Salted Butter Caramels

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Salted Butter Caramels As we’ve discussed before, salt and caramel are one of the best combinations ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. EVER. And these caramels may just be the best ever. You should go make them now. Seriously.

I know what you’re saying, “I don’t want to use corn syrup, blah blah blah.” Well, David has some alternatives to corn syrup in his post so go read it, make the caramels, then tell David and myself how much you love us. Ignore what your thighs say, they’re not allowed to have an opinion about this.

Photos of the process here.

3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, bean paste, or powder
rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, golden syrup (such as Lyle’s) or rice syrup*
1 cup (200 g) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 g), total, salted butter, cubed, at room temperature


  1. Line a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan with foil and spray the inside with cooking spray. (I used non-stick foil–that stuff is incredible!)
  2. Heat cream, two tablespoons butter, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in a small saucepan until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the syrup.
  3. In a medium, heavy duty saucepan (4 quarts, 4l), fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn syrup with the sugar and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots.
  4. Cook until the syrup reaches 310ºF (155ºC). To get an accurate reading while the syrup is cooking, tilt the saucepan to make sure the bulb of the thermometer is fully submerged in the syrup. (I had never done this before, and that could easily explain why I’ve burned sugar in the past. Good tip from David!)
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture until smooth.
  6. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 260F (127C).
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and stir in the cubes of butter until they’re melted and the mixture is smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and wait ten minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt over the top. Set on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the foil with the caramel, peel away the foil, and slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.

Storage: These caramels can be individually-wrapped in cellophane or waxed paper. Once cut, they may stick together if not wrapped. Store in an air-tight container, and they’ll keep for about one month.

Recipe from David Lebovitz.


14 Responses to “Salted Butter Caramels”

    Suzanne on 1 February 7th, 2010 8:46 pm

    Mmmm, salted caramel!!!! What is the consistency of the finished product? Sticky? Soft & chewy? I might have to buy a candy thermometer & give these a try!

    Hilary on 2 February 7th, 2010 8:56 pm

    I think I overcooked mine a little bit, but they’re still chewy. I think it all depends on how high of a temp you go. Either way, they’re YUM.

    jami on 3 February 7th, 2010 9:12 pm

    they sound great!

    Wendy on 4 February 7th, 2010 9:15 pm

    I was planning to make David’s caramels too! Thank you for the step by step photos, now I have a better idea as to what colour to look for when cooking the caramel. Yours look delicious!

    shelly (cookies and cups) on 5 February 8th, 2010 5:01 am

    These look great! One of my favorite treats 🙂 Haven’t made them in a while, so thanks for the recipe!

    Jennifer on 6 February 8th, 2010 5:37 am

    Oh, I love those! So, so good. With butter, cream and fleur de sel, how could they not be?

    I’ve used cut up squares of waxed paper to wrap them and it worked well but Amazon has precut sheets of candy sized foil wrappers that are so pretty and work even better.

    Seanna Lea on 7 February 8th, 2010 9:21 am

    I will ignore my thighs. I just need to buy salted butter (I’ve only bought unsalted butter for about 2 years now with all of the baking I do). Yum!

    I have the candy thermometer that looks kind of like a meat thermometer (no obvious bulb). Do you think the same tilting technique would apply?

    Also, while this should be obvious, do not use a plastic spoon. Ask me how I know!

    Cassie Baker on 8 February 8th, 2010 4:00 pm

    I totally agree! Salt + Caramel = Heaven! You know what else is good… Dip a marshmallow in melted chocolate and sprinkle it with salt! 😀 😀

    Blue Glass Heart Button « ShopBritexNotions & Britex Fabrics on 9 February 9th, 2010 11:21 am

    […] I am meeting you on the corner at 7:30pm, and am bringing a pink and silver checked box filled with home-made caramels. “Blind them with sugar” is my new motto. “Say what you will, and scratch my heart to find […]

    Sweets at Vicky's on 10 February 10th, 2010 5:36 am

    I was just at Marks and Spencer just now and was ALMOST grabbing the butterscotch caramels but didn’t. Now i totally wish I did. Yum recipe!

    PastryPrincess on 11 March 6th, 2010 4:06 am

    Yesterday I went to Bill Granger’s famed restaurant Bill’s in Sydney – where I’m on holidays right now – and bought some salted peanut brittle to take home after brunch. that stuff is simply addictive! ill be blogging about it soon… of course salted caramel isnt exactly big news anymore but the flavours just compliment eachother so well they’re a classic by now!

    Ali on 12 June 3rd, 2010 10:36 am

    Hi – I made these and they taste great, but the consistency is off. They won’t hold thier form for anything. I let them cool, then tried to cut them and once I pull a piece out, the remaining caramel fills in the empty spot. Even after cooling overnight. I was finally able to cut them up and wrap them, but even a few days later, they just kind of ooze (I took a bite, left it on the counter on the wrapper and came back an hour later to a flat blob of caramel).

    Is there any thought on how to make them just a little less soft?

    Hilary on 13 June 3rd, 2010 8:17 pm

    @Ali – Did you read David’s tips regarding getting an accurate temperature reading? It sounds your thermometer reading may have been off…

    Cara on 14 September 11th, 2011 10:49 am

    I found this recipe the other day and wanted to try it so bad. So yesterday I did. I have cooked sugar many times in my life making divinity, pralines, fudge, and my lovely peanut brittle, but none of my recipes called for heating up to such a high temp so the 310 degrees had me a little scared. I made them, stirring occasionally so the mixture wouldn’t burn, and keeping a close eye on my thermometer, but apparently if burned after all because it was very evident in the final product. I know this isn’t the recipe’s fault and I really want to try again! I did make a caramel after that that was a simple dump everything in the pot and heat to 250 which turned out fine and I have another one I want to try as well. Maybe I will make this again later and have better results!