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Soft Vanilla Caramels | Sweet, chewy, melt in your mouth candies

Soft Vanilla Caramels

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Need an irresistible holiday treat to share with your friends and neighbors? Try these Soft Vanilla Caramels, sit back and wait for the rave reviews!

Soft Vanilla Caramels in a small glass dish

Christmas Week Continues!!!

Welcome to Day Three of Christmas Week. This event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We hope to inspire you to break out those holiday sprinkles and get your bake on! Today I’m sharing these soft vanilla caramels.

My family knows I’m a sucker for caramel desserts and straight up caramels are just as irresistible! These are a little softer than other recipes I have shared…and were perfect for filling my boozy holiday truffles. But these Soft Vanilla Caramels are terrific as a sweet nibble on your holiday buffet, too.

 Two unwrapped Soft Vanilla Caramels in front of a glass bowl of caramels

Soft Vanilla Caramels

Pick up a reliable candy thermometer and you, too, can make homemade Soft Vanilla Caramels. These caramels make a wonderful holiday gift. It takes a little time to boil the sugar and half and half mixture up to temperature, but it’s not complicated.

PRO-Tip: Candy making can  be tricky. Use a heavy saucepan for this recipe as it will keep the temperature of the caramel mixture stable. Make sure not to make drastic changes to the heat of the burner as this may cause the caramel to split. Slow and steady is best!

Just keep in mind that the molten bubbling mixture is dangerously hot. You may want to have a bowl of ice water nearby in case some accidentally drips on your skin.

The addition of corn syrup helps prevent recrystallization of the sugar, so it’s a crucial ingredient in this recipe. I don’t mind using it once or twice a year for special recipes. These Soft Vanilla Caramels keep forever in the freezer, so this is one treat you can make well ahead of the holidays. A double bonus!!

Soft Vanilla Caramels lined up on a small square green plate

Swing by all the participants to see what they’ve been whipping up for the holidays:

UPDATE: giveaway closed and entry form removed

You Might Need These to Make Soft Vanilla Caramels:

Soft Vanilla Caramels | Sweet, chewy, melt in your mouth candies

Soft Vanilla Caramels

Soft, vanilla infused caramels that are perfect for gifting!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 36 caramels


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon rum


  1. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with nonstick foil and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients except vanilla and rum in a heavy sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till it begins to boil.
  3. Put candy thermometer into boiling mixture and continue to cook, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn, till the temperature reaches 244º. Immediately add vanilla and rum, stir till combined and pour into prepared pan.
  4. Let cool completely. Cut into small squares or rectangles. Wrap in waxed paper. Store in refrigerator. Freezes well.


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41 comments on “Soft Vanilla Caramels”

  1. Liz, These sound great! I like the idea of boozing the caramels up a bit. Now you have me wanting to make yet one more attempt at making caramels. Usually, I end up with sauce 🙁

  2. Liz, love these caramels!!! I so need a candy thermometer!!! my fave thing to bake over the holidays are cookies!!! gingersnaps!!

  3. Look absolutely delicious Lizzy!
    I would to make these candies for my mama . She loves this type of candies!

  4. I’m not much of a sweet eater but I do have a weakness for caramel, Liz. Especially when you add a little booze. Rum makes everything better!

  5. Your caramels look wonderful – love how you wrapped them and how you photographed them – beautiful! These sound irresistible – especially with the rum addition.

  6. oooooh I love these vanilla caramels! I’d love to receive them as a gift, that’s for sure!

  7. Your vanilla caramels sound so good and with a touch of rum in them – WOW I bet that puts them right over the top. I’ll be sure to try these out during the holidays. I’m sure they will go fast!

