Soft Chewy Cream Caramels
Soft Chewy Cream Caramels are a bit time-consuming, but will always get rave reviews! For holiday gifts or your own consumption, they are a spectacular homemade candy!
Homemade Caramels are perfect for Christmas. Your friends and family will be in awe of your skills when you tell them they’re from scratch. Below you’ll find my tips for making this recipe for Chewy Caramels.
Why You Must Make
- They are soft and buttery, just the way caramels should be!
- These cream caramels melt in your mouth while teasing your palate with their sweet vanilla essence.
- I’ve made a variety of caramels over the years and these chewy caramels are the bomb!
If you’re a baker, you’ve probably come across a recipe that calls for a bag of store-bought caramels. They are a fabulous shortcut to use in recipes like these Oatmeal Caramel Bars, but can never rival homemade cream caramels. Despite being wrapped, grocery store caramels are anything but soft and chewy. Once you taste homemade cream caramels, you’ll never want to go back!
Some use half and half, and others utilize heavy cream or even evaporated milk. The sweeteners have ranged from white sugar to brown sugar, but all include some corn syrup which is needed to inhibit crystallization. I’m leaning towards declaring these as my favorites.
I make both caramels and toffee for the holidays. From year to year, I subconsciously block out the tediousness of candy-making.
- Don’t be worried about using corn syrup in this recipe. It’s key to preventing recrystallization of the sugar.
- I’d estimate it took nearly an hour to get the liquid caramel mixture up to the proper temperature. You can’t walk away or you risk scorching your caramel.
- Don’t answer the phone, or you may end up tossing the mixture. I turn on the TV, stand, and stir while watching the candy thermometer very slowly approach the firm ball stage.
- PRO-Tip: If you make any adjustments to your burner, do it very gradually. Any abrupt change in temperature (or even movement) can cause the butter to leach from the caramels when they cool.
- Use a good quality candy thermometer for the best results. (affiliate link)
- Boil until the candy reaches 247-248 degrees. If you like your caramel slightly firmer, let cook to 250 degrees.
- PRO-Tip:Use a heavy saucepan, not a cheap, flimsy pan for more even heating.
- Remember that the boiling sugar mixture is extremely hot and can give you second-degree burns if you’re not careful. To be super cautious, keep small children at a distance.
- Caramels freeze well. Make these in early December for the holidays. Wrap individually in rectangles of wax paper (they will take decent-sized piece), then place in a freezer Ziploc bag and remove excess air. Pop in the freezer and pull out what you need at any time!
When all your friends rave, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile!
Frequently Asked Questions
I like to use kitchen scissors to cut my caramels. A greased knife also works well.
You can buy special candy papers on Amazon, but I find wax paper is inexpensive and works well. It’s a nice, neutral color. You will need a decent-sized rectangle for each caramel in order to completely wrap and then twist both ends.
Since these are soft caramels, it’s best to store them in a cool, dry location. After they’re wrapped, they’ll keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
For long-term storage, they freeze well for up to 6 months. Just make sure to keep them in an airtight container.
Moisture is the enemy of caramels, so as long as you keep them in a cool, dry location, they’ll last weeks when chilled and months when frozen.
This can happen with abrupt temperature changes while you’re cooking. It’s hard to be patient when you’re monitoring the candy cooking for up to an hour, but don’t adjust the burner to try to hurry the process along. This can result in an oily layer on top of your caramels.
If you need to adjust the burner up or down, do it very, very gradually.
You May Also Like:
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes from Mom on Timeout
- Salted Caramel Crunch Cookies from The Novice Chef
- Easy Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites from Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet
- Chocolate Caramel Twix Cheesecake
- Microwave Caramel Sauce
- Twix Cookies
- More of the Best Dessert Recipes
- More of the Best Holiday Recipes
From Shannon: I love this recipe! It has turned out amazing every time I use it! Thank you so much for sharing it!!
From Tina: I have actually used this recipe several times! I have to say that the only time I had an issue was when I changed up my thermometer. Then I got more of a toffee. But! When using a properly calibrated candy thermometer and using all the right ingredients, this is a great soft caramel recipe! Using it right now. In my experience, it’s almost always operator error if a recipe doesn’t come out right. Don’t blame the recipe.
