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How to Make Salted Caramels with Real Food Ingredients

As I kid I loved Swedish fish and Starburst, but now I like to pretend that my tastes are more refined. I prefer more complex and sultry desserts – liked anything with salted caramel.

The problem with most recipes for sweets treats is that they typically contain highly-processed, junk. I’ve been on a mission to learn how to make salted caramels and other sweets with Real food ingredients so my family can enjoy a treat without paying with a tummy upset or headache soon after.

I am happy to present these wonderfully satisfying salted caramels. Aside from a small learning curve of manning a candy thermometer, these caramels are super easy to make – and they’re not as sinful as you may think!

The white sugar has been replaced with rapadura (a.k.a. sucanat), which is unrefined cane sugar and honey takes the place of corn syrup, both rich in minerals. (It’s not essential to use raw honey since it will be heated to a high temperature destroying the enzymes.)

Choosing cream and butter from grass fed cows gives these candies a kick of essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins, and the grey Celtic sea salt provides minerals.

Enjoy these caramels on their own or save a 1/2 cup worth for our next seductive recipe… Dark Chocolate Bark with Salted Caramel and Macadamia Nuts.

How to Make Salted Caramels – Ingredients and Supplies

How to Make Salted Caramels – Method

  1. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly butter parchment.
  2. Bring cream, butter, vanilla, and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Heat the rapadura, honey, and water in a large sturdy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Once dissolved, boil while swirling (not stirring) until the sugar begins to caramelize (this is a bit trickier with rapadura because it’s already brown – take care not to overcook!)
  5. Gently whisk cream mixture into the caramel (it will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel reaches 248F. This will take longer than you expect – be patient, but don’t leave your pot or you will end up with a burned mess!
  6. Pour immediately into the parchment-lined baking pan and cool for about 30 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle a bit more sea salt over the top of the caramel and let sit until completely cooled (in the fridge is ok).
  8. Use your pizza cutter to cut long strips (like a tootsie roll), then cut into 1 inch pieces. Roll caramels  in wax paper to prevent from sticking together.

What’s your favorite treat that’s had successful Real Food makeover?

This post can be seen at the following blog carnivals: Simple Lives ThursdayReal Food WednesdayWhole Foods WednesdayFresh Bites Friday and Fight Back Friday. Hop on over to check out some other posts you may enjoy!


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  1. Lindsey S says:

    Do you think I could replace the dairy with coconut milk and ghee?

    • Emily says:

      Hi Lindsey – I don’t see why not. Let us know how they turn out!

    • Kimberly T. says:

      Hi there, I actually just made caramel last night using coconut milk and ghee. The Urban Poser has a recipe tfor caramel using those ingredients. It works perfectly. I want to try it this way personally just because I LOVE fluer de sel caramel and this is the perfect recipe for that occasional treat. Yum!

  2. Lindsey S says:

    This looks delicious!!

  3. Jennifer says:

    These looks like they’d make nice Christmas gifts. Can I use organic sugar? I’m out of rapadura and got bulk organic sugar for the Holidays, $$. Thanks!

  4. Those look great! Right now I’m wishing I hadn’t used all my grassfed/raw cream to make whipped cream for our hot cocoa last night……I’d be making some right now!

    We’ve also made a recipe very similar, but with cinnamon instead of salt and a lower temp for an apple dip – so good!

  5. Charlene says:

    Wow, these look so good. Have to try these for the holidays!

  6. Carrie says:

    I’m going to make these! When is the chocolate bark recipe coming? That sounds delicious…
    Can the salt be left out of the recipe to make regular caramels?

  7. Debbie says:

    Can this be made with a substitute for cream? Maybe coconut milk?

    • Emily says:

      Hi Debbie – I think coconut milk would work. If you use coconut oil instead of butter though, you will definitely need to store these in the fridge. Try it and let us know!

  8. Annmarie says:

    Two questions: is heavy cream the same as cream? How would I store These and or package if using for gifts?

  9. Shelley says:

    My sister makes amazing caramels using coconut milk (and a dairy free margarine)-
    we can use dairy at our house, can’t wait to make these!
    Thanks for the post!

  10. Erin says:

    I just made these and swapped things to make the GAPS legal. They are amazing! I used coconut cream and all honey for the sweetener (keeping the total 1 3/4 cup sweetener the same). Thank you so much! This would be great for dipping apples too :)

  11. KarenL says:

    We made these tonight and my brilliant 16-yo daughter had the idea to dip soaked/dried pecans in the caramel as it cooled! Now I’m sad I had less than a cup of such nuts! Next time I make these , I will make sure we have more nuts!

