Just in time for holiday caramel making…get ready, because this recipe (with a step-by-step tutorial!) for soft and chewy vanilla caramels is the best and easiest caramel recipe ever!

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

If I had to admit the one post I’m most excited about this December, it would be these caramels. Not to minimize the awesomeness of all the other recipes that have and will be posted…but these caramels. THESE CARAMELS!

I thought I was finished needing new recipes for caramels. I have my mom’s old recipe. I have my foolproof no-stir caramels. I have a black licorice caramel. And a cinnamon caramel. I even have a chocolate caramel.

I most definitely was not actively seeking out a new and improved caramel recipe when this one basically hit me in the face and forced me to try it.

The reason it appealed to my caramel sensitivities is that the method is totally different than any other caramel recipe I’ve ever made. It intrigued me enough that I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it, right?

Instead of going small scale, I decided to make 600 of them for my BYU presentations last month. To say I was elbow deep in caramels for a week straight would be an understatement (thank you to all the willing souls who reside under my roof who wrapped and wrapped and wrapped caramels for days).

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

I figured I wouldn’t ever get that large of a test audience in one spot again, and I wanted certain confirmation if these caramels were “blog worthy” or not.

I asked the people who were in attendance (many of you!) to give me your feedback on these delightful vanilla bean caramels, and give me your feedback you did! I’ve been inundated with close to a hundred emails asking when I’ll post the recipe and/or letting me know the caramels were amazing and even a few aggressive souls who suggested they may hunt me down if I don’t get the recipe up ASAP.

Rave reviews? I’ll say.

I’ve since made this recipe at least another 8-10 times. In fact, I’ve made it so many times, I feel as though I’ve navigated almost every issue that could come up when making these. Judging by the hundreds of BYU attendees’ positive feedback, combined with all the friends and family I’ve shared with since then, you should fee very confident trying this recipe, too.

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

The good news? They are the most foolproof caramels I’ve ever made thanks to that cooking method I alluded to earlier.

Instead of boiling all the caramel ingredients together (like most recipes) and risk scorching (like cream and sweetened condensed milk are wont to do), the simple sugar syrup boils first.

Once it comes up to the right temperature (325 degrees), the cream and butter are added, which lowers the temperature of the caramels.

At this point, the mixture is stirred constantly for 10 or so minutes until it reaches the perfect caramel temperature (245 degrees F in my world, but you can go for a firmer caramel at 248 if you want or go super soft and gooey at 238 to 240 or so).

Because I’ve made these so many times, I’ve learned that you can even overshoot the 325 temperature by 20 degrees and they will still work out. Says the girl who walked away from the boiling candy to help a child with homework only to discover a shocking temperature of 345 when she returned.

Cooking the sugar syrup to a higher temperature will still result in soft and chewy temperatures (as long as you don’t exceed that 245 degree temp in the last step), but the higher the temp goes above 325, the more intense caramel flavor the candies will have…and they’ll also get increasingly darker.

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

I know candy thermometer and cooking temperatures can seem stressful, especially if you are new to (or scared of) making caramels, but I promise, this is the recipe you should try whether you are a beginner caramel maker or whether you can make them in your sleep and already think you have The Only Caramel Recipe You’ll Ever Need.

Not only is the cooking method for these caramels easier, in my opinion (and yes, I have tried the famed microwave caramels, and while good, they don’t hold a candle to the flavor of this legit cooked recipe), the caramels themselves are ridiculously delicious.

Perfectly chewy with a velvety, creamy and slightly buttery texture, these are hands-down my favorite caramels ever. I know in the land of hyperbole food blogging (of which I am as guilty as the next food blogger), it’s hard to know if a “new, best-ever” recipe is just that or if the excitement is being exaggerated.

I can assure you, these caramels are definitely best-ever in my book.

In order to dispel any concern or questions, I’ve included a step-by-step tutorial below the recipe. And even though the recipe looks long, it’s only because I’ve tried to literally give every single detail I can in order to help you feel peace and comfort and joy as you make these.

