What would the holiday season be without homemade caramels, I ask you? Caramels happened to make an appearance during last year’s Sugar Rush. My mom’s famous caramels to be exact. But this year I wanted to try a chocolate version – little did I know it would be as easy as adding chocolate to the initial caramel mixture. I went with a different recipe this year and wow. Wow. WOW!
These were beyond delicious. The soft chocolate-infused caramel about sent me into chocolate-caramel heaven. Seriously, these caramels are beyond divine. The addition of creamy, dreamy chocolate morphs these caramels into a chewy, fudge-like consistency. Definitely caramelly but still deepened to a rich, decadent consistency the likes I’ve never seen.
Be sure to check out the Candy Thermometer page for information on calibrating and using a candy thermometer and see below the recipe for step-by-step pictures on the chocolate caramels.
Note: for regular caramels, simply omit the chocolate and proceed with the recipe. Also, if you prefer using unsalted butter, increase the salt amount to 1 teaspoon.
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
- 2 cups (1 pound) sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup (12 ounces) light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Lightly butter a 9X13-inch pan and set aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan, combine the water, sugar, vanilla, condensed milk, corn syrup, butter and chocolate. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, ensuring that the tip of the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pan and is inserted at least 1-2 inches into the liquid (or according to your thermometer’s directions).
- Continue stirring while the mixture boils and cooks, until the caramels reach 245 degrees F. If the caramels seem to be scorching on the bottom of the pan, moderate the heat to a lower temperature. You can also test the caramels using a spoon and dropping a pea-sized amount of the hot caramel into cold water. If the cooled piece of caramel is firm but not hard, the caramel is properly cooked.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt. Pour the caramels into the prepared pan and allow to cool completely to room temperature, at least 2 hours.
- When cool, remove the sheet of caramels from the pan. Cut the caramels into pieces using a large knife or bench scraper.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Chocolate and Confections by The Culinary Institute of America
Combine all of the ingredients but the salt in a large pot. Caramels tend to foam and bubble so use a larger pot to accommodate boiling over.
Cook the mixture and stir as it dissolves.
There we go. Nice and dissolved.
Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a boil. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of the pot.
Stir constantly while the mixture cooks.
You can see how as the cooking process goes on, the bubbles get smaller and closer together.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt.
Pour the caramels into the buttered pan. It’s going to be hot, baby, so be careful!
Let the caramels harden at room temperature for at least 2 hours. It may take longer for them to cool enough to cut so just judge according to your kitchen temp, etc.
Cut the caramels into strips.
Then into little squares.
Then place the caramel on small squares of wax paper…
Twist the ends and you’re done! Oh, wait, except for the other 100 caramels you have to wrap. It’s worth it, trust me!