Creamy Bourbon Caramels With Sea Salt

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About: I'm Nancy, FancyNancyAnn. I like being in the kitchen - especially with cool gadgets. Baking is my favorite, but it has to find a new home fast, because of a huge chocolate sweet tooth. Next to me is Riley ...

When I find a recipe to work with, it goes through a transformation to make it to "My Favorites" list. For caramels, I want:

  • Creamy texture; not too chewy,
  • Buttery flavor with a little oomph,
  • And WORTH THE CALORIES when it's time to taste.

With holidays just around the corner, here is my all time favorite recipe for Creamy Bourbon Caramels w/ Sea Salt.

Making caramel is not hard but you need to be careful and keep a close eye on your mixture taking care to not splatter yourself with hot sugar (a.k.a. liquid napalm). Having the right tools and your ingredients prepped and ready is key to caramel making success!

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Step 1: Ingredients and Tools

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Sugar (800 g)
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter (227 g)
  • 2 cups White Corn Syrup (682 g)
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 20 oz Evaporated Milk (567 g)
  • 4 oz Bourbon (113 g)
  • Fleur De Sel Sea Salt

Tools

Step 2: Prepare Ingredients

Put Butter, Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Kosher Salt in Dutch Oven

Pour Evaporated Milk and Bourbon in Glass Measuring Cup. Place it within reach of Butter/Sugar mixture

Place Silicone Liner in Glass Pyrex Baking Dish. (Tip: Place a kitchen towel or something similar to prevent movement when pouring finished caramel from Dutch Oven to Glass Dish)

Step 3: Melt Butter/Sugar Mixture

On Medium Heat melt butter/sugar mixture and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally but keep a close eye on mixture. Adjust heat if needed to keep mixture boiling but not scalding. Increase stirring with spatula at this point. Sugar is getting hot, put on your kitchen glove if you haven't yet.

Step 4: Set Timer 25 Minutes and SLOWLY Add Evaporated Milk/Bourbon Mixture

This step is the key to your caramel making success!

Set a timer for 25-30 minutes and slowly add a portion of the milk/bourbon mixture a bit at a time. This entire process should take 25-30 minutes; stir constantly.

(TIP: Each time you pour a small amount of the liquid into the pan, your caramel mixture will rise up and boil rapidly; it may also splatter so be prepared to take a small step back)

Step 5: Bring Mixture to 238 F

Once all the milk/bourbon is added, use a thermometer and bring mixture to 238 F, not a bit hotter. Use an Instant Read thermometer, it will be more accurate. You may find it handy, however, to keep a Candy Thermometer in the sugar/butter mixture. 238 F is the ultimate goal for your caramels to reach.

Step 6: 238 F - Remove From Heat and Pour Into Silicone-lined Dish

Once the caramel mixture reaches 238 F (anything over this and the caramel will be chewy), remove from heat and pour into your prepared dish.

(TIP: Do Not scrape the bottom of the pan! Caramel is at a higher temperature on the very bottom of pan and usually tougher/chewier. This will leave hard spots in your finished caramel. Instead, scrape the bottom into a smaller dish and eat it separately. This is the cooks portion - haha!)

Step 7: Cool, Cut, Salt and Wrap

Allow caramel to stand for 24 hours before cutting. Cut and place each caramel on cellophane candy wrapper. Sprinkle some Fleur De Sel on top of each and wrap.

(TIP: Twist each end of the wrapper in opposite directions to keep the caramel sealed)

Enjoy!

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    23 Discussions

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    egcinll

    Question 4 weeks ago

    Does high altitude (5,000 ft) make a difference when using a candy thermometer?

    1 answer
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    FancyNancyAnnegcinll

    Answer 4 weeks ago

    Altitude does have an influence with candy making. Usually the higher the altitude, the lower end of the temperature range for best results. For creamy caramels 238F should work great. My altitude is under 800 feet; I poured my caramels at a solid reading of 239F using an instant read thermometer as backup for my optimal final temperature.

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    MichaelS370

    7 weeks ago

    Is there to make these into Chocolate Caramels? I have a Chocolate fundraiser event for a non-profit that I am apart of in the beginning of next year and I am considering making these as one of my items.

