Firm Caramel -- for many wonderful caramel things!

April 15, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Makes many, many caramels (depending on desired size)
What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup (scant) heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8” x 8” square metal or glass pan, and lightly butter the foil.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Allow to remain at a vigorous simmer, without stirring, until the mixture turns a medium amber color, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cream, butter, and salt. The mixture will bubble wildly, but stir slowly with a heat-resistant rubber spatula, or a wooden spoon, until completely blended and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, and allow to set at room temperature, about 1 hour.
  6. Remove from the pan, peel away the foil, and cut into desired uses.
  7. Salted Caramel: immediately after pouring hot caramel into the pan, sprinkle the surface of the caramel with flaky sea salt. Allow to set, then cut into small, ¾” squares or rectangles.
  8. Caramel-on-a-Stick: Once the 8 x 8 block of caramel is set, cut into 8 equal rectangles, 2” x 4”. Cut each rectangle across the diagonal, into 2 right triangles. Insert a lollipop stick into the bottom end of each triangle. Optional: Dip the triangles in melted dark chocolate.
  9. Nutty Little Caramel Logs: Before pouring hot caramel into the prepared pan, stir in 1 cup of chopped pecans or cashews, then pour into pan. Once set, cut caramel into ¾” wide strips, then into 1” long pieces. Roll each piece into a log. Wrap each log in clear cellophane and twist the ends.
  10. Big Caramel Logs: Pour the plain hot caramel into the prepared pan, and allow to set ½ hour. Cut it in half, and roll each half into a thick log. Roll the log in chopped pecans or cashews, pressing the nuts into the surface of the caramel log. Allow to set until completely cool, and firm. To serve, slice the log crosswise, into round discs of caramel, framed by chopped nuts.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Annette Lowrie
    Annette Lowrie
  • Lisa Erb
    Lisa Erb
  • helicopterina
  • enbe
  • mrslarkin

8 Reviews

Sean M. December 23, 2019
I’m about a half hour into trying to dissolve the sugar mixture. Not sure the proportions are correct. I’ve never had this problem before. If it does take that long it should be mentioned in the recipe.
Annette L. December 10, 2017
What temperature do I want the mixture to reach, please?
Cindy August 12, 2017
This worked perfectly. I doubled the recipe, it cooked up nicely, I put it in a 9 x 13 pan, cooled it for 30 minutes on the counter and 30 minutes in the fridge and cut it into strips, then 1 inch pieces. A very large sharp knife is needed to cut caramel quickly. I took one of the strips formed a log and rolled it into crushed. salted peanuts. Wrapped all the cut pieces in small pieces of wax paper. Very good flavor and texture for a firm caramel.
If I had chocolate to melt, I would have covered some of the pieces.
Thank you for the great recipe!
Lisa E. March 5, 2016
Big fail the first time - it was way overcooked, so then the next time, they were slightly undercooked...caramel was too thin for pretzel dipping as I had originally intended, so now I am going to use the caramel for a different project. Going to bake a pan of sugar cookies and pour caramel over it and then melted chocolate- should be good!
sally1102 May 2, 2011
How do I store these after making them? I want to send them to my mom for Mother's Day but I don't want them to go bad or melt before they get there.
helicopterina April 19, 2011
made these and they were GREAT fun to create and tasted delish. need lots of practice,tho, and work on bettering candy techniques so they don't all droop and stick together (despite liberal use of wax paper between layers...and despite trying to 'arrest' the spread of each piece thru refrigeration.
enbe April 18, 2011
Just tried them out- my first time making any candy. I think I over cooked them a bit but the recipe is a great starting point for a beginner like me. Thanks :)
mrslarkin April 15, 2011
These sound delicious and easy!! Thanks for the video, too! I might actually overcome my fear of making caramel now. :)