A sweet & salty flavor combo is hard to beat, and it's especially delectable with caramels. I'm excited to have hit on such an easy microwave method for making caramels that doesn't sacrifice any flavor or texture. These caramels are creamy, buttery, chewy, and delicious, and I love that there is no stove-top fussing with a candy thermometer.
I've made this recipe many times and every batch has turned out great. Once you determine the exact cooking time needed for your particular microwave, the recipe is reliable and foolproof. The caramels can be made in different molds and shapes and with a variety of toppings. I have a separate post with gifting ideas and printable tags. It would be hard to find anyone who wouldn't love having these treats as a gift.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients. Butter, white sugar, brown sugar, light corn syrup, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, coarse sea salt. Optional ingredients for toppings: chocolate chips, grapeseed or canola oil, chopped nuts, & decorating sprinkles (not pictured)
Step 2. Cook the caramel.
*TIP: ADJUST COOKING TIME FOR YOUR MICROWAVE WATTAGE
The recommended cooking times in this recipe are based on my 1100 watt microwave. If yours has a different wattage, you will most likely need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. (I found my microwave wattage on a label that is visible on the inside of the microwave.) Because microwaves vary, there may be some trial and error involved to determine exactly the correct cooking time. Click here for a cooking conversion chart for different wattages that I found online. I don't know if the chart is perfectly reliable, but it may give you some guidance in making adjustments.
Your caramels should be chewy and easy to eat--not a challenge to your dental work! If they turn out too hard, you need to reduce the cooking time. If they're too soft, increase the cooking time.
Step 3. Pour the hot caramel into a mold. I'll demonstrate 2 options.
OPTION 1 -- A Baking dish
Hint: Put the caramel on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper for easier cutting and removal later. Otherwise, it may stick to the cutting board.
OPTION 2 -- Use mini ice cube trays for molds
Step 4. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt. Press it in gently.
Step 5. Wrap individual pieces in parchment or waxed paper and twist the ends. Store in fridge or at a cool room temperature. Parchment paper worked the best for me--the caramels release easily without sticking. 4" x 3" paper rectangles are the perfect size for wrapping 40 lof these log-shaped caramels cut from an 8" x 8" square pan. Store in fridge or at a cool room temperature.
Love that sweet & salty combo. Yum!
Update about shipping: I had a question about shipping these in the comments section, and I thought this was worthy of mention here so you don't miss it. If you want to ship the salted caramels, I recommend the plain, log-shapped ones pictured above, individually wrapped in parchment paper and twisted on the ends. The wrapping helps the caramels keep their shape and keeps them from sticking together. I don't recommend shipping the decorated caramels illustrated below. They may lose their shape if they get too warm during the shipping process.
Here are some optional ways to add different flavors, colors, and textures to your caramels.
Drizzle with melted chocolate.
Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to 1 cup of chocolate chips and microwave at 20 second intervals, stopping to stir each time, and continuing to cook just until melted--approx. 60 seconds total.
Drizzle on the chocolate with a spoon, or use a squeeze bottle. An alternative to the bottle is to put the melted chocolate in a plastic ziploc bag, push the chocolate down to one corner, twist the top of the bag, snip a small hole in the corner of the bag, and squeeze the chocolate out through the hole.
Click here for Amazon link to squeeze bottles.
While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle on some coarse sea salt, if desired. Here are the ice cube tray caramels:
And, here are caramels formed in the 8x8 baking dish and cut into 24 pieces:
Add decorating sprinkles.
You can add decorating sprinkles in holiday or any theme colors.
Add chopped nuts.
Add nuts for some crunch and yum. These taste like turtle candies.
Make a variety.
Using the ice cube tray molds makes these uniform in size and shape. Add a variety of toppings and arrange them in a single layer in a small box. They'll look like they came from a candy store!
Caramels are sticky and easier to remove if arranged so they don't touch each other and are stored on parchment or waxed paper. Wrap individual caramels in parchment or waxed paper or place in single layer on top of parchment/wax paper in covered container. Store in fridge or at a cool room temperature. They will lose their shape if they get too warm. Refrigerated caramels are too stiff to eat and should be brought to room temperature before eating.
Caution about paper candy cups: I tried inserting the caramels into 2 different kinds of paper candy (mini muffin) cups with mixed results. The caramels stuck to one kind and were impossible to remove without making a mess; but they released fine from the other. These foil ones worked the best of the ones I tried. Cutting small pieces of parchment paper to set them on works even better.
Here's the best part...biting into one of these gooey, chewy, creamy treats. SO, SO GOOD. Too good to be this easy!
Want to give these caramels as a gift?
Check out my post with packaging ideas and printable tags.
Click to view Sea Salt Caramel Gift Ideas & Tags
Make it a yummy day!
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