Homemade Caramels

If you like caramels, this is a great recipe. When refrigerated, they are almost hard as a rock. When in your mouth, they literally melt.

I usually put all ingredients into a 4 1/2 qt pot, and start the heat on just under medium. The sugar must be dissolved before you crank up the heat.

I don’t even put my thermometer in until it begins to boil.

You will need a candy thermometer for this. Brach’s? Ha! Russell Stover? Don’t make me laugh. I also use a meat thermometer with a probe that is a little more exact. I used a clothespin to attach it to the pot. Be sure to keep probe well into the mixture; not the foam.

2 C white sugar

1 C brown sugar, packed

1 C white corn syrup

1 C evaporated milk

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 C butter (2 sticks)

1 1/4 tsp vanilla (added after boil)

First, prepare your pan into which you will cool your candy. A 9×11 cake pan works well. Be sure to line it with buttered HD foil. Don’t skimp on the butter. Corners, sides, bottom coat them well.


Put all ingredients (except vanilla) in a medium size sauce pan. I use a 4 1/2 quart pot.


Just starting to boil


Temp about 200


See how high it got? It won’t get any higher than this. As the water boils out of the caramel, the volume will decrease, lowering the level in the pot. The heat is now on 7 (med-hi).

The temp will get up to just under 220, and stay there for half an hour. You must stir constantly.

Melt butter and heat to combine and dissolve sugars. This will take 45 minutes to reach temperature of 240° F. You must stir constantly. It boils up within an inch of my current pot. I have ordered a slightly larger, tapered pot for this batch.

When you attain the temp, remove from heat, add extract and stir in, then pour into buttered pan, unless you are making turtles¹. Allow to cool completely. I put it in the fridge for an hour or so. I have also been known to sprinkle coarse sea salt on top after it sets a little.


Remove your foil filled candy from pan and upside down it on cutting board. Peel off your foil. Cut strips to your liking, then cut those into cubes or whatever form you want them. I wrap 6″ long strips about 3/4 inch cubed and cut as necessary.



If you like turtles, now is the time to make them just before the caramel is poured into your pan.

To prepare, you must lay out wax paper with a couple two-three pecans. You must make several piles/groups of them; as many as you want. Drizzle your melted caramel over your pecans. Then later, drizzle melted chocolate from your double boiler over your caramel and pecans. Allow to cool.


Melting chocolate. I used 4 chunks of the almond bark and 1/2 slab paraffin, and about 3 C semi sweet chocolate chips.



Final note: don’t use wax paper for the turtles. The caramel is too hot and the cooled turtle will take wax paper when it is separated. Try parchment paper or lightly sprayed cookie sheet (last resort). Still tasted good but what a pain.

My most recent batch of Millionaires used cupcake cups, sprayed with your choice of cooking spray. I put 5-6 pecan halves then poured a goodly blob of melted caramel, then topped with said melted chocolate. The spray will keep them from sticking.

I keep a chunk of melted chocolate year round. It won’t go bad. When I am done with whatever; bonbons, millionaires, peanut clusters, I pour melted chocolate into clean cottage cheese or sour cream container, place in fridge and let cool. When hardened, just put into a Ziploc bag for next time. Additives in chocolate chip concoction can be shortening and paraffin. Either or both will help thin the mixture some.

A double boiler is almost necessary as the stuff will burn if put directly over heat.

Note: if you allow your caramel  mixture to go above 240, it will be harder after it cools. Make 240 your target temp; no higher than 245. When attained, remove from heat immediately.

‘Nuther note: the last batch I cooked to 238°. After overnight in the fridge, it was still soft, but delicious. The foil was difficult to remove.

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