Do you love soft caramels? If you are new to candy making or are just looking for a new treat recipes, this soft caramel recipe is the one you should be trying out! You can use the main recipe and turn it into 3 different flavors…or possibly more if you are adventurous! These are all the ones I have made and know are irresistible.
Why I love making soft caramels…
For as far back as I can remember, my mom made soft caramels. It was our yearly Christmas tradition. My mom would make a few pans of honey caramels, and we would all be enlisted to wrap them once they were cut and ready to go. I spent many hours wrapping caramels and fudge. And every year, people would start asking when they were going to get their yummy treats. Its something that is just in my blood and as mom, and an adult….I find that its one of my favorite things to do during the holidays.
Yet these days, I have taken on a new kind of soft caramels. I think 30 years of eating honey caramels wore on me a bit. I began experimenting with new options.
One day I was at the store and saw a small bucket filled with black licorice caramels and oh my goodness they were so good! It was my goal to figure out how to make these. I have tried all sorts of combinations, and finally came up with a recipe that is exactly what I wanted.
Have you ever had a homemade cinnamon sucker? Those things are like gold to me. I am a big fan of cinnamon candies and wondered if I could make a cinnamon caramel. Well, guess what you can. And I did. I give these sweet treats to my friends and family at Christmas and its funny to see which is each persons favorite.
My kids love the salted caramels, my friends are big fans of the cinnamon caramels and my sisters looove black licorice caramels. I love all three, and that is why I make them all.
The recipe in this post today can be used to make all three of these kinds of soft caramels, and its actually really easy! Lets talk about a few things that can help your caramel making easier…..
Before we get to the recipe there are a few things that you should consider if you are making soft caramels.
Time is of the essence when you are making any kind of candy or caramel. Over cook them and they are ruined. If you do not stir them constantly, they can burn. Here are some tips to make it a bit easier.
- You want to put all your ingredients in the pan before you start heating it
- Use a heavy based stock pot, otherwise you risk the caramel burning or getting too hot too fast
- Use a wooden stick or something that can withstand the high heat
- Once you start heating the caramel recipe, YOU CANNOT LEAVE IT! It can burn and scorch in a matter of seconds. You have to stay right there and continuously stir the mixture.
- Do not scrape the caramel off the sides, since this will have cooked hotter and longer than the rest and will become hard inside your soft caramels.
- This recipe only has a few ingredients so try to use the best ingredients you can
- If you are cooking them on an electric stove, make sure that when you are done cooking them, that you remove them from entirely from that burner. I learned the hard way that they will continue to cook, and burn, since the burners stay hot for a long time. All that work will be for naught.
- You can use a candy thermometer for these soft caramels or use the water test method(which is what I have always done)
Flavoring your soft caramels:
I have found that my favorite way to flavor my caramels (other than the classic way…which is with nothing) is with either cinnamon oil or Anise oil. I use these kinds of oils when I make my caramels:
Now, here is something funny about this. I was in a pinch when I was making these one time. I did not realize I was out of Anise and Licorice oil, and was in a panic. Then I realized that I had my Doterra Fennel essential oil, and thought “what the heck!” And let me tell you, the caramels were soooo good! Like, I could not believe hoe good they were, and they tasted just like licorice! So, you can also use Fennel essential oil, if you use a high grade oil that can be ingested. I would recommend just sticking to the commercial oils though, just for consistency.
Now, lets get to the recipe!
My Soft Caramel Recipe that will have your friends and family swooning!
Tasty Soft Caramels 3 Ways
- 1 14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 cup Butter
- 2 cup Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 cup White Karo Syrup
- Sea Salt (for the top of salted caramels)
- 1 tsp Licorice or Anise oil (to use for the licorice caramles)
- 3/4 tsp Black food coloring(for licorice caramel)
- 1-1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Oil (for Cinnamon Caramels)
- 3/4 tsp red food coloring (for Cinnamon Caramels)
- 1 Candy Thermometer
- Wax paper for wrapping caramels
- 1 Cup of cold water if you do the water test on your caramels
- 1 9 by 13 pan (glass preferrably)
- 1 Nonstick spray or butter to grease the pan
- Start by greasing your 9 by 13 pan. I use nonstick spray since it makes it so much easier and you are more likely to get the whole thing greased well. Do this before you start cooking your soft caramels.
- Use a heavy base stock pan. Put all your ingredients in the pan, and then begin heating on medium heat.
- Once you begin heating the soft caramel mixture you must stay with it or it will burn easily. Begin stirring and continue stirring until the caramels are ready to be poured out into the 9 by 13 pan.
- The caramel mixture will start to change gradually. Bring the caramels to a rolling boil, where it is continuously boiling but not boiling too high. Continuously stirring. DO NOT LEAVE IT
- If you are using a candy thermometer, use it now and heat the mixture until it gets to 240 degrees.
- If you want to use the water test method(how I do mine), Once it is at a rolling boil, set your timer for 6 minutes. When the timer is done, drop a spoon full of caramel into the cold water and move it around with your hands until it cools and forms a ball. You will be able to tell how soft or hard it is.
- If it needs to be cooked longer, do it in 1 minute increments and water test again. I usually find the sweet spot at 6-7 minutes. Not too hard and not too soft. But it will vary depending on how hot you are boiling them. I learned to make soft caramels this way, and thus I feel more comfortable doing it this way.
- When they are ready, turn off the stovetop. IF YOU ARE ON AN ELECTRIC STOVE MOVE IT OFF THE BURNER OR IT WILL BURNIf making Cinnamon or Licorice caramels, add your cinnamon oil or anise oil and food coloring now.
- Pour the soft caramels into your 9 by 13 pan. Do not scrape off the caramel on the sides of the pan. This caramel had been cooked longer and hotter than the rest and will be harder. You can scrape the pan afterwards and eat it!
- Let the soft caramels sit and cool. I usually let them sit overnight.
- Once the soft caramels are cool, you can cut and wrap them. I cut mine in pieces about 1 inch square. But you can make them smaller or larger depending on how you like them. I use a large sharp knife for this. I have tried cutting with a pizza cutter and scissors and all have been effective. I cut the rows first and then cut them into pieces.
- Cut your wax paper in approximately 4 inch by 6 inch rectangles. Roll the soft caramel up and twist the ends. Turn on a good show and wrap them all! Then try not to eat all the soft caramels.
I have tried many different soft caramels, and experimented with my recipe many times. This one is consistent, and easy to make, even if you are a beginner. Your friends will be blown away and will beg for them every year! I promise!
The cinnamon and black licorice caramels are a nice change from the simple original caramel, and their flavors are so good! Plus, who can deny those striking colors. They are so visually pleasing!
Now what are you waiting for? Get at it! Make some for your friends and family today!
And…..make sure you PIN IT for later! Share it with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook!
Have a great day!
If you like this post check out some of my other recipes!