Sea Salt Caramels

Here is yet another recipe that I waited so long to try, though I’m not sure why. You’ve likely seen variations of homemade caramels all across the web— I have— and they all look incredible. Turns out they are very easy to make!

All homemade caramels require is some basic ingredients, a candy thermometer and stove top, and a little courage.

Sea Salt Caramels

Sea Salt Caramels

Don’t be afraid of candy making. I know thermometers and boiling sugar sound scary, but it’s something that any home cook can easily manage. The most important thing to remember is that candy making and multitasking do not mix. This is not the time to check your email or put on some mascara.

Keep a close watch and follow the recipe’s instructions and you’ll be fine. Your stove top does the dirty work, you just have to supervise. Remove the caramel from the heat at exactly the instructed temperature and you’ll have perfectly chewy, rich caramels you won’t be able to stop eating. I know this because mine are all gone, I ate them all.

Sea Salt Caramels

I love what the sea salt adds to these caramels, it’s a perfect marriage of “sweet and salty”. I used “fleur de sel”, a fine (and expensive) sea salt that I have in my pantry for special occasions. But any coarse salt will do just fine. I think the salty addition to these caramels makes them extra addictive, so watch out!

The caramel “swirl”

This recipe and others where sugar is caramelized instruct you to “swirl” the pan to ensure even browning, and not to stir. When you first combine your ingredients in the saucepan over the heat, stir for a minute just until the sugar is dissolved. Then put down your spatula and resist the urge to stir the sugar as is cooks. If you do, you’ll end up with a huge mess.

Instead, while you’re watching the sugar, if it looks like areas of the pan are browning faster than others, simply lift the pan by the handle and use your wrist to swirl the contents around. This will keep your caramel evenly browned, and I do it often. When your caramel has reached that perfect amber color, remove it from the heat, you don’t want it to burn.

Sea Salt Caramels

Sea Salt Caramels
Chewy homemade caramels with a hint of sea salt.
Yield: 64 caramels
  • 1 cup (236 ml) heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or other coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1½ cup (300 grams) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream, butter, and salt to just a boil. Keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water together in a separate sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, stop stirring and let simmer until mixture turns an amber color. Watch closely that it doesn't burn, and swirl the pan as needed so that the mixture caramelizes evenly.
  4. Remove from heat and add the cream mixture slowly while whisking constantly. Mixture will bubble violently. Once combined, stir in the vanilla. Return to heat and insert candy thermometer. Let cook, without stirring, until thermometer reaches 248 degrees F.
  5. Immediately pour mixture into prepared pan and let sit for 2 hours until firm. Sprinkle with additional salt and cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp greased knife. Wrap in 4-inch wax paper squares. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Note: Fleur de sel can be found a fine grocery stores. Any other coarse sea salt can be substituted just fine.

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10 Responses to Sea Salt Caramels

  1. Tamar says:

    Oh those look deee-lish-oos! Love me some caramels. Unfortunately, I don’t – yet! – have a candy thermometer. But I will, now that this recipe is bookmarked.
    On a side note, I have to say you are my favorite instagram feed. John is just the cutest!

  2. These sound so lovely! What a perfect little treat 🙂

  3. This is one of my favorite holiday treats. My mom’s friend Mary would make them every year as her holiday gift to the family and they definitely didn’t last long around the house. Every time I’ve tried to make them I goof them up so your tip with the swirl I hope comes in handy. And the salt is just icing on the cake. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

  4. I’ve never made caramel before but I’ve been dying to try them. Your recipe will be the one. They look delicious.

  5. Kalyn says:

    My mom always made caramels at Christmas, and yours sound even better!

  6. Oh my! These look amazing! Sea salt – yep, my Hubby will go crazy for these!

  7. Can’t believe you were brave enough to snap a pic while it was boiling away like that! I’d be way too nervous to try that one…

    These look absolutely incredible!

  8. Maria says:

    I don’t think I can make these. I would eat way too many:)

  9. A.T. says:

    Awesome! Just to say two things though. First of all, a candy thermometer and a meat thermometer are the same thing, save temperatures. Candy thermometers can read temperatures accurately read temperatures above 200 Celcius, whereas meat thermometers are much more limited. You’re not dealing with anything near those temperatures though, so a meat thermometer will work fine (not to mention it’s all some people have).
    Second, a cup is 250ml, not 236.

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