Salted Caramels and a Christmas Blog Hop

Homemade salted caramels

This will be the first Christmas that I’m not spending at home, the only winter that I haven’t been in New York. The sandstorm we just had in the desert doesn’t quite take the place of snowflakes, and the warm weather is at odds with traditional Christmas carols. But, I’ll be in Bethlehem, which is pretty neat. And I have plenty of salted caramels to fill my stocking.

Unlike Thanksgiving, which has a fairly set menu, each family is left up to their own devices on Christmas. In the Italian fashion, my dad always makes a huge seafood feast on Christmas eve. On Christmas day we graze on antipasto, lots of cheese, and sausage and peppers all day. For dinner there’s a filet mignon roast and plenty of veggies. Dessert is inconsequential after all that delicious food.
Homemade salted caramels
I won’t be making or eating any of that this year, but I will hold onto the tradition of making edible gifts. I did a series for the Jewish Daily Forward (yes, I lead a dual life) on edible gifts, which included recipes for infused olive oil,savory recipes in jars, and homemade s’mores. And these salted caramels. Oh man are they good. Buttery and creamy, sweet and salty, they make you close your eyes and savor every chewy bite. They make an awesome gift.
Homemade salted caramels

5.0 from 7 reviews
Salted Caramels
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
The key to making your own salted caramels is a candy thermometer and paying attention to the temperature. Otherwise it’s easy and makes a great gift!
Recipe Type: Dessert
Yield: 50-60 caramels
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Coarse salt of your choice, for finishing
  1. Line a 9-inch loaf pan or 8-inch square baking pan (depending on how thick you want the caramels to be) with parchment paper and rub all sides with butter or oil.
  2. Put the cream in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer attached and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Add the corn syrup, water, and white and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring very gently until the sugar is fully dissolved. Wait until it reaches 250F, stirring occasionally (it will rise very quickly to 220F, but will take 20 to 30 minutes to get to 250F). If any sugar splashes up the side of the pot, you can use a wet pastry brush or clean paintbrush to wipe away (sugar on the side of the pot like that could crystallize and ultimately mess up your end product).
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the butter has fully melted and been incorporated. If the butter separates from the mixture and it looks oily, put it back on the heat for a minute, stirring constantly, until it’s fully incorporated.
  5. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. For quick results, pop the pan in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Otherwise, allow to cool fully in the refrigerator or at room temperature, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove the cooled, solidified caramel from the pan. If you are not going to coat in chocolate, then sprinkle with coarse salt of your choice and gently press into the caramel. Cut into ¾-inch squares.
  7. Wrap individual pieces in wax paper and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Gluten Free, Kosher Dairy, Vegetarian; To learn how to coat the caramels in chocolate, check out my recipe in the Forward!

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25 thoughts on “Salted Caramels and a Christmas Blog Hop

  1. JJ @ 84thand3rd

    Oh Katherine your family feast tradition sounds wonderful – us Italians sure know how to eat don’t we 😉 I have to say, even after 10 years I’m still not used to spending Christmas at the beach… it just isn’t the same! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful day no matter what. xx

  2. Willow

    Katherine, those salted caramels sound so perfect! I’ve never made soft caramel candies before, and they’re definitely on my list.
    I’m also super happy to see a christmas blog-hop. Thanks again for hosting!

  3. Roz

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Katherine!

    I love salted caramels and would love to make them from scratch some day soon! Caramel is my weakness, even over chocolate! I used to live in Arizona and know about holidays in the desert . . . it’s truly in your heart and not the environment. I wish you all the best in this season of love and look forward to our friendship for many years to come.

    Blessings to you and yours,

  4. mjskit

    What an experience to be in Bethlehem for the holidays! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends! See you in the new year! I linked up one of my favorite gifts – Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil.

  5. J @ semplicemente ... J

    Just wanted to wish you happy holidays twice, once for each of your lives. 😉

    In my heart I live a semi dual life, I should elaborate on that later 🙂 Right now I am just trying to reconcile tradition with my 5 – 6 month vegetarian daughter. Christmas Eve is OK as it is all fish – I am thinking of foregoing the cappelletti 🙁 for her, my oldest is already complaining.

    I have said it before. I love your blog. Again, happy holidays. Happy holidays. 🙂 OK. I will stop now.

  6. Kim

    Thanks so much for hosting Katherine. I have always wanted to try making caramels and yours look fabulous. I’m pinning them to try. I’ve linked up my family’s traditional breakfast casserole we have every year. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  7. john@kitchenriffs

    Being in Bethlehem is way cool! We enjoy Thanksgiving dinner so much we always repeat it for Christmas! Although usually not quite as much food. Your salted caramels look great. I’m probably the last blogger standing who have never made salted caramel anything. Think 2013 will be the year? Who knows! Anyway, good stuff. Thanks, and have a great holiday.

  8. Terra

    Yum!!!! I made salted caramels too, and fell in love immediately:-) Your caramels look wonderful, and especially love the chocolate covered ones! I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and a Very Happy New Year!!! Hugs, Terra

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