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

Here are a few more caramel notes and answers to FAQ’s I get about caramel making: 

What do you wrap your caramels with?
I used to use good ol’ wax paper, which is a great caramel wrapping tool. However, I have since discovered precut (PRECUT!!) cellophane wrappers, and I’ll never go back. My friend, Melissa, gave me some from Orson Gygi; they are available there (usually about $8 shipping) or on Amazon prime. With 1,000 in a package, I’d be calling your caramel bestie and offering to split a package of these babies.

What candy thermometer do you use and love?
I’ve had this style of candy thermometer for years (a couple different ones since one of my children who shall remain nameless dunked one in a sink full of water and another thermometer was used – by that same child, ahem – as a take-apart science project without my knowledge). It’s my all-time favorite candy thermometer.

I’ve had the worst luck with the long, thin (Taylor brand) or bulb candy thermometers (numbers wearing off, super inaccurate temps). I have a very accurate instant-read thermometer that I always pop into the caramels at the beginning while the candy thermometer is clipped on in order to make sure the candy thermometer is registering correctly. It usually is, but if it’s a degree or two off from the reading on the instant-read thermometer, I just do the math in my head and know to cook the caramels a few degrees lower or higher (I can explain this more if you have questions in the comments).

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

What kind of pot should I use? 
It’s really important when making candy (caramels, toffee, etc) that you use a heavy-bottomed pot. What do I mean by that? The bottom of the surface shouldn’t be thin; ideally, it should have a thicker cap of metal lining the bottom in order to insulate and not scorch the caramels. I have a very, very old set of Farberware pans that I use (18/10 stainless steel), and they work great and are not expensive. Just make sure your pot is not super thin and wimpy.

What do you use to cut the caramels? 
The very best tool for cutting caramels is a sturdy bench knife (a fantastic tool that can be used for a million other things, too). It’s the only thing I use to cut them. Works wonders. It’s fast and easy and not so sharp it’ll cut your little fingers off.

Do I really have to do the whole pastry brush dipped in water thing? 
Yes, yes you do. Wiping down the sides of the pot in that first step where the sugar syrup boils is really important. If sugar granules are left on the sides of the pot and later incorporated into the caramel mixture, the entire batch can turn into sugar, crystallize or separate.

I’ve always resisted this step in other candy recipes, too, but it’s important here and not hard at all. This is the pastry brush I have (and I show you how to do the washing down action in the step-by-step tutorial below), but if you don’t have a pastry brush, you can use a wet cloth and carefully drip the water onto the sides and wash the sugar off with the rag, rinsing and using clean water a couple times throughout the process. It only has to be done once in the recipe, so don’t let it deter you from making these.

What about vanilla beans? Is there an alternative? 
Absolutely! While vanilla beans give a delicious flavor and offer those undeniably pretty speckles, you can also omit the vanilla beans and use pure vanilla extract. I’ve given all those details below in the recipe.

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

So there you go! I’ve included several other notes below in the recipe and in the step-by-step tutorial, so please MAKE SURE YOU READ THROUGH THE RECIPE before you make these. It will help prevent any angst over mid-recipe surprises (the worst).

I really, really, really (a million reallys) hope you make these caramels. I want everyone to love them as much as I do! Nothing says the holiday season quite like homemade caramels!

One Year Ago: Decadent Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
Two Years Ago: White Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Three Years Ago: Homemade Peppermint Patties

Perfect Vanilla {Bean} Caramels

Yield: Makes a 9X9-inch pan of caramels

Perfect Vanilla {Bean} Caramels

Ok, bear with me here. This recipe is actually one of the easier caramel recipes out there, but I want to ensure success, so here are a few additional notes:

-It really is important to make sure the sides of the pan start clean - I use a pastry brush (this is the one I have) dipped in water, per the recipe. If you don't have a pastry brush you can dip a clean washcloth/rag in water and wash down the sides of the pot that way, rinsing out once or twice so the sugar is washed off well.

