Sarah Kieffer, Minneapolis blogger and author of Baking for the Holidays, thinks homemade caramels are the bee's knees. While she enjoys a basic caramel as much as anyone else, she highly recommend trying her orange, espresso and salted variations.

Source: Midwest Living


Credit: Carson Downing

Recipe Summary

1 hr
3 hrs
24 large or 48 small caramels


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Grease an 8×4-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper so the paper comes up all sides and has about a 2-inch overhang on each side.

  • In a heavy large saucepan (the caramel will bubble up quite a bit once it starts cooking, so it's important to have a deep pan), combine sugar, corn syrup, the water and salt. Heat over medium-high, stirring very gently to combine while trying to avoid getting any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Cover and bring to a boil until sugar has melted and mixture is clear, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until mixture has turned light golden and reaches 300°, 6 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cook until deep golden and 340°, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Immediately remove pan from heat and add cream and butter. (The cream will foam up considerably, so be careful pouring it in.)

  • Return pan to heat. Cook over medium-high until caramel reaches desired stage, 4 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. For soft, melt-in-your-mouth caramels, cook until 248°; for firmer caramels with a bit more chew, cook until 252°. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Let stand until bubbles subside, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Carefully pour caramel into prepared loaf pan. Gently tap pan on the counter a few times to eliminate any air bubbles. Cool completely, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill 1 hour.

  • Using the parchment paper, lift caramel out of pan. Peel away paper and place caramel on a cutting board. Cut caramel in half lengthwise, then cut each half into twelve 2-inch pieces to make 24 rectangular pieces. Candies can be left as rectangles, or cut again into squares, for a total of 48 pieces. Individually wrap each caramel in wax paper or plastic wrap, twisting the ends closed. Store wrapped caramels in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.


Add 1 tablespoon triple sec and 2 teaspoons orange zest to caramel mixture with the vanilla.


Add 1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder and 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee to caramel mixture with the vanilla.


Top each cut piece of caramel with a sprinkle of fleur de sel before wrapping.

Packaging How-To

If you'd like to DIY the metallic crepe paper bags seen here, find the instructions at

Nutrition Facts

147 calories; fat 7g; cholesterol 22mg; saturated fat 5g; carbohydrates 21g; mono fat 2g; sugars 21g; vitamin a 272.5IU; vitamin c 0.1mg; folate 0.6mcg; sodium 57mg; potassium 14mg; calcium 10mg.