Introduction: Easy Chocolate Covered Caramels
For the last couple years, I've been able to get an Amazon Black Friday deal on these tasty, basic, milk chocolate covered caramels (nothing fancy, just the way I like it). I love them and was looking forward to getting them again this year, but I couldn't find them at all! I thought I would have to forget about them, but then I made some Microwave Caramels the other day and thought, why don't I just cover them in chocolate! These tasty chocolate covered caramels are super easy to make in the microwave and you can change up the chocolate or caramel to make the perfect for your tastes! These can also be great to gift because they look so cute in mini baking cups!
*This is my 250th Instructable!
Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies
You will need a caramel candies recipe and your favorite chocolate to make these candies. I used semi-sweet chocolate, but I wish I had used milk chocolate. Use whatever you like best.
With this recipe, I made about 111 caramel candies. Your amount will depend on how big or small you cut the caramels. Also, there were a handful of those 111 that I didn't coat and just ate as caramels :)
- Microwave Caramels (you can use my recipe or whatever you like) - If you check out my microwave caramels, you'll notice that these aren't the same amounts, that's because I made 1.5x the original recipe to try to make square caramel pieces in the size I wanted. You can stick with what I had in the original Instructable or use these amounts. Bonus, this will use up your can of sweetened condensed milk if you make my caramels as well.
- 1.5c Brown Sugar
- 6 tbsp Butter
- 3/4c Light Corn Syrup
- 3/4c Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 8-12oz Chocolate - How much you need will probably vary and you are going to have some leftover regardless because you are dipping the caramels in the chocolate.
- Sea Salt (optional for on top)
- You could also try topping them with various sprinkles or drizzle chocolate over them to make them look nice.
- Large microwave safe bowl - for making the caramels; remember, you don't want them to overflow
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sharpe Knife
- 8" by 8" square baking dish - if you use a different size, your resulting candies will simply be a different size
- Microwave - keep in mind that mine is 1100 watts and your times may vary if yours is more or less powerful
- Cutting board and wax paper
- Smaller microwave safe bowl - for chocolate, you can use a big one, but I didn't see the point with such small caramels
- Forks, spoons, and Toothpicks - for chocolate coating
- Mini Baking Cups - (optional) if you plan on putting these in something to give away
- Gloves - (optional) makes handling the caramels easier
- Chocolate Melting Pot / Fondue device - (optional) if you don't want to use the microwave to melt the chocolate (you are going to need the microwave for the caramel still) you can try something like a melting pot, it was suggested in the comments of a previous Instructable I did. You should have more control over melting the chocolate and might result in a better finish on the chocolate than mine; I can't guarantee it, but I wanted to throw this option out there.
Step 2: Make Caramel
You need to make your caramels ahead of time because they need to be set before you can cut and coat them in chocolate. I think I made mine the day before and left it in the fridge until about an hour before I wanted to use it.
You can follow along with my previous Instructable on how to make Microwave Caramels (just make sure you use the right measurements from this Instructable) or you can follow along here quick.
- Stir all ingredients together except for vanilla in a microwave safe bowl that is pretty big - want to avoid overflow.
- Microwave for 3 minutes (your time and power may vary depending on your Microwave wattage, mine is 1100 watts).
- Microwave for 3 minutes.
- Microwave for 2-3 minutes. Check to see if you can form a ball when you drop some in a cup of cold water.
- Stir and when it isn't bubbling, mix in vanilla.
- Pour into your prepared 8 by 8 pan and let the caramel cool and harden up (should still be soft).
Step 3: Cut Up Caramels
When you are ready to cut up your caramels, make sure they are firm enough to cut but not so hard you can't cut them (if you had them in the fridge, they might be tough). Throw it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds if you need to to soften them up more to make them easier to cut.
- Put a piece of wax paper on a cutting board and start by getting your square of caramel out of the pan and onto the board.
- When you have it read, cut a row of caramel off your square.
- Now cut these to make squares to the best of your abilities. My caramels started a little big, but after a row or two I had them the size I wanted them. Also, since I knew I would want them to fit in the mini baking cups, I stuck one in there while I was cutting to get an idea of size. Keep in mind that there will also be a layer of chocolate coating this caramel so you probably want to go a bit smaller than you think when looking at it. (If you put the caramel in the mini baking cup like I did, make sure to take it out right away too as it will stick to the paper and not want to come off.)
Make sure to put your cut caramels on wax paper so they don't stick to anything or each other. I suggest cutting them all up before going on to coating them in chocolate.
Step 4: Chocolate Coating
To keep with the microwave theme of these candies, I melted my chocolate in my microwave. Remember, you need to do this in shorter increments (30 seconds - 1 minute), take it out and stir in between, and I recommend turning down your microwave's power. Just repeat until the chocolate is melted.
My chocolates ended up not having a nice look to them and I assume it is because the chocolate didn't temper right in the microwave. Keep this in mind if you want your candies to look very nice.
Have a tray with wax paper on it ready to put the caramels on once they are coated. You will need enough room so they don't all touch each other. I used the baking sheet (as you can see) and as I freed up my plates of caramels, I started putting them on those plates as well since they were already ready with wax paper.
As you can see, I used a little bowl because that's all I needed. What I eventually did (once I got in a groove) was the following.
- Throw about three caramels in the chocolate bowl (I only worked with them one by one, but putting a couple in at a time just saved a little bit of time instead of throwing them in one by one)
- Get one of the caramels on the fork, but as close to the end of it as you can.
- Coat the caramel as much as you can (feel free to use a spoon and pour it over it).
- Gently tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to knock off excess chocolate.
- Bring the chocolate coated caramel over to your wax paper and stick a toothpick between the tines of the fork, and as carefully as you can, shove the candy off the fork and onto the wax paper.
- Repeat for ALL THE CARAMELS
If you want to add Sea Salt, coat about 3 to 6 and t hen go back and sprinkle your sea salt on top of them. I didn't want the salt to sink into the chocolate too much, but I think you can add it right after you coat it if you want. Just make sure you don't want too long or they will be too hard and the salt won't stick as well.
Once they are all done, find a nice safe place you can put them and let them harden. Pack them up in an airtight container when they are dry until you need them.
Step 5: Trimming
Once they are completely dry, you can carefully do some trimming to make them look nicer. I just used a butter knife (but you can use a sharper knife too) to gently cut off anything sticking off the bottom of the candies. Be careful so you don't tear a chunk of chocolate off them exposing the caramel. It won't hurt them, but they won't look as nice.
You have probably noticed that my chocolates don't have a nice finish. As I mentioned before, I am assuming this is because I didn't temper the chocolate. It's a danger when you use the microwave with chocolate, but I don't mind. If you are going to make these for others, you can consider doing the chocolate part differently.
Step 6: Eat 'em and Share 'em
(I'm going to share a lot of pictures because I took a lot of pictures)
Now, if you want to give them away, using mini baking cups are a good way to go. One thing to keep in mind is if you put your candies with sea salt on them in a box (like you can see I did with some in the photos above), they'll probably get sweaty from the salt. I don't know enough to know why, but it happened to me. Though, the ones that had sea salt on them that I kept in an airtight container were fine. So that's something to keep in mind.
Keeping them out for a short period of time is fine, but if it is going to be longer, I suggest a more airtight container. They tasted fine either way but I just wanted to let you know what my experience was.
They should keep for a while, but I can't guarantee any specific amount of time.