-This recipe is delicious with vanilla beans...but, it's also delicious just using vanilla extract. I've done it both ways. If using vanilla beans, follow the recipe and decide whether you want to add the extra vanilla extract in at the end. If NOT using vanilla beans, still heat the cream to steaming and let cool slightly before using in the recipe. After the caramels reach 245 degrees F, stir in 1/2 to 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract before pouring the caramels into the pan.

-I always use coarse, kosher salt for this recipe. If using table salt, I'd cut the amount down slightly. Sometimes I sprinkle them fleur de sel, sometimes I don't. That part is optional and they are delicious either way.

-I've also been lazy about the vanilla bean/cream mixture and have instead microwaved it for three minutes instead of using a pot on the stove.

-I used to use wax paper for wrapping caramels. Works great...but the last year or so, I've used these precut cellophane pieces and I'll never go back.

-This is the candy thermometer I've had for years. Works great and is the most accurate one I've used (I always calibrate it with my instant-read thermometer really quickly while I make the caramels to make sure I can adjust if it's a few degrees off, which it hardly ever is).

-Finally, I've doubled this recipe many, many times for a 9X13-inch pan. Make sure to use a 10-quart pot so the caramel doesn't boil over!

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped (video tutorial on how to work with vanilla beans here)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups (18.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

  1. Butter the bottoms and sides (get into the corners, too!) of a 9X9-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Place the vanilla bean and scraped seeds in a saucepan and pour in the heavy cream. Heat the mixture over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat, cover and let sit (for at least 20 minutes) - go ahead and start making the caramels while the vanilla cream steeps.
  3. For the caramels, in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (at least 5- or 6-quarts), stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water, taking care to not splash the mixture up the sides of the pot.
  4. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat WITHOUT STIRRING or moving the pan. Right as it starts to boil, fill a cup with water and use a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan so there are no granules of sugar sticking to the sides of the pan (you probably won't need to repeat this after the sides have been well-cleaned).
  6. The sugar mixture will bubble and start to darken. If you haven't already, take the vanilla bean pod out of the cream mixture so it's ready to go once you need it.
  7. Cook until the mixture registers 325 degrees F on the thermometer, about 25-30 minutes (for darker but still chewy caramels, continue cooking the sugar mixture - I've gone as high as 345 for super intense, dark caramels; beware the next step will cause much more steaming and bubbling the higher you cook this initial sugar mixture).
  8. Slowly and carefully pour the steeped vanilla cream mixture into the caramel - it will bubble and produce a lot of steam! Add the butter and salt. The mixture will have expanded during this step but will "fall" back to a lower level as the temperature lowers due to the added ingredients.
  9. Stir the caramel with a clean heatproof spoon or spatula (if it's the one you used in the 3rd step, be sure to wash it to avoid introducing sugar granules to the caramel), avoiding scraping the edges of the pan, and continue to cook, stirring constantly and slowly, until the mixture reaches 245 degrees F, about 10-15 minutes (you can go as high as 248 degrees F for a firmer, but still chewy, caramel, and even take it off earlier for a softer caramel; 245 is perfect in my book).
  10. Immediately pour the caramel mixture into the prepared pan.
  11. Let the caramels cool completely. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, if desired. I use a large, metal spatula to peel the whole slab of caramel out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
  12. Cut into squares using a sharp knife or bench scraper, wrap, and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
https://www.melskitchencafe.com/perfect-and-easy-vanilla-bean-caramels-step-by-step/

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe in Cuisine at Home December 2016 (increased and adapted a few ingredients for a richer caramel and added notes for using vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans)

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links for products I’ve bought and loved from Amazon; feel free to shop around for the best deal.

Step-by-Step Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels

111 Responses to Perfect Vanilla {Bean} Caramels {Step-by-Step}

  1. cheryl styczynski says:

    Delicious and amazing…BUT, they did not harden, it will make excellent caramel sauce, but what did I do wrong?

    • Mel says:

      If they didn’t harden, it sounds like they weren’t cooked to a high enough temperature which might mean your candy thermometer is off and not registering the right temperature.

  2. cheryl styczynski says:

    Delicious and amazing…BUT, it did not harden at all! what did I do wrong?

