Updated: Feb 2, 2021
These vegan caramels are like the real deal, but perhaps even better! It took many tries to get this recipe just right, but i'm in love with the result! Coconut milk replaces the dairy in these little treasures and gives this recipe the creaminess of a proper chewy caramel with the added delicious undertones of coconut. Use them in your favorite recipes, gift them during the holidays, or eat them as is! These caramels are to die for!
Yields ~ 91 1 inch x 1 inch x 3/4 inch caramels
While your caramel cooks, always keep an eye on it! I always sit by mine to ensure nothing is going funky with it. Below are funky things that could happen and how to prevent them!
Crystallization: Sometimes when making caramel, little clear sugar crystals will form on the walls and the bottom of your saucepan. If you have a good nonstick pot, this shouldn't happen, but if you pay close attention and you start to see some forming, quickly grab a glass of cold water and a basting brush and lightly brush the walls of your pot with the cold water anywhere you see some forming. This is also just a good preventative action to take against this issue. Sugar crystals are a quick way to ruin a batch of caramels, but if you have this issue, don't fret! Finish making the caramel because chances are it won't completely funk it up beyond deliciousness.
Boiling over: This is an issue I face almost every time I make caramel, and as scary as it looks to see sugar bubbles rising out of your pot and making a mess on your stove, its not something that's gonna ruin your caramel, and this stage in the process will end soon as the caramel cooks down more and more. So don't take it off the heat, continue cooking it (perhaps on a slightly lower temperature) and try placing a wooden spoon or two across the rim of your pot. Wooden spoons across your pot are a common way to prevent over-boiling and while it cant always stop it, they definitely help.
Burning: If you start to smell or see your caramel burning, this could be because you have the heat raised too high. Some saucepans and pots are stronger heat conductors than others, so try turning the dial back a couple notches and letting it cook slower at a lower temperature. If your caramel persists with this issue, a new or different pot will likely solve this issue. I burnt two batches of caramel until I discovered it was the pot that was attributing to the issue, not any missteps by me. Everyone has their own opinions on this, but to me, a good caramel pot is a nice 2-4 quart heavy bottomed stainless steel & non-stick saucepan.
For the caramel:
1 13.5oz can of coconut milk (not cream)
3/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp course salt (regular salt works fine too)
1 & 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
A food/candy thermometer
A tall nonstick saucepan (or one that's listed as being great for making caramel)
A casserole dish for setting your finished caramel (I use a 9"x 9", but any size will do, it just depends how thin you want your block of caramel to be.)
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, corn syrup, and salt and heat it on medium-low for ~3 minutes (or until the corn syrup and coconut milk are well combined into each other).
Grease and line a casserole dish with oil and parchment paper for pouring your caramel in to set.
In a medium-large nonstick saucepan, combine your sugar and water and give it a quick stir. Heat it on medium-high heat, letting it simmer until it turns amber (this should take around 15-20 minutes).
Remove it from heat and slowly add in your coconut milk/corn syrup mixture.
Return the saucepan to medium low heat and give it a quick stir to combine. This should be the last time you stir or touch your caramel. Good caramel doesn't like to be bothered, so as much as you'll feel like you want to help it out with a stir, don't.
After its been simmering for about 5 minutes, raise the heat to medium-high and let it boil until it reaches 245-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This could take some time, so be patient and always keep an eye on it. I'll usually pull of a chair or stool in front of the stove and turn on a show so I can sit there and make sure my caramel isn't boiling over, burning, or crystallizing. See the tips I've included above to prevent your caramel from ruining during this process.
Once your caramel has reached 245-250 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from heat and add in your 1 tsp vanilla extract. Give it a quick stir with a silicone spatula.
Pour your finished caramel into your prepared dish to set for 1-2 hours.
When your caramel is set and has cooled a bit (you want it around room temperature), carefully take it out of the dish and onto a cutting block and cut them into your desired shape and size. To store them, I wrap mine in little rectangles of parchment and keep them in a cool dry place inside an airtight container.
Feel free to comment below or reach me on Instagram @eats.by.eli if you have any questions, if you have made this recipe, and if so, what you thoughts were! Best wishes!