Caramels! Rich and Buttery

Caramels! Rich and Buttery
Quite a few weeks ago I got a little note from a reader telling me she had discovered the best caramel recipe
this side of the universe. 
I just couldn’t help but make it!
The first batch was consumed before it could show up for a photo shoot.
That’s butter and brown sugar for ya.
I would have to agree with Jessica from Our Cooking Cafe. They are fabulous! They have the perfect caramel flavor, rich, buttery….with a wonderful texture.
Thanks for the tip Jessica!
I am greatly appreciative.
My pant size will never be the same again.
Now just a word to any of you who haven’t ever made caramels.
Do not be afraid.
Let nothing ye dismay!
If you know how to stir,
and stir,
you are going to be set.

These caramels cook
while you stir…
(and watch Christmas Vacation,
Best Holiday Movie ever made…)
for between 30 and 40 minutes.

Now that is NOT a long time at all if you’ve got Clark Grizwald to entertain you. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without him and his really good lookin’ cousin Eddie.
Those two are a collection of 
merry gentlemen,
if ever there were any.

Caramels! Rich and Buttery 
Time: 40 minutes plus about 1 hour to wrap 
Yield: 1 jelly roll pan, or for thicker caramels put them in a 9×13
Recipe from Our Cooking Cafe
1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan.
2. Add your brown sugar. Stir it all around until it dissolves.
3. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Anyone every tried a little taste of sweetened condensed milk plain, in all it’s glory? Wow. It will send shivers of joy down your spine, I tell you. It’s one great taste of comfort and joy…comfort and joy.
4. And the corn syrup.
5. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil, while stirring. Stirring is key here. Don’t stop stirring.
6. The mixture will need to boil for 20-30 minutes or until the temperature on your candy thermometer reads between 235-240. HOWEVER…I have found candy thermometers to be a bit sensitive and inaccurate at times. Most of the time when I make candy I don’t even use one. There is a little trick I will  show you.

 This ice water is going to be your pal. When you are approaching 230 degrees on your candy thermometer, dip your spoon into the caramel, then into the ice water. Let it hang out for just about 10 seconds or so. Then press your finger into the caramel. If the candy holds the finger indentation….you are good to go! If not, cook for a bit longer.
7. Remove your caramel from the heat and add some vanilla. Stir until well combined.
8. Pour the caramel into a buttered jelly roll pan. Let the caramels cool and set. This should take about 30 minutes.
9. I like to cut them with a pizza wheel.
Scissors also work well.
10. Cut yourself up some wax paper and you are set to wrap your fabulous caramels…rich and buttery. You are going to make someone very happy with these! Happy Candy Making! 

Post a comment!


  1. 1
    December 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I love these caramels! I've made them before and they are dee-li-cious!!

  2. 2
    December 9, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I started making these last year for neighbor gifts and they are so delicious! My recipe is the same but it calls for white sugar. I'll have to try the brown sugar. Mmmmmm…

  3. 3
    December 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Dude, how cool is that! I really would love a sample

  4. 4
    December 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! I am so glad you did Caramals!!!! I was looking forever for a good recipe and now thanks to you I have one!!!! I just love your blog:)

  5. 5
    December 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I am a faithful Jamie-r every day! Thank you for all of the fabulous treats! I LOVE THE CRANBERRY CREAM CHEESE DIP!!!!! What a hit at our Thanksgiving party!

  6. 6
    December 10, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Jamie, I am flattered that you featured my recipe here! Thanks a million! Hope you try it on your caramel apples and even dipped in pretzel rods, it works amazing!! I sent you an email let me know if you didn't get it

    • 7
      February 9, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      I love these they are awesome I am 12and I can make them and it is fun thanks for the post!!

  7. 8
    December 10, 2010 at 2:47 am

    I made pralines today – similar technique, different end product, but I am so in love with my candy thermometer, I cannot tell when caramels are ready without it!

    • 9
      November 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      What brand of candy thermometer do you use?

  8. 10
    December 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Holy Moley!! I'm new to your blog and just LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! We're doing the candy part of our Christmas baking tomorrow.. I'm thinking these caramels are going to be making a surprise entrance in the lineup!!! Thanks so much for all the wonderful recipes!!

  9. 11
    December 10, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    This recipe may help me conquer my fear of making carmels! Who doesn't love Clark and Cousin Eddy (unless you are related to someone who closely resembles Cousin Eddie)! “Christmas Vacation” is my most favoritest Christmas movie….ever!