    A note on “caramelizing” the sugar. We looked on a site which said to tip the pot up, off and around the burner for 8-10 minutes. This made sense to me and worked just fine for us.

    Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

  12. KarenL says:

    Uh Oh… It’s been over four hours with our completed caramels in the refrigerator and they still have not “set”. Very tasty, however. But nothing I’ll be able to share w/others outside this house.

    • Emily says:

      Hi KarenL – Are you sure the caramel reached the right temp before cooling? That’s typically this issue if you don’t get enough ‘set’…

      • KarenL says:

        Thanks, Emily. That could have been the issue. At one point, we were @ 240° but when I came back to stir it, it was @ 225° again! So I stirred and waited longer, and longer and then it reached 248° and I took it right off, not waiting to see if the temp would somehow drop again like it did the first time.

        Do you think it’s possible to put it back on the stove and get it to set after all?

  13. Lina says:

    These look AMAZING. How many caramels does this recipe yield?

  14. Andrea says:

    Just finished rolling half in the wax paper but I have not tried them yet. They look like they came out perfect! I’m holding out til at least after the gym but I’m thinking might drop a piece into my coffee too, yum! Thank you for sharing!!

  15. Lindsey S says:

    I totally subbed full fat coconut milk, ghee, and coconut palm sugar and it turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.

  16. Melissa says:

    Wow! These are CRAZY GOOD!!!!! I used Kerrygold butter and fresh raw cream. These babies won’t last long in my house!!! Thanks for the recipe.

  17. […] it and their teeth doesn’t hurt at the mere thought of caramel! If you do, I would suggest this recipe! From Holistic Squid and uses all real-food ingredients!). * I also ditched the use of the plastic […]

  18. […] homemade salted caramels in this recipe are made using honey and unrefined cane sugar which – unlike white sugar and […]

  19. MaryLisa Gredler says:

    Love your recipes. I will make these salted caramels but do I have to add the honey? When you heat honey, it leaves toxins in the body that takes forever to be removed. Honey should never be heated as to cause team. ie. never in hot tea etc

    • Jessica says:

      What toxins would those be? That does not sound plausible. I wouldn’t worry about heating honey. It doesn’t change chemical structure when it is heated.

      • MaryLisa says:

        Resolved QuestionShow me another »
        Does heating honey make it toxic?
        2 years ago Report Abuse
        Additional Details
        this is what I found…

        Heating honey destroys the beneficial properties and promotes decay of the invertase- the main bee enzyme. According to many sources, honey should never be heated above 40°С (104°F).

        According to Ayurveda, when honey is heated above 108° Fahrenheit, it becomes transformed into a glue-like substance that is extremely difficult to digest. This substance is considered a toxin (ama), since it adheres to the tissues of the body and is very difficult to remove. Many incompatible food combinations produce toxins, but heated honey is one of the most difficult forms to cleanse. Furthermore, not only does heating honey make it toxic and increase ama, but new research also indicates that most of the benefits of honey — a variety of amino acids, enzymes, minerals, fatty acids and carbohydrates — are destroyed by the application of heat. Furthermore, heated honey can be mucus forming. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends raw, unprocessed honey.

        This is the Ayurvedic information that I was referring you to.

  20. MaryLisa Gredler says:

    I meant to say *steam. Not team

  21. WendyS says:

    Yay!! Healthy caramel!!! ;-)

  22. tina mulhern says:

    Where can I get cream and butter from grass fed cows?

  23. Kerry says:

    Can you use pink sea salt?

  24. Angela says:

    Just made these today and they are delicious!! I used pink salt instead and it worked perfectly.

  25. Cami says:

    Ok, sorry if this a silly question, I’m pretty clueless in the kitchen ;-) Could you use this for Carmel apples…since it’s getting close to Halloween time? :-) thanks!

  26. Angela says:

    Hi, I was wondering the same as Cami, can this recipe be used for caramel apples? Or does it harden to quickly? Thanks

  27. […] I dip organic apples from the farmer’s market into luxurious caramel from my salted caramel recipe that uses nutrient-dense ingredients including grass-fed cream and butter; real vanilla extract; […]

  28. Ashlie says:

    If I wanted to substitute coconut oil for butter, how should I go about this? Thank you!!

  29. Abby says:

    I made these today to bring to a friend’s house for New Years. Let’s see if there are any left by then.. they are delicious and they were so easy (I’d never made candy before). Thanks!

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