Soft Chewy Cream Caramels
Buttery homemade caramel candies that will outshine any grocery store version!
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Line an 8x8 pan with non-stick foil. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the sugar, cream, and corn syrup. Mix and bring to a gentle boil and stir until the sugar is melted.
- Insert a candy thermometer and continue boiling over medium-low heat until the candy reaches 247-248 degrees.
- Stir occasionally.
- If you like your caramel slightly firmer, let cook to 250 degrees. This can take 45 minutes to an hour, so be patient.
- Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan.
- Allow caramel to cool, then lift from the pan using the foil as a sling.
- Place on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch squares. Wrap in wax paper.
- These freeze well.
Be very cautious as the boiling caramel is extremely hot and can burn your skin.
To avoid having the butter separate from the caramels as they cool, do not make any abrupt changes to the burner temperature while you're cooking.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:2 caramels
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 53mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g
53 Comments on “Soft Chewy Cream Caramels”
These are absolutely the best caramels I’ve ever had! They are extremely addicting. So much so that I’ll have one in my mouth and ready to immediately open the next before the first is gone because they’re just thst good! My friends who tried them just think they’re the bomb!! Can’t speak highly enough about them. I made a couple batches. First was just right consistency and 2nd was probably a little harder but I do know how to control that with the temperature.
Pat, I’m so glad you and your friends like these as much as we do!!! It’s my go-to recipe for the holidays and my friends think they’re terrific, too! Thanks for reporting back 🙂
This is the second year I used this recipe to make pecan caramels. This time I used the butter square pretzels as the base and they are SO YUMMY! I cooked the caramels in a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan on a glass top stove on about medium low stirring for a little while at the beginning and then just once in awhile in the middle and then steadily for the last probably 5 minutes to 270° or 275° anyway it was really perfect thank you so much.
I’m so glad, Patty!! What a delicious treat for the holidays!!!
I just made these and they came out fantastic! I have been trying different recipes to find one that would make caramels close to the consistency that my husband’s grandmother made for Xmas and this is the closest I have found so far. No issues being greasy like some other posters have mentioned. May cook to one degree higher next time – I didn’t go as high as in the recipe as I was afraid of them being too hard. I did mix almost continuously. I have a gas stove so used the regular low setting to get it to boiling then immediately put it on high simmer and this gave a nice even low boil through the entire cooking process.
Oh, I’m SO glad these met your expectations!! Thanks for letting me know, Rebecca, and Merry Christmas!!
Absolutely delicious!!!! So good thar you’re not even done wuth the first piece and already reaching for the next!
Last question. I made it an hour ago and it’s going on 10pm. Because it needs to cool before cutting and wrapping, can I let ithe pan sit on rack overnight on countertop. Should I cover it I do this. Or should I stick it in frig, covered with seran wrap? Asking because I’d like to go to bed but if I have to wrap them tonight immot sure how to proceed.
These are pretty resiliant. They should be fine no matter what you do. For future reference, if you want to cover, I’d use a cloth towel in case there’s any condensation. Hope you enjoy!
About how long do you letbthem cool? I know if you cut certain cooled desserts because you thought they were cool only to find them run because they actually weren’t as cool as needed, I’d like some kind of idea like 3 hrs 6 hrs etc. Can you please give a better idea because this could be an issue for some of the people attempting this recipe.
I’ve never timed the cooling period as I’m usually multi-tasking in the kitchen when I’m making all my holiday goodies. I pop them in the fridge if I want to hurry things along—put them on a cooling rack so that the cold air gets under the pan, too. I would give them 3-4 hours to let them firm up before slicing. I will try to remember to monitor the cooling time with my next batch.
I’d like a better size description on the size you cut your wax paper. I know everyone makes different sizes but I was getting the paper ready while the caramel was cooking abd not really sure what size to try to make them. Hatevto cut bigger if not necessary but because I wasn’t sure I made them initially 3.5″x6″ which I believe is probably way bigger than needed which means I’ll probably have a good bit of waste. Can you better clarify what size you usually cut your waxed paper? Thanks. They smell delicious and I hope I don’t have ant issues as some others seemed to. I’ve made hard tack candy for yrs so I’m expecting the caramel to turn out good because I’ve had prior practice with the hard tackle along with the problems that can arise with it from not cooking long enough for proper consistency etc.
