It's easy to learn how to make caramels, and I have got the perfect recipe! Brown Sugar Sea Salt Caramels are so delectable and sophisticated, yet simple and straightforward to make. Full of amazing flavor, they are a perfect homemade gift that is sure to impress.
Have you wanted to make caramel but realized that you were out of sugar, then headed over to google to ask "Can you make caramel with brown sugar?" Well the answer is YES! And trust me when I say, it is soooo much better! I've been making (and selling) this easy caramel recipe for years and always get rave reviews! Last year when my daughter and I did a little caramel fundraiser for a horse show and ended up selling 75 pounds of caramels. We called it caramelgeddon. Let's just say I couldn't feel my fingers after wrapping so many candies!
I love making candy, especially caramel. If you plan on making homemade gifts this year, or just looking to fill your candy bowl, I highly suggest making these Brown Sugar Caramels. Unlike most caramel recipes, where you have to stand over the stove for hours stirring, this recipe does not require constant stirring. You'll only need to stir occasionally until the end, when it needs a bit more attention.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE BROWN SUGAR SEA SALT CARAMELS
Here's why you will love making these homemade caramels with brown sugar:
- Using brown sugar instead of white gives these caramels a deep, complex rich caramel flavor.
- This recipe results in the best chewy caramels!
- This recipe requires just a handful of ingredients and unlike most caramel recipes, you don't have to stir it constantly!
- The sea salt flakes adds a level of sophistication and provides a great contrast to these sweet, buttery caramels.
- This brown sugar caramel is not just great on its own, but a fantastic base recipe for other desserts like caramel apples, homemade salted caramel sauce, or homemade caramel candy.
- Wrap the caramels up individually and bag them- they make wonderful holiday gifts anytime of the year!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS BROWN SUGAR CARAMELS RECIPE
- Light Brown sugar- you can use dark brown sugar but it will have a more molasses-y taste.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Light corn syrup
- Salt- if not using the flaked sea salt on the tops, add a teaspoon of salt to the sugar mixture when you add the vanilla.
- Vanilla extract or paste
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
- Parchment or cellophane wrappers
HOW TO MAKE BROWN SUGAR CARAMELS – TIPS AND TRICKS
- Make sure to use a tall heavy saucepan to avoid the mixture boiling over.
- Using non-stick candy wrappers is a must! I always use these caramel wrappers, as they are non-stick and and biodegradable. You can also cut parchment paper into squares and wrap the caramels in that. I love using the brown (natural) parchment paper because it looks pretty!
- Make sure that you add the sea salt flakes just before wrapping your caramels.
- Use good quality ingredients, especially the vanilla! I always make these with this vanilla bean paste. No only does it add so much amazing flavor, but I love that there are visible vanilla bean specks throughout.
- You will want to remove your mixture from the heat before adding in the vanilla, as it spits and can burn you.
BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
Don't be daunted by this recipe, these caramels are easy to make with the right tools and so delicious!
- Generously grease a large 9x13 inch glass baking dish or jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Make sure to get the bottom and sides of the pan.
- In a large heavy bottomed TALL pot, combine brown sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup and butter.
- Cook at medium heat until you candy thermometer reaches 250 (hard ball stage) degrees, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. When caramel gets to about 240 degrees you are going to need to stir constantly to avoid burning on the bottom of the pan, but it will only be for about 5 minutes until it reaches 250 degrees.
- Once caramel has reached the hard ball stage, remove from heat and add vanilla, and salt, stir a few more times to combine.
- CAREFULLY pour the hot caramel into prepared baking sheet or dish. Don't be tempted to stick your finger in it- this is coming from someone with experience. IT'S HOT!!!
- Let pan sit, untouched, and cool for 8 hours.
- Using a buttered knife (or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray) cut into small squares and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
- Wrap in wax paper or clear caramel wrappers.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN CARAMEL IS READY?
When making caramel, or any candy making for that matter, it is imperative that you monitor the temperature using a candy thermometer. The caramel will be ready to remove from heat when it reaches 250 degrees.