  3. Jessica Glover says:

    Hi Mel, have you ever tripled this recipe? I have been asked to make 300 of these for teacher appreciation day at school next week and wondering if this method will work. I have doubled the batch several times with no problems but wondering if the larger quantity with mess up the temperatures and how some of the caramel sets. Also, have you ever used a sheet pan instead of the 9 x 13 pan? Thanks for your help!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never tripled it, Jessica – mostly because it takes so much longer to cook. I’ve only every doubled. There is something to be said for not increasing candy recipes by quantity too much because of what you suggested. I’d probably stick with doubling. But yes, you can definitely pour them into a sheet pan.

  4. Kari says:

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’m following this recipe as exactly as I know how. After maybe 10 min of boiling in step 6, the part of the mixture that the thermometer is set in registered about 306. The other side of the pan, however, was very dark, smelled scorched, and registered 365. This is the second time I’ve tried this and it’s happened both times. This time I tried a different pan, and made sure it was centered over the flame. I don’t know if I should use a lower heat, or what! I consider myself pretty competent in the kitchen.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kari – can you describe the type of pan you are using? Does it have a nonstick coating or is it stainless? How thick is the bottom of the pot? Do you have a gas stove? I’d definitely try cutting the heat down a bit to see how that goes and then let me know…I can help you troubleshoot.

  5. Kim H says:

    Made these today and they turned out great!! I’ve tried several different recipes in my day and this has been the best and most stress free yet!!! I have trust issues with thermometers so I’m a big fan of the ice water method along side the use of a thermometer. Thanks for a great recipe and tutorial! Merry Christmas!

  6. Jessica says:

    The first time I attempted this the sugar burned, but for the second attempt I lowered the temperatures by about 20 degrees for both readings, and it turned out perfectly. I used a couple different thermometers so I’m not sure why my readings were so different. Thank you for posting this, it is my new favorite caramel recipe!

  7. Hollie says:

    Hi Mel! I made these Carmel’s last night and left them to cool completely in the pan overnight. They are very hard now, I can’t even get a knife through to cut them, or if I do it just cracks weird. What can I do to soften them up a little? Once you start chewing on a piece they are still chewy.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Hollie – sounds like the caramels cooked too high…that’s what would cause them to harden like that (not necessarily sitting overnight). Did you use a candy thermometer? Do you know how accurate it is? I’m not really sure there’s much you can do to soften up caramel that has cooked over temperature…but you might try googling to see if there’s a good solution.

  8. Haley says:

    Hi Mel! I made these following the recipe to a T (thank you so much for the pics and details! So helpful!) calibrating my candy thermometer w my digital one, -and the caramel was getting really dark the second stage and I was afraid it was burning so took it off 5 degrees early and it is a little too soft- but still dark and tastes a little burnt. (Still edible but not the flavor I was hoping for) I did add a Tbs of vanilla so I’m assuming they will be a little darker. Is it possible to burn them and not have them set up? Or would they be hard if they were burnt? I’m sure it’s a user error- I’m nervous to try again but want to get it right– they look and sound delicious! Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Haley – how long did you cook it in the first stage? Just to 325 or longer? If they taste burnt, my guess is they may have scorched on the bottom. Were you getting flecks throughout the caramel? They can definitely be burned without being too hard…but for this recipe, that would be because they cooked too high in the first step (probably would have to be above 340 degrees) and/or if they scorched on the bottom of the pan in the 2nd step.

  9. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel,
    I have never made caramels before but I am going to try these for my hubby’s stocking (okay and probably for my stocking, too). I am wondering about adding toasted, chopped pecans to the caramels – would you add the pecans right before you pour them into the pan? Thanks!

  10. Angie says:

    Mel, I have never made caramels before, and never owed a candy thermometer before picking one up at the grocery store on Friday, but I made these over the weekend and I feel like a caramel-making rock star. They are delicious, and really, even though i was scared it was pretty easy. Thank you!

  11. Grace says:

    I made this yesterday but it burned! I can’t figure out how or where I went wrong. I opted for the lower temperatures for both readings. Hmm. Definitely user error, but I honestly can’t figure out what happened to change for next time.

