Coconut Milk Caramels

By • December 23, 2010 • 22 Comments



Author Notes: I wanted to make a coconut milk-based caramel with a distinct coconut flavor. I searched for a recipe and found an interesting vegan one: http://dicedtomato.blogspot.com/2010/01/updated-coconut-milk-caramels.html. I wanted to use butter, though (since I had purchased 4 lbs of unsalted butter from Costco for my caramel making extravaganza). I also wanted to use less corn syrup and increase the coconut factor. I decided to top the caramels with lightly toasted unsweetened flaked coconut, and add some vanilla and coconut extract as well. hardlikearmour

Food52 Review: These caramels are delicious. They're velvety with a perfectly balanced coconut flavor, distinct but not overpowering. The instructions were clear and the caramels were easy to make. The toasted coconut added a welcomed crunch to a well-balanced bite. I will be making these again and again, and many family members may be getting some for Christmas!Marcal

Makes about 100 caramels (9- by 13-inch pan)

  • 1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk (I used Chaokoh brand)
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter replacement)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond brand preferred)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (or replace with an additional teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup lightly toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, so the paper is only going up 2 opposite sides (essentially forming a sling to remove the caramels with later). Spray with neutral-flavored cooking spray.
  2. Combine coconut milk, butter, and salt in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat while preparing the sugar mixture.
  3. Dissolve the cream of tartar in the water in a 6-quart stockpot. Add in the sugar and corn syrup, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling, you will need to keep a pretty close eye on the pan. If you are using a candy thermometer, you will notice the mixture hovers near the boiling point for a while then starts to climb fairly rapidly. As the mixture approaches 310 degrees F, you will want to start swirling it fairly frequently as caramelization is imminent. Once the caramel color is to your liking, remove the pan from heat. The pan will retain some heat, so I like to remove the caramelized sugar mixture from the heat at about 325-330º F, or when it is a golden brown color.
  4. Slowly pour the warm coconut mixture into the the sugar mixture. It will boil violently and create hot steam, so use caution. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar syrup has completely dissolved into the cream.
  5. Return the caramel mixture to medium-high heat and bring the mixture up to 244-245º F, or lower end of firm ball stage (if you drop about a 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into a bowl of refrigerator cold water it should form a ball, that is not soft but still malleable.) Stir often, scraping the bottom of the pan. As you get close to your target temperature, you may want to turn the heat down to low if you are using a gas stove, or completely off if you are using an electric stove to slow things down. Your caramels can go from too soft to tooth-breaking within a short timeframe. You will also want to stir almost continuously as you get close to your target temperature to prevent burning.
  6. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and coconut extracts. Pour the caramel mixture into a prepared 9- by 13-inch pan. Immediately sprinkle the surface of the caramel with an even layer of the toasted coconut; lightly press the coconut into the surface of the caramel using a pancake turner to help get maximum adherence. Allow to cool at room temperature until barely warm to the touch. Use parchment paper to remove from the pan, then cut caramel into 1-inch squares, or whatever size pieces you prefer. I find the caramels easier to cut if they are slightly warm, and I spray my knife with a little bit of cooking spray. Wrap individually with waxed paper, and store in an airtight container.
  7. Note: Caramel making is a bit trial-and-error, based on humidity and other factors. If your caramels come out too soft, modify the final temperature up 1 to 4 degrees. If they come out too hard, modify down. This recipe scales down by half to an 8-inch square pan if you want to make a smaller amount or feel like experimenting!
Jump to Comments (22)

Tags: candy, caramels

Comments (22) Questions (0)

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Stringio

4 months ago Natalie Kimble

Hi, I know it's been a long time since this was posted, but I wonder if you think honey would work instead of the corn syrup? I am very excited to find a dairy-free caramel recipe!! Thank you!

Gator_cake

4 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I've only made the caramels with butter, but the recipe was based on a vegan one so I assume Earth's Balance will work. The corn syrup is just to help prevent the sugar from crystallizing, and I think honey would work instead, but have never tried it.

Stringio

4 months ago Natalie Kimble

Thanks so much for your reply. I can handle butter just not cream and milk so I'll use that, and will give the honey a shot!

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over 1 year ago Summer of Eggplant

Thank you for this.

Gator_cake

over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

You are welcome.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 1 year ago lapadia

This is mouthwatering, love your caramels, love coconut, they are THE best ever...all flavors!!

Gator_cake

over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you!!

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over 2 years ago Cookie16

My goodness these look good! I'm so glad I found these!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, cookie16! I hope you'll try making them.

Dscn3372

almost 3 years ago MaryMaryCulinary

I can't wait to make these! How long do they keep, wrapped and airtight? i was thinking of sending some by post so I don't eat all 100 pieces myself!

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I'm pretty sure they'd last at least 2 weeks tightly wrapped. I hope you get a chance to make them!

Me

almost 3 years ago wssmom

So deserving of a CP!

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, wssmom! I was thinking the same thing about your black & white cookies.

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, Marcal, for such lovely testing notes!

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

YUM! I love the idea of coconut milk caramels and am not sure how I've missed these before.

Gator_cake

almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, gingerroot! I'm a huge coconut fan so I had to make them.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I just stumbled upon this and saved it - will try it out at work next week. Looks heavenly.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Let me know how you like them! I think they are a good combo of caramel and coconut flavor, but would love your opinion on them.

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Your house must smell wonderful these days with all of the caramel ... love these! I have never made caramels but it may be time to start.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

you should give it a go, especially if you like baking and/or chemistry & don't have ADHD.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! If you try them let me know how it goes, I know caramel-making can be fussy so I would like to know if my instructions are okay!

Cakecake

over 3 years ago campagnes

ooh, MAN, I have got to make these! They sound delicious!