    1 reply
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    FancyNancyAnnMichaelS370

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I have a fantastic dark chocolate espresso caramel I’m loading up on the Candy site this weekend. I think you’ll like it and should be a hit at your chocolate fundraiser which, by the way, sounds great!! Can I come? : )

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    Mikeygun229

    2 months ago

    Jack Daniels is not Bourbon. It is whiskey. Bourbon has specific requirements to be classified as a bourbon. Bourbon is whiskey Whiskey is not Bourbon. Using Jack in any bourbon recipe will result in a much different taste.

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    ehyofrankyMikeygun229

    Reply 2 months ago

    For the most part, the majority of people can't tell the difference in taste. Its only the pretentious snobs that want to sound smart that make a big deal of it.

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    Mikeygun229ehyofranky

    Reply 2 months ago

    I you can't taste the difference between whiskey and bourbon you must not drink either. It's nothing to do with being a snob. But thank you I do believe it's the first time I've been called a snob. There is a rich history in bourbon you should look into the stories of bourbon. To generally group any brown whiskey as bourbon/ whiskey just shows you haven't a clue.

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    ehyofrankyMikeygun229

    Reply 2 months ago

    I said the majority of people, I am not the majority. I've enjoyed everything from Straight shine down to the cheap stuff. Sure there's differences in brands and their particular blends of grains but the only real thing that separates a bourbon from a whiskey is the amount of corn, proof ranges, the barrels and being made in the USA. All things of which most folks can't decipher in taste.

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    Dejabylen

    Question 2 months ago on Step 7

    Would this recipe be good for caramel apples and turtles? I've worked with baking caramel but haven't made my own before. Would I have to change the temperature?

    1 answer
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    FancyNancyAnnDejabylen

    Answer 2 months ago

    I really like the taste of this caramel recipe and think it would make fantastic turtles and caramel apples. You are right, the caramel temperature would need to be changed. More for the caramel apples, say 248-250. The turtle candy caramels right around 240. Enjoy!!

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    caitd3

    2 months ago

    WOW! I have a big event to go to in a week, and these are going with me. They are going to be the biggest hit of the weekend!

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    caitd3FancyNancyAnn

    Reply 2 months ago

    I love the caramels, but I am having a terrible time with the cellophane wrappers. I had to buy some cellophane bags for candy and cut them into rectangles. I could not find the lighter cellophane at either Michaels or JoAnn's. Did you have to order yours online? Maybe waxed paper would work better? I live where it is pretty humid most of the time and I had to let it set in a cold oven for a couple days so that it firmed up enough to handle. Best part of the whole project is eating the results. I have some honey bourbon I am going to try next, then rum, and then chambord...there are so many choices...Gran Mariner
    Thanks again for the instructable, and if you have a source for the wrappers, I sure would love to have it.


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    FancyNancyAnncaitd3

    Reply 2 months ago

    Hi caitd3!
    I get the cellophane wrappers off Amazon. They’re the 5x5 inch size. There should be a direct link to these in the instructable . In the past I have tried both the wax paper and the cellophane. I ended up liking the cellophane, but the wax candy wrappers are a good alternative. It has been a crazy humid summer! Your idea of the cold oven was great. Maybe could pop them in the fridge an hour or two right before you cut. I think you’re right about the humidity affecting the softness of the caramel. The taste is still amazing. I’d have fun with your liquor additions. The alcohol is cooked out, but the notes of flavor are present. Honey bourbon, Gran Mariner... Yum!!

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    caitd3FancyNancyAnn

    Reply 2 months ago

    Just finished making this. Now I have to wait 24 hours to cut and wrap. The cook's batch tasted great. I used Wild Turkey Rare Breed which is a higher alcohol content than regular Bourbon because it is what I had on hand. I used a larger pan to avoid the boil over problem when adding the bourbon/milk mixture. Alton Brown said on his show, that if it boils over, just use a bigger pot.....Worked great. I have some Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon to try next time. Only problem I had was I scorched a bit on the bottom of the pan, but I was careful not to get it in the pour. I use T-fal pans for candy because they don't need to be scraped to get the last bit. It just all pours out nicely, no spatula needed. Thanks for the recipe!

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    Lucy-annW

    2 months ago

    I made this with maple whisky instead of bourbon because it’s what I had on hand. Super yummy! 10/10

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    TracyLaughlin

    2 months ago

    Mmmm looks like a yummy treat for our Halloween Party!! ❤️❤️ Thank you!!