    • Mel says:

      Oh darn, Grace! Tell me about the pot you used. What kind is it? Does it have a nonstick coating or is it stainless steel? Did the caramels scorch on the bottom or did they just burn because they cooked to too high of temperature?

  12. Tina Nielsen says:

    Would golden corn syrup be okay to use??

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure, Tina – I know many people substitute that for light corn syrup but I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t say 100% for sure.

  13. Jessica G says:

    Hi Mel ~ I could not write another response in the previous thread. I melted down what I had left and calibrated my candy thermometer ( it was the same as my instant read) and ended up taking the temp up to 153 and it was perfect! I am not sure if elevation and humidity have anything to do with the process but I am very close to sea level here in Savannah and its always humid. Thank you so much for the help! I will be making another batch tonight!

  14. Haley says:

    I am wondering where you buy your fleur de sel? I am guessing it isn’t available at an average grocery store and Amazon has an overwhelming number of choices 🙂 Thank you for all your amazing recipes and tips!!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve just snagged mine at my local grocery store…but I just hopped on Amazon and you aren’t kidding! There are a ton of options. I have the Roland brand, if that helps.

  15. Erin G says:

    I just went into panic mode as I realize I only had 5 caramels left from my first batch. My Costco run has been canceled and I am now making more caramels because it would be a travesty to run out of these babies. Addicting, delicious, amazing….those words don’t even come close!

  16. Mamalala says:

    My first batch of candy burned so I learned that my burner was hotter than others. Moved it to a smaller gas burner and used a pot that wasn’t as shallow as the first one I used. Then, the caramels came out great. So excited that this recipe worked and that I learned a bit of tricks on my new stove.

  17. Sharee Brinton says:

    I just wrapped some caramels with the cellophane wrappers you suggested. Changed my candy-making life! Thank you so much!

  18. Courtney Fox says:

    I am not an expert candy maker by any means, but I was excited (and a little scared) to make these today. They are SO yummy. I love how they just sort of melt in your mouth. I only have a basic (cheap) candy thermometer, the kind with the red ball, and it worked fine. I also live at high altitude (6100 feet) and did not make any adjustments to the recipe. The tutorial and the photos were so helpful, Mel. Thank you! If I can make these with a 2 year-old at home who chose today to skip her nap, then they really are foolproof! Now, if only I can stop myself from eating them all as I package them up for neighbor and teacher Christmas gifts…

  19. Kris says:

    Hi Mel! So excited to try these. Do you think this recipe will work for your Chocolate and Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods? Or should I stick with your original recipe for that one. I’m planning on making lots of co-workers and teachers this year.

  20. Jared says:

    Hi Mel,

    We tried our hand at caramel making for the first time this weekend after being inspired by your detailed step-bystep instructions. I am happy to say that they turned out great and other than getting carpal tunnel from all of the wrapping, it was much easier and less scary than we had anticipated. Maybe I didn’t wait for them to cool long enough before cutting them (they were still just slightly warm) but they were sticking slightly to both my bench scraper and chefs knife. I ended up using my pizza wheel to cut them into strips and then the knife to cut them to size. It worked so slick with no sticking at all. Thanks again for yet another GREAT recipe!

  21. Jody says:

    I just made these and wanted to let you know that I, too, walked away from the syrup mixture and when I came back it was at 370 degrees! It took less than ten minutes. I was debating if I should throw it out and start over, but I decided to finish and see what happened. They turned out great! Just thought I’d share in case anyone else does the same thing.

    • Mel says:

      So glad to know this! I actually walked away from a batch today…with horrible results. I think I ruined my pan! So…lesson learned…don’t walk away from that first step!

  22. Katie says:

    Hey do you write your recipes per sea level or at your high elevation level/whatever works for you?

    • Mel says:

      My recipes are written, tested and posted based on where I live (2,700 feet, currently – but over the years I’ve lived in several locations across the United States, all at varying elevations).

