Chef's note: A candy thermometer is helpful for this recipe.
Variation: In the last step, add 2 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder with the vanilla for a subtle chocolate undertone in your caramels. Feel free to also add chopped pecan, cashew, peanut or walnut pieces in the last step, after removing from heat.
*It would be fun to try this recipe with almond, cashew or hemp milk. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!
1 cup margarine(We use Earth Balance sticks)
2 cups organic turbinado sugar
2 cups soy milk or rice milk*
1 cup light corn syrup(We have heard you can use honey instead but have not tried it)
3 teaspoons vanilla
Note: Add 1 teaspoon sea salt if using unsalted margarine
3) Cook over medium heat and bring ingredients to a boil, stirring frequently. You will need to cook the mixture down to about ¼ of its original volume. It will take about 35 minutes.
4) Continue to cook over medium heat until candy reaches 245 degrees F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test using a glass of cold water. Drip the mixture from your spoon into the glass of cold water. When the mixture makes a firm ball in the water, your candy is ready.
5) Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1-2minutes. Stir in vanilla (and optional raw cocoa powder or chopped nuts)and pour into baking pan lined with parchment paper.
6) Allow to cool completely. Could be 2-3 hours, depending on whether you use the deeper or shallower baking pan.
7) Once the caramel has hardened, snip into cubes using kitchen shears or cut with a very sharp knife. Wrap the cubes individually with plastic wrap or place in cute mini cupcake holders if serving that day.
To make caramel sauce, heat to 230 degrees F and remove from heat. Let mixture stand for 1-2 minutes beforeadding the vanilla (and optional raw cocoa powder). Pour into a glass jar for a rich and creamy dairy-free caramel sauce. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator once cool.
To make toffee, heat to 300 degrees F and follow the original instructions. This may be a better choice for anyone who has trouble with very chewy foods
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