  10. 12
    December 10, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I've been making this same recipe for years… i just finished up 50 bags full for holiday giving. They are truly DEE-LISH!!!! Best part is, they are easy.

    I make mine in a 9X13 so they are a little thicker 🙂

  11. 13
    December 10, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I have wanted to make caramels for a long time so I tried this recipe…They are really good but something is seriously wrong with the temperature. I tested them at 240 degrees and they were done…then they went hard as rocks on me in the pan. My sister made them and pulled them off the stove at 235 and they were perfect. For anyone making them, test for doneness earlier than 240 or you might be sorry. (And be sure you've tested your thermometer so you know it's accurate. Mine is, but that still didn't help me…) Otherwise, they taste great!

  12. 14
    December 10, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Hey Wendy,
    Thanks so much for your comment. So sorry your caramels turned out hard! I have adjusted the temperature in the recipe, my friend also tried them to 248 and they got pretty hard. When I made mine, both times I used the ice water method and no thermometer at all actually. Should have tested mine with the thermometer to be sure the temperature in the original recipe was correct. Sorry for any inconvenience to you. Thanks so much for dropping by to let me know. Have a great day! Don't break your teeth on your caramels!

  13. 15
    December 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I made these last night and they turned out great! The temperature on my thermometer said 240 when they were ready. I tried a different recipe last year that does not require stirring and they did not turn out nearly as well. This is the recipe I will be using from now on. Thanks and happy holidays!

    Traci B.

  14. 16
    October 14, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Great recipe! These caramels are super yummy! I just made some last night and referenced you on my blog Thank you for a great recipe!

  15. 17
    October 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Soooooo good. Found this recipe/site on Pinterest, and decided I had to try it. Easy to follow (thanks for the ice water recommendation, just perfect!), and perfectly chewy/tasty!!! Melting chocolate and making chocolate covered caramels with sea salt as I type this!! Thanks so much!

  16. 18
    December 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Amazing recipes, as always !
    You were mentioning your pant size, above, and I must tell you that one of my concerns when going shopping for groceries is avoiding the aisle where the sweetened condensed milk is : not only have I tasted it, but it is my Achilles’ heel. If I indeed cannot resist the urge to buy a can, I actually buy two, and you can be sure they will both be done with before the day is gone! Lucky for me, I more often than not resist that compulsion!!
    Thanks again – this can never be over-stressed – for your recipes and witty blog!

  17. 19
    December 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Just wondering……I have made these caramels several times. I am having trouble with them sticking to the wax paper once they’re wrapped. Any ideas to help on this?


    • 20
      December 10, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Hi Lee,
      I would suggest cooking them just a bit longer so the caramel isn’t quite as sticky. Also, I have noticed at my local baking supply store, they have these handy celephane wrappers that come in a 5 inch square. They have made wrapping caramels a ton easier. It may be something you could find on line. Good luck!

    • 21
      February 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      These are absolutely amziang! I made a double batch to give out as little thank you gifts for some friends very popular all around! They are more work than the average cookie, but totally worth it 🙂

  18. 22
    January 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    So… there’s a recipe floating around on the internet for six minute caramels. Essentially, the same recipe, but done in six minutes in the microwave. They’re amazing, and save you the headache of stirring for twenty minutes, bored out of your gourd. 🙂

  19. 23
    October 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Hi, just wondering,

    can you use wax paper or tin foil as an alternative to the parchment paper? I don’t have any of the spray stuff. (pardon the e-mail address, it’s real though) 🙂

    • 24
      October 3, 2013 at 7:02 am

      Wax paper would work out fine. Good luck!

  20. 25
    November 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    all sound wonderful

  21. 26
    December 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    these were great. the only problem now is hiding them so they won’t be all gone before christmas 🙂

  22. 27
    December 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I just found your caramel recipe & will try it. They look wonderful.

  23. 28
    December 15, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I found your recipe on pinterest and got all the ingredients last week. When I woke up early and was unable to get back to sleep I decided to make these. (I was a little worried about trying to make candy my first time with 3 little ones’ “help”.) They are cooling in the pan now! I scraped out the bits left in pot and tasted it. The caramel is delicious; even though I completely forgot to add the vanilla.

    Thank you!!!

  24. 29
    December 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

    WOW!!! These are to die for! Very easy and so delicious! 10 stars out of 5!!! I used to melt caramel squares for my Turtles recipe, but came across this in search of something better. I will never go back!!! Thank you!

  25. 30
    December 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Hi, i made these for a carmel turtle recipe the carmel was delish! Wondering if you can re-melt these?

