December 26, 2010


Carmel vs. Caramel?  Have you ever wondered which one is the correct pronunciation?  I hear it both ways all the time.  So, I "googled" carmel and it brings up a whole bunch of towns/places, if i search carmel recipe it switches my search to caramel recipe.  So, I looked them up in the dictionary and come to find out "caramel" is correct, not "carmel".  So, all of my recipes where I have written carmel are incorrect.  Oh well, who really cares right, but now you know.

The holidays just wouldn't be complete without some homemade caramel.  This is the second year I have made this caramel recipe.  I love the flavor and consistency of it.  If you cook it to the right temperature, you will have soft and creamy caramels.  They are soft, but still hold their shape and they are not so chewy that you have to worry they will pull out your fillings  (not saying you have fillings).  They are just perfect all around.  The brown sugar gives them a deep, rich flavor.  It also needs very minimal stirring, so you don't have to stand over the stove sweating and hoping your arm doesn't fall off.  I also use this recipe for homemade turtles and for caramel and chocolate pretzel rods.  Note:  I think this caramel is perfect at 236-238 degrees (for high altitude), but Sister's Cafe thinks that is too soft, so you will just have to decide how you prefer your caramels.    
adapted from: Sister's Cafe

1/2 c. butter, no substitutes
1 1/2 c. light corn syrup
2 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
toasted pecans, optional

Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add corn syrup, brown sugar and 3/4 cup of the heavy cream.  Cook over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until thermometer reaches 224 degrees.  Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup cream.  Turn stove to medium and continue to cook.  Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan.  Don't worry about drops of water getting in the caramel, it will boil off.  Cook until reaches desired consistency. (I personally think for high altitude, 236-238 degrees is perfect.  I use my candy thermometer for an estimate of the temperature, but I always use the ice cube test to know for sure.  When the thermometer is getting close to 236 degrees, I take a spoonful of the caramel and pour it into a glass that has a few ice cubes in it, I wait a few seconds, then take that caramel and roll it into a ball.  I hold it out on my palm and if it holds its shape and doesn't flatten out, but you can easily flatten it if you press it down, then it is ready.  If it slowly flattens out, then it is not quite done).  

When reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and add the vanilla and pecans.  Stir to combine.  Pour into a well greased 9x13 pan.  Let caramel cool completely.  Once it is set up, cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper. Note: this caramel needs very minimal stirring.          


  1. During the holidays, I made some pretzels that looked just like yours pictured, but I melted store-bought caramels--and HATED the consistency! You hit the worried-about-pulling-fillings-our consistency on target; it was just no good. The next time I'm in for a good dipping caramel, I'm coming to you!

  2. These look yummy!

    My mom's homemade caramels are the only ones that I'll ever eat. There is nothing better :)

  3. Amy, you have got to try the homemade caramel for the pretzel sticks. It makes all the difference in the world.

  4. Can you use maple syrup instead of corn syrup?

    1. I have never tried it, but my guess would be no. Corn syrup helps prevent sugar crystals from forming. Since you have to boil the mixture at such a high temperature, I would worry the maple syrup could burn? Especially since candy making can be tricky, I would stick to the original recipe.