  23. Beth says:

    After many attempts and mostly fails I thought I would give this recipe a shot and they turned out beautifully. Thank you so much. I used a pizza cutter to cut them and it went pretty fast. Every recipe of yours that I have made has been wonderful and I appreciate the time you take to share them and your life with us all.

  24. Abigail says:

    Does this double well? I’m trying to make a bunch and wondered if you’d had success doing more than one recipes worth at a time?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I double for a 9X13-inch pan all the time (haven’t tripled it, though).

      • Erin G says:

        How does the doubling work when you add the cream and it boils up? My pan is a tall 6 quarts but I don’t know if it will boil over or not.

        • Mel says:

          Yeah, for a double batch, I recommend using a 10-quart pan. I’ve used my 8-quart pan for a double batch…it doesn’t boil over but it gets really close to the top and splatters pretty aggressively. To minimize that, you can add the cream very, very slowly (me: too impatient).

  25. ChristyK says:

    Made these yesterday and they are so delicious and creamy! I think my candy thermometer is a little off as they were a tiny bit too soft but still loved them. Made them with Mexican vanilla. The flavor was outstanding! Can’t wait to make them again. Thx!!!!!!

  26. Marie says:

    Do I need to adjust the temps at all if I live in a high altitude state? Just wanted to double check before I make these! Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marie – you might want to google caramel making for high altitude. I live at 2,700 feet and tested these caramels at that elevation – I’m not super familiar with the adjustments needed although I know some people will boil water, put in a thermometer and take a reading. However many degrees it’s lower than 212, they adjust the caramel recipe for that. So let’s say water boils at 202 degrees, you’ll want to adjust all the temperatures in the caramel recipe 10 degrees lower.

  27. I am so doing these! I love caramels. In Poland there are Krówki, my favorite ones. I always but few bags as I cannot get it in Germany. Now I’ll make them, yupi!

  28. Mona Elam says:

    I was sure I signed up for the newsletter and did not receive it last Friday. I signed up again, but would love to see the one I missed!

  29. Paula says:

    Are the temperatures listed for sea level?

  30. Heather says:

    Is it a problem to use a non-stick pot or is stainless the only way to go?

  31. Abigail says:

    If you were making the Twixster Cookies, would you use this caramel or the fool-proof recipe?

    • Mel says:

      I think either would be great (this one is just a little faster) – If using this (or really either, I suppose), my preference is to take the caramel off around 236 to 240 degrees if using in the Twixster cookies so it’s a little softer.

  32. These look amazing, Mel! I’ve tried to make caramels in the past and just wasn’t impressed with the result. But this step-by-step recipe would help a ton and I can’t wait to try these. Caramels are some of my favorite holiday treats ever! Thanks for the recipe!

  33. Haley says:

    I can’t wait to try these!!! Maybe his afternoon?! But what do you think about using vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract? I like the specks too but don’t have any vanilla beans on hand.

  34. Beth says:

    Hi Mel,
    Long time reader, but first time poster. First of all I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful recipes. Every recipe that I have made from your website has been a success and I enjoy preparing them for my family. Also love seeing your emails pop up in my inbox, gives me something to look forward to reading on a break during the workday! Question for you, I am planning our ‘Christmas cookie menu’ and a couple of the recipes that I want to try include making your no-stir caramels and the Twixster cookies, do you think this recipe will work in those cookies?
    Thanks again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Beth! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, this caramel would work just as well in those divine Twixster cookies! If it were me and I was just using the caramel for the cookies, I’d take it off the heat at 240 degrees instead of 245 for a slightly softer caramel.

  35. Mary P says:

    Hi Mel – I signed up for new recipe notifications ages ago and always got them until the last week or two. I resigned up, and also signed up for the newsletter a couple times, but still no luck. Maybe I’m doing something wrong? Just don’t want to miss any of your great recipes!

    • Mel says:

      It looks like your email is in the database, Mary – I just resent the newsletter (double check it didn’t go to your spam folder or any promotions tabs, if you use gmail). Did you get an email about these vanilla caramels? That went out last night? If you aren’t getting them, double check those spam/promotions folders to make sure they aren’t ending up there.