    • 31
      December 16, 2013 at 5:38 am

      I haven’t ever tried to remelt the caramel, but my first thought is that it would work out pretty well. Good luck!

  26. 32
    December 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    These are delicious! I’ve been making them since last Christmas and ever since they are a must. Even have a friend who wants nothing else for her Birthday or Christmas ha ha Thanks for the great recipe!

    When I first made the recipe I accidentally bought the golden corn syrup, not the light. I’m not sure if it makes much of a difference to the taste, but we loved them so I kept making them with the golden syrup.

    My thermometer seems way out of whack compared to the temps in the recipe. I usually have to start testing around 225 or so. Now that I’ve made them so many times I’m getting used to how it should look and rely on the ice method instead of the thermometer.

    Thanks again for the great recipe. Love your blog!

  27. 33
    December 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I made this yesterday in a heavy stainless steel pot, stirring the entire time. However, by the time my candy thermometer got up to 235, there were burned bits on the bottom of my heavy pot. When I poured the mixture out onto my buttered pan, the burned stuff that I stirred up had mixed throughout the caramels.

    How do I avoid this burned stuff? I stirred the entire time. The heat never went up above medium on my stove.

  28. 34
    Kim H
    December 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Mine have the burned bits, too. I’m guessing my sugar didn’t totally dissolve. The caramels taste fine though…I’m calling the burned bits “flavor enhancers”!!

  29. 35
    Tay Ebert
    December 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I’m sensitive to corn (especially Hi Fructose) & wondered how you think light molasses would work or any other suggestions?
    Thanks so much ! Taybird

  30. 36
    January 12, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I made your recipe for caramels for the first time this past Christmas for my turtles. Let me tell you I will never go back to unwrapping those little squares. I doubled the recipe with no troubles and everyone was glad I did as the leftovers I made into individual caramels! I have a candy thermometer, but used the ice method as my thermometer is out 10 degrees. Everything turned out beautiful. Thank-you! I subscribed to your website!

  31. 37
    January 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Hi. Does it have to be real butter used as opposed to something like imperial? I want to make these but want to make sure I use the right ingredients.

    • 38
      January 31, 2014 at 7:06 am

      Yes, real butter is required. Best of luck!

  32. 39
    April 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Omg thank you soo much! I have recently found out we are pregnant and having been double fisting turtles like crazy lol ! My hubby says that I’m gonna make us go broke if I keep eating them like this lol! Well I came up with the idea of making them myself hoping it would be cheaper n came across ur website oh my god! I will never go back to store bought again they can’t even touch how wonderful these are! Now all I have to worry about is gaining three hundred pounds lol! I also made you Italian cream cheese chx in crock pot and it was amazing ! Huge hit! Thank you sooo much Jaime:) plz keep em coming !!!!

  33. 40
    December 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Made turtles using kraft caramels and they were hard as a rock. Going to try your recipe but wonder do i just drizzle the mix over the pecans rather than pour into pan for cutting into squares? Still wonder is anyone has remelted caramel mix!

    • 41
      December 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Creamy and soft! Made these as an extra on Christmas cookie trays and everyone loved them. Thanks Jaime and merry Christmas!

  34. 42
    Rachel Marroquin
    December 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Wow!!! Love’em!

  35. 43
    December 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe & instructions for no thermometer!
    I was wondering, can I use this caramel (once set, cut & wrapped) the same way as Kraft caramels – i.e. pop them in the microwave with a bit of water, to use them in a recipe – like turtles, for example?

  36. 44
    December 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Creamy and soft! Made these as an extra on Christmas cookie trays and everyone loved them. Thanks Jaime and merry Christmas!

  37. 45
    October 16, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Jamie, How long can these be made in advance for Christmas? I have a 94 year old neighbor that loves turtles and I want to surprise her with these. Can they be made and frozen? I am looking forward to trying your recipe soon.

  38. 46
    September 25, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Do you stir the entire 30 minutes, or just while waiting for it to come to a boil? Can’t wait to try this.

  39. 47
    November 6, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I just came across your blog by accident. I will have to find your website, as I would like to subscribe to your blog. Thanks, Bev

  40. 48
    November 21, 2016 at 11:06 am

    How do I sign up for your daily blog?

  41. 50
    April 10, 2017 at 9:02 am

    So glad I found these recipes!

  42. 51
    November 25, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Just made this today except I replaced the corn syrup with locally grown pure cane syrup. I love this. The hint of molasses makes this out of this world!! Cant wait till I get my locally grown pecans to make turtles!!

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