natural cupcake wrappers don't require mail order or a fancy coating. The caramels don't stick. Love a repurposed product!

                        Happy caramel cooking, all!

                        1. re: HillJ

                          HillJ, that is why I specifically said "the Bittman recipe I linked, or any other plain caramel recipe" in my post. Definitely, corn syrup offers a neutral flavor that may be preferable in flavored caramels.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Yes, I understand Cailtin. I just wanted to make sure the OP or anyone else considering the 3 recipes I linked was clear or at least had the benefit of my experience making those versions. I have not made the Bittman recipe as you had linked but look forward to and I'll give the Lyle's a try per your rec.

                      2. I like the HTCE recipie, but I have a note in my files that I liked this one better (sorry it's been a while since I made them so I'm not remembering why)...

                        I used the salt called for in it and also dusted the top with fleur de sel. The only problem I found when kept to long was they started to get grainy, guess I have to eat them quicker:


                        Ps, I have a note I also added 1 tsp vanilla near the end of cooking.