  36. Sarah M says:

    I missed getting one of these at your BYU presentation, so I’m excited to have the recipe and try them out for myself! Also, I hadn’t realized there were two different emails I needed to sign up for. I am now signed up for both, but missed your email from Friday. Can I still get it? Thanks! You’re the best!

  37. Ann Harmon says:

    I’ve read the recipe several times and cannot find the amount of vanilla extract as a sub. I wanted to make these today, but don’t want to go to the grocery store. Can you let me know the amount please?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ann – it’s in the “notes” details right below the recipe title. You’ll want to stir in 1/2 to 1 tablespoon vanilla extract at the end.

  38. Sandra says:

    I would love to try this recipe but I am a chicken! After years of greasy or crystalized caramels, I discovered your foolproof no-stir recipe…finally, perfect caramels! (I’ve already made two batches this holiday season.) How would you compare the two recipes as far as taste and ease of preparation?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Sandra – I think if that foolproof recipe is working for you, stick with it!! I think ease of prep between the two recipes is just a bit different. These cook faster than the foolproof ones, in my experience, but neither one has any tricky steps (other than washing down the sides of the pan with this current recipe). As far as taste, the foolproof ones are slightly creamier and maybe just slightly chewier. But I think both are delicious and am a big fan of sticking with a tried-and-true method that works for you!

  39. Teresa R. says:

    I love your cinnamon caramels and I was planning to make them next weekend. I think I’ll make these instead, or maybe both! I may wait till I get the precut wrappers that I just ordered. I also signed up for the newsletter but didn’t get Friday’s edition. Thanks! Teresa

  40. Jill says:

    Do you think I could double this recipe and make in a 9×13 pan? If I’m going to make caramels, I would like a bigger batch to share with friends 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Yep! In the notes of the recipe, I indicated that should work just fine…make sure to check out the other notes to ensure your pan size is big enough.

  41. Jessica G says:

    I have never made carmels but I am trying these as soon as my candy thermometer arrives! I do have a question- have you ever used vanilla powder? A friend gave me some that her Mom brings from Denmark. I have used it a few times but I am anxious to use it in most recipes. I have also had a hard time finding out how to substitute it. I will say the times I have used it the flavor is great! Thanks for any advice!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Jessica, I’ve only ever used vanilla powder in cookies but never in caramels. It is delicious! I don’t know if I’d use it in candy, though…I’m afraid it wouldn’t dissolve well?? Don’t know for sure though.

      • Jessica G says:

        Hi Mel,
        I made these this weekend and the flavor is fantastic but they were super soft and I cooked to 245. How low should I expect the temperature to drop when adding the cream and butter, mine did not go below 245 until I turned the heat way down and then I brought it back up to the 245. Also, when using vanilla extract, should the cream be cold or warm? I heated mine in the microwave but it sat out for at least 20 minutes after that. Also should the butter be cold or room temp? I did not calibrate my candy thermometer so I will be doing that next time ( tomorrow night). While my texture is not great, the taste is amazing!

        • Mel says:

          Hey Jessica – if your thermometer wasn’t calibrated, I’m 99% sure that’s the issue. Even a few degrees will make a huge difference and it’s very common that those dang candy thermometers aren’t very accurate (I usually use my instant-read thermometer along side my candy one at the beginning of making candy/caramel just to see if I need to adjust the temp of the candy thermometer – I’d use the instant-read thermometer exclusively except it’s a pain to have to hold it the whole time #candythermometerprobs). Anyway, it helps if the cream is warm. Doesn’t have to be hot, but the sugar syrup it gets added to will incorporate faster if the cream is warm. I pull the butter out when I start making the caramels so by the time I get to adding it, it’s probably cool room temp. That is pretty odd that the mixture didn’t drop in temperature – mine usually goes down to about 170 to 200 degrees after adding the cream/butter. Let me know how it goes if you try it again. Also, if you haven’t cut the caramels yet, you might be able to salvage them by melting them down and bringing them back up to 245 (with a calibrated thermometer…or a few degrees higher if you want them firmer).

  42. Jess says:

    I’m in love with the black licorice caramels on your site…could I convert this recipe and flavor them with anise instead?

