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 rapadura and honey are 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, too.
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
- 1 cup cream (from grass fed cows)
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (from grass fed cows)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1¼ teaspoon grey Celtic sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top – get high quality sea salt here
- 1½ cups rapadura (unrefined cane sugar) – buy it in bulk here
- ¼ cup honey – like this one
- ¼ cup filtered water
- Candy thermometer – get one here
- Pizza cutter – like this one
How to make salted caramels – method
- Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly butter parchment.
- Bring cream, butter, vanilla, and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the rapadura, honey, and water in a large sturdy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- 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!)
- 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!
- Pour immediately into the parchment-lined baking pan and cool for about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle a bit more sea salt over the top of the caramel and let sit until completely cooled (in the fridge is ok).
- 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 sweet treat that's had a successful Real Food makeover?
Lindsey S says
Do you think I could replace the dairy with coconut milk and ghee?
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!
Lindsey S says
This looks delicious!!
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!
Hi Jennifer – Yes!
Courtney @ The Polivka Family says
Emily, these look delicious!
Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up says
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!
Wow, these look so good. Have to try these for the holidays!
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?
Can this be made with a substitute for cream? Maybe coconut milk?
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!
Two questions: is heavy cream the same as cream? How would I store These and or package if using for gifts?
Hi Annmarie – Yes, for this recipe, heavy cream and cream are the same. You can read more about different “types” of cream here:
I store mine in the fridge in one sheet and cut it off as I want a piece, but that’s only so I don’t eat it all at once! You can wrap the individual candies in in wax paper. I don’t think they need to be refrigerated, but I’m not entirely sure.
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!
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 🙂
Thanks, Erin! Good to know.
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!
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.
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’…
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?
I’m not sure. If it were me, I’d probably use the first batch for ice cream sauce (!) and then start over.
These look AMAZING. How many caramels does this recipe yield?
Thanks Lina – This yields around 60 candies when cut to 1 inch pieces.
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!!
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.
Teresa Ferguson says
What do you mean by “Full Fat coconut milk”?
Hi Teresa – Full fat meaning the regular coconut milk in a can, not the ‘lite’ canned coconut milk. Hope that helps!
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.
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
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.
Resolved QuestionShow me another »
Does heating honey make it toxic?
2 years ago Report Abuse
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.
MaryLisa Gredler says
I meant to say *steam. Not team
Yay!! Healthy caramel!!! 😉
tina mulhern says
Where can I get cream and butter from grass fed cows?
Hi Tina – here is a good resource: http://www.realmilk.com/
Can you use pink sea salt?
Hi Kerry, thanks for the question. Yes, you can use pink sea salt. Enjoy : )
Just made these today and they are delicious!! I used pink salt instead and it worked perfectly.
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!
Hi Cami, here’s my recipe for Caramel Apples: http://holisticsquid.com/homemade-caramel-apples/
Hi, I was wondering the same as Cami, can this recipe be used for caramel apples? Or does it harden to quickly? Thanks
If I wanted to substitute coconut oil for butter, how should I go about this? Thank you!!
Hi Ashlie, thank you for your question. I would just use the same quantity. Please do let us know how it turns out.
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!
Would these be solid enough to dip in chocolate, or would they just melt? Or would it be possible to make them that way? Maybe cook to a higher temp? Reduce the amount of liquid slightly? I saw the chocolate bark recipe, but was really hoping for chocolate covered caramels, they’re my favorite.
Hi Rachel – That sounds delicious. I might try cooking the caramel a bit longer, and make sure to allow the caramels to fully cool before dipping into chocolate. Let us know how it turns out if you try it!
lisa bivona says
ok, I would like to know using this recipe how to make chocolate caramels, not dipped in chocolate but the caramel chocolate. would adding chocolates change to recipe in any way?
I love caramels but man o man, they consume me.