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Best Ever Caramels


  • 1 1⁄2 C sugar
  • 1⁄4 C corn syrup
  • 1⁄2 C water
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Fleur de Sel salt*, plus extra for sprinkling, optional
  • 1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Parchment paper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Candy thermometer


By David Bradley of West Liberty, Kentucky
Member of Licking Valley RECC

Line an 8×8-inch cake pan with parchment paper, allowing enough paper to drape over two sides; brush lightly with vegetable oil.

In medium saucepan place sugar, corn syrup, and water; stir only once to combine with a wooden spoon.

Cook on medium-high heat just until it is a warm brown color.

Occasionally, using caution, pick up the pot and swirl the mixture.

DO NOT STIR with a spoon.

Watch the mixture closely. It can burn quickly near the end.


In the meantime, in another saucepan, combine heavy cream, sea salt, and butter, bringing to a simmer on medium heat, then put aside and keep warm.

When the sugar mixture is at the right color, pour in the cream mixture and add the vanilla extract.

It will boil up violently.

Using a candy thermometer, bring mixture to 248°, stirring constantly (approximately 9 minutes) with a wooden spoon.

Once you have reached the desired temperature, pour mixture into the cake pan.

Refrigerate immediately.

Once the caramel has cooled (about 45 minutes to an hour), yet still pliable, grab the parchment paper to remove the caramel slab from the pan; peel the parchment paper away from the slab and place on a cutting board.

Cut the slab in half down the middle, to make two pieces.

Then, starting at one end and working across, roll the caramel tightly into a log.

Repeat with the second piece of caramel.

Once you have two logs formed, sprinkle Fleur de Sel, if desired, on top of each log.

Using a large, wide-blade knife, cut into squares.


To wrap caramels individually, use 4×6 ½-inch cut sheets of parchment paper or 4×4-inch premade candy wrappers, twisting both ends.

Store caramels in a sealed container in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Makes 24 pieces.

*Note: Fleur de Sel is a French sea salt that is very flaky and not harsh like regular salt. Do not substitute regular sea salt; it is not the same. You can find Fleur de Sel online or in specialty food stores like Williams-Sonoma.


BRADLEY writes, “The inspiration for these caramels came from Ina Garten, Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa. I made some adjustments on the original recipe to make it just right. I changed the amounts of several of the ingredients, including sugar, butter, water, and corn syrup. After a couple of tests using my version, they were perfect. As my grandmother Thelma would say, ‘Tongue-slap-your-brains-out-good!’ I usually make one log with the sprinkling of sea salt and one without. They are rich and delicious. I place the caramels into tins and give as Christmas gifts or for special occasions.”

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