  43. Janet says:

    WOW……thank you for this recipe and method. What a gift.

    By the way, did you post your BYU classes and I just somehow missed out seeing that?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Janet – I posted a quick note about the BYU classes a couple weeks ago but haven’t done a recap, mostly because BYU Women’s Services has all the handouts up on their website if you’d like to download them. 🙂

  44. Heather Burns says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve been making my Grandma’s recipe for years, and I remember the days of cutting wax paper squares. Just an FYI, next time you’re in SLC there’s a place called Bakers Cash and Cary (near the IMC hospital in Murray) they sell the same cellophane wrappers as Amazon, but they’re $10 for 1000!

  45. Katie says:

    Definitely making these. I love your blog, thanks for many great recipes. Don’t mean to be a trouble maker, could I get Friday’s recipe too. I signed up on Friday, maybe it wasn’t in time or maybe a glitch.
    Thanks,
    Katie

  46. Lorie says:

    I signed up on Thursday but never received an email confirmation. I signed up again a couple hours later–still no follow-up email confirmation. On Friday I signed up a third time and it finally sent a confirmation link. However, I never received the newsletter. I just want to be sure I have signed up correctly? Hopefully you can send me the Friday newsletter. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lorie – I just checked the database and you are all signed up! I just resent the newsletter since there were a few issues Friday. Enjoy!

  47. Alisa says:

    I tried to sign up before Friday but wasn’t able to. I got it to work today but didn’t receive Friday’s newsletter. I would love to get it if possible. I know you are so busy and it is greatly appreciated! My family loves your recipes and you have helped make me much more confident in the kitchen!!

  48. Maria says:

    Mel, do you sprinkle that fleur de sel on while right after your pour the caramel into the pan or after they have cooled?

    • Mel says:

      I sprinkle it on right after they have cooled but if you want a little more stick factor to the salt, you might do it while they are warm (but not hot).

  49. Amy says:

    Can’t wait to try making these! They look delicious. I appreciate the tip about the precut wrappers! They look prettier than wax paper I think. I really like the look of your pan-straight sides! Can you share the name or where you purchased it?

    • Mel says:

      It’s a 10-year old Wilton pan that unfortunately they don’t make any more, but I believe if you search Fat Daddio 9X9 pan on Amazon, it will pull up some pans with straight sides.

    • Sarah says:

      Adding to the chorus on the wrappers, thanks so much for the recommendation. I make your no-stir caramels every
      Christmas for gifting and it is surprisingly hard to find a precut wrapper for caramels, so I’ve been cutting hundreds of squares of wax paper.

  50. Clare says:

    Years ago I went to “grandma school” and my grandma Rada taught me to make caramels this way. So fun to see this method come from another source as well. Thanks for the tip on the precut wrappers I definitely need those! P.S. I made your cinnamon caramels this week, they are one of our favorites!

  51. Heather says:

    Hey Mel, could you use this recipe for caramel corn?

    • Mel says:

      I bet that would be delicious! If it were me, I’d pull it at 236 or so for caramel corn…but I do like caramel corn on the ultra soft and gooey side of things. 🙂

  52. Deborah says:

    I thought that I had signed up for your newsletter on Friday, but yesterday I realized that I never saw an email confirmation and signed up (again?). I still don’t know what happened or where I /the system messed up, but could I pretty please get Friday’s recipe anyway? 🙂

  53. Janet says:

    WOW……thank you for this recipe and method. What a gift.

    By the way, did you post your BYU classes and I just somehow missed out seeing that?

    Oh my, this won’t post for some reason……hope a bunch of them don’t show up, sorry if it does…..please omit extras.

  54. Mindy says:

    I came to your evening event at BYU and was a little bit heartbroken that they ran out of caramels before I got to the table…. (I was too busy having you sign my apron. 😉 ) but it was a Christmas miracle! One of the BYU servers saw that I didn’t get one and found one last caramel and gave it to me!! I cut it into pieces so my husband and friend could try it and we all agreed it was divine. Can’t wait to make these!

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