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Honey Caramels

Natural Homemade Healthy Honey Caramels

It’s a rare occasion when we go to our health food stores and indulge in one of their natural honey caramels. Those naturally sweet candies are a favorite treat in flavors like original honey, cinnamon and chocolate.. but for around 40 cents per candy and barely the size of a large grape it is not the most economical buy.

Sugar Free Honey Caramels

We wanted to have a homemade version of these caramels that would be less expensive, easy to make and still have that great caramel-y taste. This recipe works splendidly to meet our desired criteria. For an extra decadent treat, cream was used to make the creamiest texture and flavor which created similar results to the popular Caramels candy but without all the sugar. And instead of sugar, honey is the only sweetener used to sweeten these! Caramel made from sweet, natural honey isn’t only delicious but a lot healthier than traditional candy!

Naturally Sweet Honey Caramels

Chewy, rich and decadent, you’ll find these make wonderful gifts for friends or tasty travel snacks. We think they are yummy enough to replace any candy item in your Easter baskets, holiday candy platters or any party favor bag! Enjoy!

 

Honey Caramels
Print Recipe

1 cup Honey
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Butter

Combine honey and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir occasionally while it cooks. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage.
The easiest way to do this is with a candy thermometer, though you can test it with other methods. Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Pour into a generously buttered 8 X 8 inch dish or smaller if you want thick large caramels. Having your dish properly buttered is important for easy removal of the caramels once set. Place in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes. Cut into squares or scoop out with a spoon and enjoy!

Keep leftovers in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. If you are going to take these caramels with you traveling, be sure to keep them cool! They will melt in high humidity and hot temperatures and will be hard to eat.

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83 comments

  1. I will definitely be trying these! I love caramels and think it would be awesome to try it out with honey.

  2. What perfect little caramel squares! They’re easily one of my favorite candies, and so easy to make at home.

  3. I can’t believe you made these at home – they look store bought! Wow…so dreamy :).

  4. Your honey caramels look so appetizing & tasty too! :) Yum Yum!

    I just posted a blog post & wrote about your award that I recently received from you all! Come over & check it out! :)

    Have all a great & fun weekend! ;)

  5. These look amazing! Can you please tell me what it means to reach a “soft ball stage?” I am a relative rookie in the kitchen but I would love to try these. Thanks!

    • Soft ball stage refers to a candys reaction/consistency when placed in cold water. When it’s reached this stage it should form a ball in the water. You can find sites online to teach you how exactly to do that, but I prefer using a thermometer! Soft ball stage is reached at about 240 degrees , and some thermometers have “soft ball stage” marked so there is no confusion when your candy has reached the temp you want. That’s the easiest way to do it and thermometers are really inexpensive! Good luck if you try them! Thanks Rebecca!

  6. These look so delicious! I need to try these! I have so many of your recipes bookmarked – I really need to get to work :D

  7. I had no idea caramel was so easy to make. Got to make these.

  8. Great recipe!
    Any idea how long they will keep?

    • Hi Judy! I’m not sure how long they would keep at room temperature, as these are gone at my house within a few days. :) Honey is an awesome natural preserver though, so I would say these could last a few days at room temperature and 2 weeks in the fridge. I’ve kept them in the freezer before for about a week and they were still good. Thank you!

    • Hi Annie,
      I made these tonight using raw local honey and they are fantastic! I may have to invest in some Fleur de sel to sprinkle on top. I really enjoy your blog – thanks again!

    • I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for letting us know!

  9. I just tried your recipe! And I’m usually not very good at making sweets, but these turned out wonderful! Thanks :D

  10. If I want to make them cinnamon flavored should I use the extract or powdered and how much? I can’t wait to try them tonight

    • I would use the extract and add it in when you add the vanilla. The amount you’ll want to use will dependent on your preference. If you want a more mild taste, start with a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon. If you want an extra strong cinnamon flavor, you could also use cinnamon oil, in which case, you would still only want about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon as well. Hope they turn out well for you! And I’ll have to try the cinnamon myself soon. :)

  11. These are insanely delicious! I made them last Easter as a gift for my mom. I also used your recipe very loosely to make my own caramel corn. :) I linked back to you. http://loavesandkisses.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/salted-maple-honey-caramel-corn-with-toasted-pecans/

  12. I just put our whole family on a sugar-free, gluten-free diet about 4 weeks ago (to improve immune system). One of my favorite things to do in the fall is make caramel apples with the kids. Thought we were going to have to cheat. I am SO going to try this recipe. Yum! We can even use organic cream without the artificial growth hormones (because who wants to artificially grow?):)
    Thanks for posting it!
    Happy Momma!

    • Thank you for the comment! We agree! :) Good for you and your family for making such great health changes! Hope you guys enjoy the caramels and please let us know how you like them!

    • That’s how we eat! as natural as possible, and at little sweet as possible, but with holidays comings my two kiddos are so sad when the other kids start passing around the treats. I am really looking to try this recipe as well as a homemade marshmallow for this fall. This page is beautiful! And so is that candy! Just wondering, does it take a lot of practice to get the desired turn out?

    • Holidays can be the worst for that! I hope some of our recipes can omit that aspect of the holidays and your family can enjoy some healthy sweets! These caramels are not difficult, but I would HIGHLY recommend using a candy thermometer. If you’re familiar with candy making, you can gauge by the smell and appearance, but since honey is a little different that traditional sugar (and what most people are familiar with) the candy thermometer will ensure a successful turn out. Thanks for the comment!

    • Good for you, pursuing a healthier diet! I just want to share, though, that honey contains 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon, so it (and this recipe) are not sugar free. So by eating this, you are breaking your sugar-free diet. But with something as delicious as these caramels, who could resist? More so, who would want to? :)

      • Thanks for the comment, Gemma. We are not against all sugars, just the super refined ones like refined white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. We omitted sugars when we were following the candida diet, but since then, have stopped restricting ourselves of all sugars. We understand honey has sugar in it, but raw honey actually has many nutritional properties and benefits. This recipe cooks the honey, so there are not as many benefits, but we agree with you! Who wants to resist all sweet treats? On occasion, these are a healthier way to indulge than most other caramels. Thanks!

  13. Thank you for this post! I make candy every year for Christmas and this sounds like a recipe to replace my family recipe which has lots of butter and refined sugars.

  14. OMG!! Really good looking caramels… like those from the market! I will try your recipe, but I have one question: This honey is okay: http://www.canadathestore.com/products/raw-honey-3-kg? A friend of mine wants to buy it… combined with me, but I don’t know what to do… Please respond, because I really want to do your caramels <3

  15. Melanie, that honey looks great! We always prefer raw honey, though any kind will work. Other readers have had success with using raw local honey, so I hope it works well for you too! Thanks!

  16. have you ever tried to make these with other kinds of milks? i was gifted with a couple of quarts of goat milk, and think this would be lovely.

    • We have not tried this particular recipe with another kind of milk but we have made caramels with coconut milk before and they turned out great. I would love to know how the goat milk turns out for you if you try it! I agree- it sounds lovely!

  17. mine seem to be really soft and hard to cut. I let it get to the soft ball stage. My kids love them so I am going to do the spoon method for christmas and serve them with coffee. Great recipe that is corn free.

  18. Wow! I just made these and they are awesome! If anyone needs to know, I used the canned coconut milk and they came out just fine!

  19. Thanks for sharing! Glad you liked them with the coconut milk! :)

  20. So glad you mentioned using coconut milk. I was going to give this recipe a try with coconut milk and substitute coconut oil for the 2 T butter. What did you replace the butter with?

  21. These were fabulous!! Thank you for sharing.

  22. I LOVE the simplicity and the naturalness of this recipe. I’ve made it three times already. However I’m having trouble getting the caramels firm enough to be wrapped and stored at room temperature. My first batch I brought to 235 and it was runny enough to be sauce for ice cream, even when refrigerated. The second I brought to 250 and it was firm enough to slice and wrap, but the caramels stuck to the wrappers pretty badly. The last batch I brought to 263 and they cut and wrap easily, but are a complete MESS to unwrap and eat at room temperature.

    What am I doing wrong? Do I need to go even higher to make a firm, chewy caramel that doesn’t require you to wash your hands after eating? I just don’t want to go too high and make lollipops!

    • Eli, I’m so sorry these caramels haven’t been consistent for you! Thanks for trying them out so many times! :)

      It sounds like everything was done completely right for the second and third batches, it just sounds like the caramels heated up too quickly or it was the paper that was used to wrap them. Did you use a wax paper? The humidity could have played a large part in making them too sticky. When the air is super warm and moist, these caramels may not hold up well for a long time at room temperature. You could try freezing the caramels after wrapping them and then eat them as they are thawing. Or maybe these caramels aren’t best individually wrapped for every situation/environment and we can update that for the recipe. I think you are doing everything right though. I’m sorry they gave you trouble, but I hope they were still delicious! :) Let us know if we can help any further. Thanks for your feedback!

      • Ahhhhh, the humidity! You are brilliant. I live in Texas, that’s got to be it. Plus, they did come to the temperature pretty quickly. I’ll try lowering the heat next time, and if they’re still too sticky to carry around in my bag all day…well they’re still amazing fresh out of the freezer. Thank you again for all your wonderful, easy recipes! (My husband thanks you too…haha)

  23. Hurray for caramels without corn syrup! Thank you!

  24. Can this recipe be modified to make a caramel sauce?

    • Hi Joy, sorry for the late response! Yes, it can. We are actually working on another recipe specifically for that, but for now, you can just cook the mixture for less time, a little less than soft ball stage. This is typically around 210-220 degrees F. When the caramels have reached this stage, remove from the heat, allow to cool at room temperature and store in the fridge. It should be nice and thick, but still able to pour. Good luck!

  25. [...] My Mother-In-Law reallt likes caramels so I decided to make some for her for Easter this year! I tried out a few recipes before I finally got it right but I wanted to make them without added sugar and use honey instead. I finally got it right! They melt in your mouth and the salt is a perfect added touch. If you want to use this recipe as a caramel sauce then just replace the heavy whipping cream with light cream. I apologize for the picture but I had kind of forgotten to take one until they were almost gone! I also put these in a container that was a little too big so they weren’t very thick. I would put them in a small pyrex container next time I think! I found this recipe on http://www.naturalsweetrecipes.com/honey-caramels/. [...]

  26. [...] Photo credit and original recipe can be found here [...]

  27. I couldn’t believe how delicious these are! Honey caramels? I was skeptical but so glad I tried these out. They were incredibly soft and caramely and just fabulous! Thank you!

  28. I am ecstatic about this recipe!! Thanks for sharing!!

  29. These were fantastic! Thank you for posting!

  30. I made these today and they are LOVELY!

    I highly recommend them :)

    Ohh, sprinkle some sea salt on a chunk….. Yumm

  31. These look fantastic! I am looking for a healthier alternative for making caramel apples, do you think these would work? :) If not I am going to make them anyway! I LOVE caramels but the store bought ones are loaded with crap!

    • Hi Tia! This caramel would be delicious for candy apples, but you would need to definitely freeze the caramel to the apples for at least 20 minutes so the caramel sticks well to the apples. Please let us know how they turn out! :)

  32. I have made these about 10 times now and love them!! I find the more rapid boil and longer I cook it, the chewier the Carmel!
    Fantastic
    It tastes amazing with meadow foam honey, marshmallow like!

  33. Found you through PQ Monthly. I can’t wait to make these! They are gorgeous.

  34. I stumbled upon your website tonight and can’t wait to try all the tasty recipes you’ve shared. They all look delicious! Funny side note, my name is Annie and my sister’s name is Chelsea! ;)

  35. These turned out fantastic! My kids even liked them (which was a little surprising to me since they don’t love caramels). Merry Christmas!

  36. I experienced the same problem that Eli did; after being in the freezer for an hour, the caramels were still liquidy. Can I salvage them by cooking them further on the stove?

    • I am so sorry!! I know that is really frustrating. I am not sure what the problem was exactly for you. I am really not sure if you could salvage it by cooking it more. you don’t want the butter and vanilla to burn. You could perhaps bake with it in cupcakes or muffins. Or maybe use it as an ice cream or pie topping? I’m sorry again. I hope it tastes yummy enough to use in another way!

  37. Have you ever tried switching the honey with maple syrup? The honey flavor was so strong in these I personally would prefer maple and wondered if you’d tried it :)

  38. Do you have a vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free version? :)

    • Not at the moment, but many readers have had luck using full fat coconut milk in place of the cream. We have not yet made these butter free. We have had requests for a vegan, or at least dairy free version, so we will try to come up with something soon!

  39. I made these a little awhile and wanted to comment. For being made with only honey, they were fabulous. For other readers, if you don’t like honey, don’t make them. They are honey caramels so don’t expect something like typical candies with corn syrup and artificial sugars. But if you want a healthy caramel recipe that is so delicious with a very slight honey flavor, make these!! They are delicious and I like the taste.. Great recipe!

  40. Boy, what a great recipe!!! I have made these a few times and love love love the taste and texture. Thanks for this gem, girls!! You’ve made my family very happy!

  41. Hi. I was just wondering at what temperature should I be bringing the mixture to a boil? Low, medium, hi ? Thanks so much for the help.

    • On high heat. That way you won’t be waiting forever at the stove. :) Thanks for asking, we will update the recipe so it’s more clear.

      • Thanks for the response. I made the caramels by the way. I did something wrong :0/. It didn’t come out like caramel, rather like a soft, grainy, crumbly texture. It taste yummy, but jut not like caramel. Have you ever heard of this happening? Do you have any idea what might have went wrong? I accidently let the temp get to about 263. Could that have made it turn out that way? Well, I’m gonna try again cause they look sooooo yummy and I know my kids would love ‘em. Thanks.

        • Oh no! I’m sorry! The temperature would definitely affect the texture of the candy. Your thermometer could also be off? You could try checking your thermometer, and also bringing the honey to boil on med-high heat so you can watch the honey carefully. I hope it works out for you next time!

  42. Hi, I’m a type 1 diabetic, would love to try these instead of shop bought sweets when my blood glucose gets too low. Could you possibly convert the recipe to metric for me, I’m in the UK and I never know what a cup means as I believe it is different in different countries. Thanks

    • Hi Theresa,
      Thanks for your comment! I am sure you’ll love these caramels better than the stop ones anyway! :)

      Here are the conversions I have:

      8.32 fl oz honey
      6.24 fl oz heavy cream
      1.5 metric teaspoons vanilla
      2 metric tablespoons butter

      I hope that is what you’re looking for. Enjoy these caramels!

  43. OMG these were incredible!! I couldn’t believe you could make caramels out of HONEY! I am a believer now and will only be making this recipe from now on. Thanks sooo much!

  44. Hello. These look AMAZING! I am just wondering though, how could I do flavor infused? Like chocolate or something? Thanks in advance!

    • Thank you, Rachel! You could buy oil or extracts to add (we’ve tried cinnamon extract before) or you could use a stevia flavored extract. The stevia would make it a lot sweeter, which may be good depending on the flavor added. We have only tried the cinnamon though, so we couldn’t give extract/oil amount recommendations. Whatever you try, we hope you enjoy them!

  45. I just came upon your website and when I saw these caramels, I couldn’t wait to try them! :)

    They are currently in the freezer, can’t wait to see how they turned out! :D

    Thank you! :)

  46. I loved these! Great recipe.

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