Important Tip ==> once the temperature reaches 235 degrees, the caramel enters 'soft ball' stage. From here it will only take a few minutes to get to the firm ball stage of 250 degrees, so you need to stir the caramel constantly.
You can also use the bowl of cold water test to check the consistency of the caramel. Just fill a cup or bowl with cold water, and then drizzle a small portion of the caramel mixture into the water. The caramel is ready if you can form it into a stable ball while remaining soft and pliable.
CARAMEL CANDY RECIPE WITH BROWN SUGAR SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
- Like I said above, this is a great base recipe. Add nuts to make it a nutty caramel like I did with these Polar Bear Claws or dip them in dark chocolate for a tasty treat. You can also substitute ⅓ of the cream with other liquids such as baileys creme, chocolate liquor, or even apple cider to make Apple Pie Caramels!
- If you have vanilla bean paste or can scrape a real vanilla bean, I highly recommend it.
- If you're looking to make a salted caramel sauce, cook the caramel until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage of 235 degrees or until it has thickened and coats the back of your spoon. Add the vanilla and salt and pour into a glass jar to cool completely. The sauce will thicken more as it cools. Once cooled, cover jar and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
- This recipe can easily be halved and poured into a prepared loaf pan.
- Maldon flaked sea salt is my favorite garnishing salt, but you can also use coarse sea salt, fleur de sel, or even smoked sea salt flakes!
BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL RECIPE FAQs
How many pounds of caramel does this recipe make?
I've been making this recipe for years, so I've got this down to a T! This recipe makes 4 pounds of wrapped individual caramels that are about 1x1 inches each. When I'm gifting them, I typically put about 20 caramels in each bag or pillow box which usually equates to 8 ounces each. For the holidays, I purchase little boxes and fill them with about a pound (or 40 wrapped caramels) in each box.
Why are my wrapped caramels greasy.
This is normal. After a couple of days, the grease from the butter will make the caramel wrappers a bit greasy. They are still good to eat! Make sure to have a wet paper towel around while you are wrapping to wipe your hands periodically. This will help keep the wrappers grease free.
If you're gifting the caramels and placing in individual containers, I recommend refrigerating the wrapped pieces in a large airtight container or ziplock bag until you are ready to assemble the bags or boxes and gift to the recipients.
Can I ship these brown sugar sea salt caramels?
YES! This recipe is perfect for shipping! I've sent boxes all the way to Afghanistan and they arrived in great condition and still delicious!
Can you make this recipe with white sugar?
I've done a side by side comparison with my aunt's white sugar recipe and my caramel recipe with brown sugar, and I can confidently say these are better. While I have never made this recipe with granulated sugar, I've made other caramel recipes with it and they are a lot more complex with a cream mixture and require more stirring time. You also have to wipe down the pan often with a pastry brush to avoid sugar crystals. Trust me- stick with this recipe and I promise you won't be disappointed!
MORE RECIPES WITH BROWN SUGAR SEA SALT CARAMEL
Did you love learning how to make caramels? Then you'll want to check out my post on How To Make Ladyfingers. And if you're in the mood for even more caramel goodness, try this recipe for Caramel Apple Pie Cake, or whip up a batch of these amazing Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls.
Delicious and sophisticated, these Brown Sugar Sea Salt Caramels are the perfect homemade gift.
- 4 cups brown sugar
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups light corn syrup
- 2 sticks Plugrá Butter (16 tbsp)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoon vanilla
- Sea Salt Flakes
Generously grease a large 9x13 inch glass dish or jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large heavy bottomed TALL pot, combine brown sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter.
Cook at medium heat until you candy thermometer reaches 250 (hard ball stage) degrees, stirring frequently.
When caramel gets to about 240 degrees you are going to need to stir constantly, but it will only be for about 5 minutes until it reaches 250 degrees.
Once caramel has reached hard ball stage, remove from heat and add vanilla, and salt, stir a few more times to combine.
CAREFULLY pour caramel into greased pan.
Let sit and cool for 3 hours.
Cut into small squares and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
Wrap in wax paper or clear caramel wrappers.
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