How to Make Holiday Caramels

caramels recipe

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the abundance of sweets! Is that bad to say? Should I only affirm that I like Jesus, spending time with family, and donating to the needy? Well settle down everyone because I like those things too. But sweets, and their heavenly aroma, really make the holidays pop for me.

Until recently, I never had the opportunity to make caramels. In fact, until recently, anytime a recipe called for caramel I flipped the page and looked for a new recipe. Maybe this is because caramels were always something that my Mom or Grandma made at Christmas, not a twenty-something with a sweet tooth! But when I received this Quick Read Digital Cooking Thermometer from Cave Tool, I really wanted to test it out, and caramels provided me with a way to do so. And let me tell you, EVERYONE who tried these said they were the best caramels they had ever eaten… so you’re in for a treat.

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Now that you know I was too timid to try out making caramels, it’ll come to no surprise to know that I’ve never been adventurous enough to use a cooking thermometer either. I like to keep things simple. If recipe calls for a thermometer, it will probably take too much time and I’ll become hangry (angry + hungry) before it’s done, right? Wrong! I couldn’t have been more wrong! Cooking with a thermometer is super easy! To use, simply press the on bottom, stick it in your food, and read the temperature. Simple as pie. Had I know it was so easy I might have tried cooking a lot more items in the past. This is going to open up a whole new cooking book of possibilities for me! You should try them out too! Another reason I now love cooking thermometers is that they allow me to know without a doubt that my meat is safe to eat. Just stick them into your meat and you’re ready to go! But now that I’m done talking about cooking thermometers, on to the recipe for holiday caramels!

Like I was previously saying, caramels aren’t anything to be afraid of, they are actually really easy to make! If you want to make some for your holiday guests, or you just have a sweet tooth, check out this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens’ book, Candy.

Shortcut Caramels 


  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 16oz package of brown sugar (2 1/4 cups packed)
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


how to make homemade caramelsLine a 9x9x2 inch baking pan with foil. Butter the foil and set aside.

how to make homemade caramels

how to make homemade caramelsMelt 1 cup butter over low heat.

how to make homemade caramelsAdd brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and light corn syrup; mix well.

how to make homemade caramels

Carefully clip candy thermometer to side of pan. (A Stephanie cooking note: The Cave Tools Digital Cooking Thermometer doesn’t have a clip. To use while cooking candy, hold about an inch into the liquid in your pan. Be sure to not touch the side or bottom of the pan, as this will give a false reading.)

how to make homemade caramels

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 248 degrees Fahrenheit. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over the entire surface.

how to make homemade caramels

Remove saucepan from heat and thermometer from the pan. Immediately stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. When caramel is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Use a buttered knife to cut candy into 1-inch squares. Wrap each piece in clear plastic wrap.

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Makes 81 pieces or about 2 3/4 lbs.

caramels recipe

Making these holiday caramels was fun and easy activity. I recommend doing it with your family! If after reading this recipe you feel adventurous and want to try out some recipes that involve a cooking thermometer, I have a great discount for you. You can purchase the same Cave Tools cooking thermometer I used in this recipe for 15% off with the code LH58KB66 here. There’s really no reason to wait because you get 15% off and free Prime shipping!  If you try out this recipe, tell me how it works for you in the comment section below.

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