Golden Caramels

Total Time:
6 hr 30 min
6 hr
30 min

Makes about 2 pounds

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 24 -karat gold leaf
  • Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper; set aside.

  • Split the vanilla bean in half with a small paring knife, and scrape out the seeds; discard the pod. Add the seeds to the cream in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan; scald the cream and keep the saucepan near the stove so that if the cream cools too much when needed, you can reheat it briefly. In a deep, heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over low heat, blend the corn syrup and the sugar, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes more fluid and most of the sugar appears dissolved.

  • Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and gently boil until a candy thermometer registers 305 degrees F (hard crack stage), about 9 to 12 minutes.

  • Add the butter and salt to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Pour in the warm vanilla-flavored cream in a slow but steady stream without letting the boiling stop (be careful-mixture foams up and is steamy). Lower heat to medium and continue to boil gently until the thermometer registers about 248 degrees F, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, about 14 to 15 minutes.

  • Let the candy stand about 3 minutes to allow bubbling to subside, then pour into the prepared pan without scraping the saucepan; allow to cool at least 5 hours.

  • Invert onto a clean cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips; then cut across the strips to form 1/2-inch squares. To apply a patch of gold leaf to each square, use a small artist's brush. With the brush, lift a tiny patch about the size of an oatmeal flake of gold leaf and deposit it on top of the caramels for decoration.

  • Cut caramels tend to stick together and not hold their shape unless individually wrapped, so for easiest storage wrap the block of caramels in aluminum foil and cut off portions as needed. Store cut caramels in layers, separated by aluminum foil in an airtight metal or plastic container in a cool place for up to 3 weeks.

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4.5 12
I tried these caramels and could not get them to harden. I am an experienced baker with extensive use of the candy thermometer so I was very disappointed. I then tried to bake them in the oven, freeze them and still no caramels.  There must be a better recipe out there. I would try. I am going to!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first attempt at making candy with the candy thermometer. I was amazed at how easy it was. Everyone raved about the caramels and could not believe they were homemade. I didn't have any trouble cutting them. I just let it set up on the counter for 6 hours beforehand. I didn't put the gold leaf on, and I wrapped them in foil candy wrappers. They looked like they came from an old-fashioned candy shop. item not reviewed by moderator and published
First caramel recipe I've tried in my 71 years that came out perfect! I shouldn't have been surprised as when I saw Flo Braker's name on this recipe, I knew she would have researched it as thoroughly as she has researched her cake recipes over the years, which are as perfect as can be. To the reviewer who was not successful with this recipe, I've noticed that the quality of corn syrup makes a difference as most store-brand ones have added ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, or perhaps her candy thermometer was off a few degrees. Thanks, Ms. Braker! item not reviewed by moderator and published
These are the first caramels I've ever made and I've made them three times now. They are pretty easy to make and I go a little more than 240 degrees at the end so they're more chewy. Soo good I get requests for them often. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My first attempt at true candy-making, and these were a rousing success. The recipe really is quite easy to follow, if not a tad messy in the construction. My only alterations were to leave the caramels in the pan, in the refrigerator, overnight to ensure they were as firm as possible to work with. Also, because at room temperature, they are very soft, I coated them with bittersweet chocolate. Perfection! They store beautifully and last as long as the greedy little hands will let them. Definitely a favorite, and definitely a recipe to make again. Plan on being asked to give these as a food-gift to all who try them. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe was easy to make and I followed it to a tee but after 5hours I inverted it only to have to pour all over the cutting board and onto the counter. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow.... these are good! This is more of a European soft caramel - light and gooey, not the pull-your-fillings-out kind. I made it for gifts and have had MANY requests for more. The flavor is excellent, nice and buttery, what caramel should taste like!! And rather easy to make. I went with vanilla extract instead of the bean and it worked fine. My only suggestion would be to cut it into squares after it's been 'set', then refrigerated and cold, otherwise it's difficult to cut. I rolled individual pieces in confectioner's sugar to help keep them from sticking to wax paper wrappers. I'll make this many, many more times, it's a winner!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first time making caramels and I couldn't believe how well these turned out. I followed the instructions exactly and came out with a buttery, deep golden, perfectly chewy caramel. They are absolutely perfect. Definitely adding this one to my recipe collection! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been using a different recipe, and never felt the flavor was developed. I think it's the addition of corn syrup that allows the recipe to cook longer and develop great flavor. Be patient - cooking at recommended heat allows the syrup to develop the caramel color and flavor. Looking forward to dipping some in chocolate. item not reviewed by moderator and published
After SEVERAL failed attempts at making caramel with other recipies I was pleased (and relieved!) when I tried this recipie. I didn't have a vanilla bean so I used regular vanilla extract and the caramels came out soft, golden and chewy, exactly what I was looking for. They were quite easy to make and I will definitely be adding this gem to my recipe box. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was very very good. I'll make it again, and again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
i made this recipe of caramel to go with my turtles and they came out delicious! recipe is straightforward and easy to follow. love that buttery caramel flavor! item not reviewed by moderator and published

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Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee