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Classic Caramel Candies

For this recipe, you will need an accurate candy thermometer. You'll also need to cut three-inch square pieces of waxed paper or cellophane in which to wrap the caramels.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes approximately 120
Classic Caramel Candies

Photography: Christopher Testani

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2012


  • Vegetable oil, for baking sheet
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Lightly brush bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with oil. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides; lightly brush parchment with oil.

  2. Bring cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.

  3. Immediately remove caramel from heat, and stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel onto baking sheet, and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

  4. Lifting by parchment overhang, transfer caramel to a large cutting board. Cut into 3/4-by-1 1/4-inch pieces; wrap each piece in waxed paper or cellophane.

Reviews (20)

  • mmarki 24 Nov, 2014

    is it 248 degrees celsius or fahrenheit?

  • Fcchristian 6 Sep, 2014

    Loved it! Worked awesomely. I did not have any problems with recipe. Very easy and yummy. Can not wait to add different ingredients for Christmas gifts. Thank you Ms. Stewart for the recipe.

  • missmliss 16 Feb, 2014

    This recipe is so disappointing UNLESS you want BUTTERSCOTCH HARD CANDIES. It cooked and set up well. But cutting the slab into neat little wrappable pieces was impossible. The entire batch went into the trash. Complete waste of time and ingredients. The recipe to use for chewy-gooey caramels is Martha's "Golden Caramels" Dec/Jan 1995-1996 recipe with double the heavy cream, more corn syrup, more butter, & the addition of condensed milk. Con: you must stir continuously for as long as 60 min.

  • AHGrphDesign 21 Dec, 2013

    It Worked! Yah me!! :)

  • AHGrphDesign 21 Dec, 2013

    Okay, because it was not setting up right for me, I put it in the fridge, however that didn't work. I knew I could have used this stuff for ice-cream topping or something, but...
    I dumped it right back into my large sauce pan, and re-heated it back up to a rolling boil for about 7 minutes, and re-poured it back into my pan. Will know more in 8-24 hours, but I think it might work this time because it had already started to "set" on my spoon while I was spooning it into the pan. Wish me luck!

  • AHGrphDesign 20 Dec, 2013

    I made these last night, and it never did set right. I am sticking them into the fridge to see if that will help them set. It sure does taste good, but not firm enough. Not sure what I did wrong, because I followed all the directions to the letter. :(

  • Michelle J 18 Dec, 2013

    made this but it never set right now its a light brown slushy looking mess what did i do wrong?

  • John Reeves 25 Oct, 2013

    Wow... I like it!! I will try once and i also wants to package them into bakery boxes

  • Marlisa Brown 6 Aug, 2013

    Oh how fantastic, and thank you for this. I love a truly great fresh candies in candy boxes.

  • -jenna- 26 Jun, 2013

    These caramels are sooo good!! I got the heat to just a few degrees under 248 and they turned out perfectly chewy! It only took about 10 minutes to get to that temperature. I also didn't wait the whole 8 hours - I waited about 4 hours and sliced and wrapped each of the caramels in wax paper and they were good to go! Made them for my husband's work and everyone LOVED them!

  • mlur 2 Feb, 2013

    These are fabulous! They stay soft and chewy over a 6 week period in a Ziploc bag. The only bad part is cutting all of that waxed paper. It tended to tear when I wrapped the caramels. Would look into using cellophane the next time.

  • Adrienne71 24 Dec, 2012

    Did not have any corn syrup, so I used 300 gr of glucose instead. Heated it til 243 ( NOT 248!!) and they truned out deliciously chewy. Definitely a keeper, will now try out the coffee-orange ones YUMMIE

  • Ginger123 22 Dec, 2012

    This recipe is delicious. The caramel was quite hard when cooked to 248-degrees, I've made several batches, and everyone loved the flavor. There were people who liked the harder caramel, and some who liked it better when I pulled it off the stove at about 245-degrees. Again, stressing very flavorful, a sweet rich, pure caramel flavor.

  • RachLG 17 Dec, 2012

    I've made a few batches now and have found pouring them at 243 instead of 248 makes for a much more chewable caramel. However, I don't know what pan the test kitchens were using, but it takes WAY longer than 15 minutes for these to reach 248-- closer to 45 minutes for me. I've also found if you cut them while they're still soft (after resting 2 hours or so), then freeze them before breaking them, they come out in neat little squares that can be easily wrapped.

  • w_cathy97327 12 Dec, 2012

    I have a cheap-o candy thermometer I bought at a grocery store and maybe it's not wholly accurate? I made these they turned out SUPER soft which is good, I had to cut with the tip of a knife as the stuck to the rest of the blade. Also stuck like crazy to the wrappers, they had to be scraped off! Definitely not presentable enough for gift giving but they are super tasty and I will work on the wrapper issue.

  • Rebecca71 9 Dec, 2012

    Like the other two commenters, this recipe did not come out quite like I expected. I can hardly cut through the caramel, and it breaks quite easily. I'm wondering if 248 is too high a temp for this recipe - most recipes for caramels only go up to 243. It's tasty, but I can't share it - especially with anyone who has fillings!!!

  • jsm 9 Dec, 2012

    I am not sure if they were supposed to be chewy/soft or more like caramel nips. mine were closer to nips than chewy caramels, but quite tasty.

  • jsm 9 Dec, 2012

    I am not sure if they were supposed to be chewy/soft or more like caramel nips. mine were closer to nips than chew caramels, but quite tasty.

  • Moosiness 9 Dec, 2012

    I just made these last night and they came out very hard - much harder than I expected. I am not a candy-making novice - I know my way around a candy thermometer. Did anyone else have this problem? They're too hard for my teeth to handle, and when you drop a piece on the floor, it shatters.

  • Lisa Germann 2 Dec, 2012

    These turned out perfectly, my husband says they are the best caramels he has ever had (high praise) wrapping them up to gift now too!

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