When we can’t have chocolate, then we have caramel, and homemade caramels are pretty easy to make right in our own kitchen. We can admit to a certain level of intimidation when it comes to making caramel but you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to make and how easy it is to share. We absolutely adore these homemade Amish caramels because they check all the right boxes: simple ingredients, easy to make, and super good to eat. These are typically a holiday season confection but there’s no reason to limit yourself to a single season for these delightfully sweet treats.
A unique characteristic of Amish caramels is how soft they are. There are varying stages to cooking caramel that allows for different caramel consistency. The higher the temperature, the harder the caramel becomes. These caramels are not only light in color but also soft in texture, making them almost TOO easy to eat! We like to cut ours into small rectangle shapes and twist them into parchment paper for a goodie to share with friends, but it’s also soft enough to pour into a mason jar to be used as a dip or drizzle over something like ice cream, yogurt, or fruit. Even as a sauce, packed in a mason jar and tied with a cute ribbon, this homemade Amish caramel is the perfect hostess gift or holiday stocking-stuffer. Frankly, these candies are enjoyable for every season from Christmas to the Fourth of July!
Summertime is a great time for these little treats and we love the almost carnival-fare quality of the wrapped caramel candies. This downright irresistible recipe is one that is sure to disappear quickly, so it’s a good thing that this is so easy to make! Always remember to use caution when making caramel because it is extremely hot. But don’t let the seeming difficulty of caramel stop you from making what is such a lovely treat. These soft nibbles of pale-golden caramel are close to absolute perfection. Enjoy!
Homemade Amish Caramels
1 hour to prepare serves 12
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- parchment paper
- Place candy thermometer in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or butter-greased parchment paper.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter, plus 1/4 cup cream in saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
- Once boiling (and continuing to stir), slowly pour in remaining heavy cream.
- While stirring, monitor thermometer until it reaches soft-ball stage (236-240º F).
- Optional: have a glass of cold water next to your workstation and when caramel approaches soft ball stage, take a spoonful and place it in cold water.
- After 3-4 seconds, take caramel in your fingers; it should form a firm, soft ball, but should not be hard. It should still be malleable to the touch.
- At this stage, caramel will turn transparent. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt, if using.
- Pour into prepared and greased dish, then let cool and cut into squares or rectangles. Optional: wrap in parchment paper.
Recipe adapted from House and Hone.