Hi, Pat, About 4 x 6 inches is what I like to use. It gives enough extra so you can give a good twist on both sides. This is a pretty standard size when you purchase already cut papers made for caramels.
I have actually used this recipe several times! I have to say that the only time I had an issue was when I changed up my thermometer. Then I got more of a toffee. But! When using a properly calibrated candy thermometer and using all the right ingredients, this is a great soft caramel recipe! Using it right now. In my experience, it’s almost always operator error if a recipe doesn’t come out right. Don’t blame the recipe.
Thanks so much, Tina!! I appreciate your endorsement of this recipe!!! And I’m glad you enjoy these caramels as much as I do 🙂
I followed the recipe perfectly and ended up with greasy, drippy, very expensive caramels. Not sure why I gave this recipe a chance when so many people had issues with the butter separating out (as I did). It’s a finicky recipe. There are better ones out there. Best of luck, Liz, on your beautiful blog! ❤️
Thanks, Heather, for your feedback. Caramel is finicky and this can take a while to come to temperature. It works for me every year, though it may take 40+ minutes to make. Did you follow all my tips in the post? Especially the one about not adjusting the temperature? Hope you find a recipe that works for you!
The first batch I made, I burned, I think because I was using a new candy thermometer. Went back to the old thermometer for the second batch, which came out more like the caramel I am used to. The only thing was that when I went to cut it after cooling for three hours, it was a little soft and seemed greasy. I am not sure where I went wrong as I have made many different caramels over the years and never had any turn out like this. What could I have done wrong? I let the caramel creep up to 247 degrees taking around 40 minutes. Just not sure if I will attempt this recipe for a third time. Although, the caramels were very tasty even if they were on the greasy side. Thanks for publishing the recipe and I hope other people have better luck than me.
Hi, Leanne, I just made a batch last night. It took a full hour for me. The most common cause of separation is turning up or down the heat causing an abrupt temperature shift. Sorry that happened to you! I’ll make sure I highlight that in my post and recipe! Hope you have a Merry Christmass.
If my teeth could handle it, I’d be making these tomorrow. I absolutely love soft caramels and find them very hard to resist.
Wow – homemade soft caramels are impressive. That’s definitely going an extra mile (more like a dozen of miles haha), but they will undoubtedly make a stunning holiday gift!
Caramels are my all-time favourite candy. I will definitely whip up a batch for this Christmas. Hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving.
Have I mentioned that I don’t see your latest post on the mobile edition of your blog, I can only see the categories.
I love this recipe! It has turned out amazing every time I use it! Thank you so much for sharing it!!
Thanks so much, Shannon! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your week!!
Hi can I substitute the corn syrup for liquid glucose or golden syrup?
From doing some quick research it looks like golden syrup (or even honey) should work. I haven’t tested it, so if you give it a try, please let me know! Happy holidays!!!
This recipe looks great, but could you be more persise in instructions. Do you stir constantly and what temperature do you use. Thank you.
Yes, I’ll edit the recipe with more details. I stir constantly at first while the sugar, butter, cream, etc. are melting together and when starting to boil. Once the mixture hits about 230 degrees, the stirring does not need to be continuous but still stir on occasion. The burner should be on medium-low heat or slightly higher (if needed) to keep the mixture boiling.
I made this recipe twice, and had the same disappointing results both times: very very oily after cutting them. They tasted good, looked pretty (until cut into squares), and had great texture and consistency…but both batches and about four hours of candy making were down the tubes. I’ve made caramels before, I was painstakingly meticulous (very careful of temperature changes, stirring, measuring et.)…I don’t know what went wrong☹️
Oh, how frustrating, Erin! Caramel is SO finicky. I just made a batch 2 days ago and it took an hour of cooking. I’ve had an oily film happen on rare occasions and just dabbed the caramels to soak up excess oil. Here are some reasons it can separate: http://candy.about.com/od/carameltoffee/f/separate_faq.htm (http://candy.about.com/od/carameltoffee/f/separate_faq.htm)
It lists separation as potentially being caused by:
– abrupt temperature shift
– not melting everything evenly at the start (medium/low heat)
– not constantly stirring if the recipe calls for it
– hot spots caused by too thin a bottom on your pan