  8. Soft caramels are the way to go. I see chewing on these all day and love the vanilla flavor with the extra rum boost.

  9. Who doesn’t like caramels? Love the texture and the deep flavor. And homemade are definitely the best. These look wonderful! Thanks, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  10. There is nothing better than homemade caramels! 😀 😀 😀

    What a fabulous idea, Lizzy 🙂

    Hmmm let’s see my favorite thing to bake for the holidays would probably be cookies. We bake them for everyone in our family as gifts, and for our neighbors and friends. It’s just a great time of year ^_^


  11. Caramels scare me but really I just to get a thermometer. I really hope my mom is baking up a storm for me when I come home for the holidays.

  12. Woow Liz, I was just about to ask you in your previous version of Caramel if you have another preferred recipe because I’ve noticed this in the comments. This is just what I was looking for :). Happy holidays dear.

  13. I’m fresh out of caramels and dying to make a fresh batch, these look wonderful!

  14. Love this recipe! Now if I can get over my candy thermometer fear, I might make these! I also have a math fear because i always have to adjust for Denver’s altitude. And then I have a fear that I’m not really reading the thermometer correctly, because of my bad eyes. I really should conquer these!

  15. I like the addition of rum, bet it adds great flavor:@)

  16. Great little soft caramels with vanilla notes. I have made sauce but never a caramel candy, very tempting. Great tip too on the corn syrup.

  17. I love making baked brie!

  18. Chocolate Truffle Cake is always a holiday baking favorite. This giveaway it great also!

  19. I love caramels and never skip baking cookies during the holidays

  20. Please please please count me in on one of the most delicious, lovely giftable desserts I’ve seen this month! 😉

  21. This recipe looks wonderful. I hope to make it before Christmas.

  22. hi, i love making many different breakfast breads & cookies, thanks for such a great giveaway

  23. My favorite thing to bake for the holidays is sugar cookies.

  24. My favorite thing to bake for the holidays is anything with pumpkin! I love baking pumpkin pies, oatmeal, smoothies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin hummus, pumpkin butter, bars, muffins…I could go on. but I’m sure I’ve made my pumpkin addiction pretty clear! Happy Holidays!

  25. My favorite thing to bake for the holidays is anything containing pumpkin. Pumpkin pies definitely, pumpkin pancakes, baked oats, smoothies, fudge, hummus, pasta sauce, pumpkin syrup and butter, muffins, scones…that’s probably more than enough to show my slight addiction to baking all things pumpkin (or kabocha squash-it gets points for having an edible flesh, which makes baking go a lot faster! Happy Holidays!

  26. ooh…I bet these taste like my favorite butter rum lifesavers. Must try! 🙂

  27. Cookies – cookies and more cookies!

  28. I absolutely love to make chocolate covered cherries….its kind of my signature recipe – you know it is Christmas Time when you start seeing these leaving my kitchen.

  29. Christmas cookies of any kind are my favorite baking. Unless maybe it’s gingerbread or cinnamon rolls.

  30. I love soft caramels and have always wanted to try making them. Yours look perfect 🙂 Love that you added rum in here too! These are perfect tasty gifts for the holidays!

  31. Love homemade soft caramels! Yours looks really perfect, Liz.

  32. Clever recipe! Have a happy Christmas and a happy New Year! 🙂

  33. What a great prize! I love the jars. That group of gifts will really make someone’s Christmas. I also love soft caramels but it’s a very long time since I made any. I love how you wrapped them in wax paper – they look like little bonbons xx

  34. I’ve never made caramels before. These look great! I just tried homemade peanut butter cups for our neighbors this year, so now I am hooked on making candy! Thanks for such a great recipe–and giveaway!

  35. What gorgeous caramels, they wouldn’t last a second here 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  36. Each year I have to maket hose festive funfetti cupcakes, with the red and green sprinkles inside! It takes me back to my childhood.

  37. Made these but I omitted the rum, and added 2tsp of vanilla, I also added a can of evaporated milk cooked on very low heat stirring constantly, cooked until Tandy thermometer read 245f and removed from heat, now I’m just waiting for them to cool

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