How to make Homemade Caramel:
Things you will need:
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Small pot- stainless steel works well
- Candy thermometer or laser reader or both
- Parchment paper, tinfoil works also
- Small walled cookie sheet or casserole pan
Sugar syrup base:
1 cup Sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
3 tbs water
½ cup Butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla liquid
½ cup heavy cream at least 36% butterfat
Before you start making anything. Get your pan ready for caramel. Line a high walled cookie sheet or small casserole pan with parchment paper or tinfoil if its all you have. Brush or grease somehow the entire parchment paper with butter. Set aside.
Get your ingredients measured out. You should melt your butter beforehand and have it ready with your cream in a small bowl or measuring cup.
Now you can start making caramel.
Heat your sugar syrup base to 320 degrees in a small pot. You will want to dissolve all your sugar. Brush down the sides with a pastry brush, if it gets on the sides of the pot. You will want to use a candy thermometer or laser temperature guide for each step in this candy making process.
The second step is very important to watch the temperature. Add your vanilla,heavy milk and butter-already melted. You do not want this part to get up to 320, you will want this part of the process to ONLY HIT 245 degrees. And this is why.
If you look at the side of a candy thermometer it will show you the following chart.
This chart will be in Fahrenheit.
220 degrees – Jelly
230 degrees- Syrup
240 degrees- Fudge
240 degrees- Soft Ball
250 degrees- Firm Ball
260 degrees-Hard Ball
280 degrees-Soft Crack
300 degrees- Hard Crack
The ball stages are what you are looking for with caramel. You most likely want a soft ball caramel, so make sure to not get it over 240 degrees, when you put the heavy cream and butter, it will triple in size and you will want that. When it changes color into that great caramel color with the addition of the caramel makings, cook it until it hits 245 degrees throughout and pour into an already lined and butter greased baking sheet with walls, or a small pan.
This is the time you could sprinkle with salt, when its sitting cooling. You may want to wait until it reads 100 degrees to do that, so it only sits on the top and not settle to the bottom while its too hot. Let sit until it gets cool to about 70 degrees and cut into squares. It can be saved by wrapping in parchment paper, and use twist ties to save. You can put into a tin and even send some to friends. Caramel can last in the fridge for up to 3 weeks I believe. Hope you have some fun making some caramel. I know it may not be the healthiest treat, and its the only rare time I EVER use corn syrup, but its so worth the bad ingredients.
If you must go vegan to make this, try using coconut cream instead of heavy whipping cream. I have actually tried a brand name vegan caramel made with this. Its called “ COCAMELS” and they were interestingly yummy, but still high in sugar.
And use vegan or soy butter substitute for butter. When it comes to the corn syrup you could probably use brown rice syrup instead. I am sure that it could be a little bit darker, but as far as syrups go, I think that brown rice syrup has high sugar content, as does corn syrup, which is key for a great caramel. I have actually tried making vegan caramel with maple syrup and date paste instead of sugar, but it did not taste like the real thing at all.
Here are some pictures of caramel that I have made. I am sure that as soon as I get some money or food stamps I will be making some again.