Rich, chewy, buttery Vanilla Bean Caramels - so addictive and easy, you'll be making them year-round!
This time of year means one thing to me – treats, treats, and more treats. I make homemade cookie boxes every year to hand out to friends and family, and every year I look for more recipes and varieties of treats to include.
This year included candy! And my favorite candy? Caramels – buttery, soft, vanilla-scented caramels. I have always wanted to make homemade caramels, and this year I present homemade Vanilla Bean Caramels!
If you’re looking for something special or want to branch out, make this. If you’re worried about making homemade candy, don’t fear! This only takes half an hour to make, and the hardest part is just waiting for the candy to set. Then just cut them into pieces, wrap in wax paper if you’d like, and you’ve got the perfect special treat for friends and family!
I brought these to work today, and my coworker’s boyfriend said these were caramels he had ever had. I can’t disagree 😊
Vanilla Bean Caramels
Makes 70-80 caramels
2 vanilla beans, split
2 cups heavy cream
2-1/2 cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
1. Line a 9x9 inch pan with aluminum foil. Butter the bottom and sides of the 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 twenty minutes to steep.
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. 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.
5. The sugar mixture will bubble and just begin to darken. Go ahead and remove the vanilla beans from the heavy cream, as you’ll be using it soon.
6. Cook until the mixture reads 325 degrees Fahrenheit – I use this thermometer, or you could also use a clip-on candy thermometer.
7. Slowly and carefully pour in the steeped vanilla cream – it will bubble profusely, which is why we use a large pot! Stir in the butter and salt.
8. Stir the caramel with a heatproof spoon or spatula, avoiding scraping the sides of the pan, stirring slowly and constantly, until the mixture hits 245 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10-15 minutes. Once the mixture hits 245, stir in the vanilla extract and remove from heat.
9. Immediately pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
10. Top with coarse salt, if desired.
11. Let the caramels cool completely before cutting into squares, and enjoy! The caramels can be stored up to two weeks in an airtight container.
1. If you don’t have access or don’t want to use vanilla beans, just increase the vanilla extract up to 2 teaspoons.
2. The reason we brush down the sides of the pan with water is to make sure we don’t have any rogue sugar granules ruining our caramels – this step is crucial, and easy!
Recipe Source: Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe