These salted coconut caramels are made with all natural ingredients including coconut oil and coconut sugar. Completely vegan and made without refined sugar, this is a sweet treat that's perfect for edible gifts or squirrelling away for yourself.
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Have you ever tried making homemade caramels before? It's easier than you think!
It's really just a matter of melting sugar and fat together and watching until it reaches a perfect bubbling temperature, then pouring it out onto a sheet of parchment paper and letting it set up. It's basically magic of the most simple kind.
You know what's not so simple? Attempting to take step-by-step process shots of said boiling caramel while you are home alone. Turns out if you do that you'll likely end up burning yourself, and / or damaging your camera. So I hope you'll excuse the absence of process shots in this recipe post and just trust my words to guide you through it.
What's in salted coconut caramels?
Gather up your ingredients, my friends, we're gonna make some caramels! Here's what you'll need:
- Coconut oil --> This is your primary fat.
- Coconut butter --> We'll discuss the difference below.
- Coconut sugar --> Anyone sensing a theme here?
- Agave nectar --> This is our liquid sweetener.
- Vanilla bean --> For little flecks of flavour.
- Coconut chips --> Optional, but so pretty on top.
- Salt --> I like using Vanilla Salt in this recipe.
Do I need any special equipment to make coconut caramels?
A candy thermometer is nice to have, though not essential for making coconut caramels. You'll also need a heavy-bottomed saucepan (I have and love this one) and some parchment paper. I always buy this unbleached parchment when it goes on sale.
What's the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter?
Great question. Coconut oil is the oil that's been pressed from coconut flesh.
Coconut butter, on the other hand, is dried coconut flesh that's then puréed into butter.
Think about the difference between peanut oil and peanut butter. Does that make sense? Coconut butter, if you've never had it before, is an absolutely dreamy ingredient.
If you buy a jar of coconut butter to make these vegan caramels, you can use up the rest of it on toast, in smoothies, or just eaten by the spoonful. It's so, so good.
How do you make coconut caramels?
Step 1: First things first, before you start boiling any caramel, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fill a small glass with ice water. This is for testing the doneness of the caramel if you don't have a candy thermometer.
Step 2: Combine the coconut oil, coconut sugar, and agave nectar in your saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir continuously so that the sugar doesn't burn.
You may be looking at the mixture at this state and thinking uh uh, this isn't going to work. But have faith. It will.
Step 3: Add the coconut butter, vanilla bean seeds, and salt.
Step 4: Continue stirring as the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. When the mixture starts to pull away from the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat.
Drop a small spoonful of the caramel into your glass of ice water. If it forms a "soft ball" (firms up but is still chewy, not crunchy) then you're good to go. Alternatively you're looking for 245°F on your candy thermometer.
Step 5: Pour the caramel onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with coconut chips and a bit more salt. Now set it aside until completely cool.
Step 6: Cut your caramels into squares and wrap with parchment. This is important, otherwise they'll stick together!
That's it! you're done!
Can I use a different type of sweetener?
If you'd like to use a different kind of liquid sweetener, like brown rice syrup, corn syrup, or honey in place of the agave, that's totally fine.
I have only tested this recipe using coconut sugar for the dry sweetener, so I can't speak to how this recipe would turn out if you made a substitution.
Can I use a different type of fat?
I have only tested this recipe using coconut oil and coconut butter. Both are essential to the recipe, and I don't recommend swapping them out for another ingredient.
Are these vegan caramels healthy?
Folks, I don't care whether these salted coconut caramels are naturally sweetened and vegan and made with unrefined ingredients, this is candy through and through. It just is.
Coconut sugar is still sugar, agave, honey, or whatever liquid sweetener you choose is just that. Please enjoy your candy very much, embrace the sugar rush, and then move on.
It's a combination of ingredients you wouldn't think would come together to create such a luscious caramel. And indeed, when you first stir them together you'll worry that you've made a huge mistake. But, have faith.
As the mixture comes to heat and you stir your little heart out, it magically transforms from a grainy pile of coconut sugar covered in a viscous layer of coconut oil to a smooth, creamy caramel that'll form a ball when dropped into a glass of ice water.
And lo, once poured out onto parchment paper, sprinkled with coconut chips and coarse salt, and cooled, the caramel can be cut into chewy little cubes of deliciousness. Perfect for sharing with someone special, wouldn't you say?
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Salted Coconut Caramels
- Prepare a glass of ice water to keep beside the stove. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt coconut oil over medium-high heat in heavy-bottomed pot, and add coconut sugar and agave. Stir continuously so that the sugars don't burn or stick to the bottom.
- Add coconut butter, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Continue stirring as the caramel begins to bubble and come together.
- When the caramel begins to pull away from the bottom of the pot as you stir, remove from heat. Drop a small spoonful into the glass of ice water. If it forms a soft ball, you're in business. Alternately you're looking for about 120°C / 245°F on a candy thermometer.
- Pour the mixture out onto the parchment paper, and sprinkle with coconut chips and coarse salt. Let the caramel cool completely.
- Cut into small squares, and wrap individually in parchment paper.
- I've made this recipe using both agave nectar for a completely vegan version, or honey. Both work out great.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- A candy thermometer is not essential for this recipe, but it does help.
This recipe was originally published February 12, 2016. It was retested, re-photographed, and most recently updated on December 5, 2019.