A Visual Guide to Making and Wrapping Caramels

  • 01 of 10

    How to Make Caramels

    Caramel candy
    MmeEmil / Getty Images

    These soft caramels have a delightfully chewy texture and a buttery, sweet flavor. Once wrapped, they're the perfect gift or stocking stuffer. 

    Gather your ingredients and set up your station.

    What You'll Need

    • 9 x 9-inch pan (lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray)
    • Candy thermometer
    • 2 medium saucepans 
    • Pastry brush
    • Bowl of water
    • Sharp knife
    • Scissors
    • Wax or parchment paper
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  • 02 of 10

    Heat the Milk and Cream

    Cream and condensed milk a sauce pan
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Combine cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Check the mixture periodically to ensure that it does not boil or simmer. 

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  • 03 of 10

    Make the Sugar Syrup

    Making sugar syrup for caramels
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    In the second saucepan, combine corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium heat. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Once the syrup has reached this point, do not stir or shake the pot.

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  • 04 of 10

    Wash Down the Sides of the Pan

    Washing the sides of a pan
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Wet the pastry brush and brush the sides of the saucepan generously with water. Continue to wash the sides of the pan until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. You can repeat this process several times, whenever sugar crystals start to form along the sides of the saucepan sides.

    Don't worry: Water won't hurt the caramel. If you don't wash down the sides of your saucepan, your caramels might have a gritty texture. 

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  • 05 of 10

    Bring the Candy to 250 F

    Inserting a candy thermometer while making caramels
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Insert a candy thermometer into the syrup and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and continue to cook, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 250 F. Your syrup will have a light golden color at this point.

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  • 06 of 10

    Add the Milk and Continue to Cook

    Adding milk to caramel
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    When the syrup reaches 250 F, add the softened butter and warm milk mixture. The temperature should drop by about 30 degrees.

    Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly, until the thermometer reads 244 F. The caramel should be a beautiful deep golden brown color. This process might take 15 minutes or longer, depending on your stove and pan.

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  • 07 of 10

    Cool the Caramel

    Pouring caramel into a pan
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    When the caramel reaches 244 F, remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately pour the caramel into the prepared 9 x 9-inch pan. Do not scrape any candy from the bottom of the saucepan.

    For caramels with a perfectly smooth, silky texture, allow the candy to cool overnight at room temperature. You can refrigerate the pan, but the temperature drop might affect the candy's consistency. 

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  • 08 of 10

    Cut the Caramel Into Squares

    Cutting caramel into squares
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    If you've used regular foil, remove it before you cut the caramels. To do this, use the foil overhang to lift the candy from the pan, then flip it onto a piece of wax paper. Peel the foil off the candy. 

    If you've used heavy-duty foil, you can simply cut the caramels in the pan. 

    Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut the caramel into 1-inch squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary. The 9 x 9-inch pan should yield 81 caramels. 

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  • 09 of 10

    Wrap the Caramels

    Wrapping caramels
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    This recipe produces wonderfully soft and chewy caramels, which can gradually spread and lose their square shape if left unwrapped at room temperature. 

    To wrap each caramel, cut a 3-inch square of wax or parchment paper. Place the caramel at the center of the square. Fold the bottom inch of paper up over the caramel, then overlap the top inch of paper down over the caramel. Twist the ends several times and repeat with the remaining candies.

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  • 10 of 10

    Enjoy Your Homemade Treats

    Delicious, chewy caramels
    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Give your delicious caramels to friends and family or enjoy them all at home. The candies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    If you're feeling decadent, you can dip your caramels in chocolate, then decorate them with sprinkles or freeze-dried fruit. In a pinch, you can also make caramel sauce by melting them in a microwave-safe bowl.