I’ve learned a lot, working with caramels over the past few years. So many recipes call for caramel and they require various consistencies which also require various ingredients and techniques.
You’ve seen my caramel apples recipe – I made it without corn syrup. Then there’s my chewy caramels recipe without condensed milk and another one using evaporated milk. You probably even tried my salted caramel frooze balls or the chocolate covered caramel balls.
Or perhaps you’ve looked through my blog and found the many ways you can make caramel garnish.
I have this caramel sauce that doesn’t make use of butter or cream. I also posted a recipe using brown sugar in case you want a richer and deeper flavor in yours. There are so many caramel recipes on this blog, you’d probably think I runa caramel shop (I don’t :)!
Some of my most recent posts are about making caramel sauce thicker and how to make caramel for coffee. I just can’t have enough caramel in my life and I’m sure you can relate!
Freshly made caramel sauce is sometimes too tedious to make, to be honest. You can’t just whip it up quickly and cross fingers it will turn out okay. Because sugar burns easily if mishandled, it needs your full attention.
Store-bought caramels most likely have a lot of corn syrup and other ingredients you want to avoid. For me, making my own sauce at home is always the way to go.
If the idea of making caramel in your kitchen intimidates you or you just don’t have the energy to battle with melted sugar right now, don’t worry. I’ll show you how to melt caramel candies into a sauce quick and easy.
Why It Works
The traditional method of making caramel is by melting sugar over low heat and cooking it until it turns a specific color. The color can range from light to dark amber, depending on how mellow or deep you want the flavor to be.
It looks easy – and it is! – but it’s easy to mess up because a few seconds can ruin the whole batch if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Plus, sometimes the sugar can form lumps again even after melting completely and it’s easy to think you’ve botched it when in fact you didn’t.
To add to that, pouring the milk or cream into the melted sugar makes it bubble like crazy and it can be intimidating sometimes. Using caramel candies, however, is an entirely different story.
You won’t have to look out for a certain color that can be borderline burnt if you’re not careful. You won’t need a candy thermometer to make sure you get the right temperature.
You basically just have to throw the candies in, melt them properly, add in a couple of ingredients and you’re done.
In a way, we can say that this is a no-fail caramel sauce that’s easier to make than most other recipes. It’s perfect for so many uses, such as in cakes, toasted bread or even licking it off a spoon!
How to Make Caramel Sauce Using Caramel Candies
Depending on how lazy you are today, there are three ways you can make caramel sauce using caramel candies. In my case, I use soft caramel chews without corn syrup, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
On your laziest day, when you need your caramel sauce as fast as possible, use your good ol’ reliable microwave. For every bag of soft caramels (14 oz.), you’ll need 2 tablespoons of milk. Follow the below steps.
STEP 1 Unwrap each candy and place it into a microwavable bowl.
STEP 2 Add in the milk. 2 tablespoons of milk for ever 14 ounces of soft caramel.
STEP 3 Place in the microwave and heat on high in 1-minute intervals. Stir in between intervals until the candies are fully melted. You will know you’re done once you get rid of all the lumps and all that’s left is a bowl of smooth caramel sauce.
If you’re using a more powerful microwave, try melting the candies in 30-second intervals.
STEP 4 Let the caramel cool before using it.
STEP 5 Store the leftover sauce in an airtight container. Refrigerate it to make it last up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Method
If you don’t need your caramel sauce for a few hours, you can use a slow cooker. All you need are 2 tablespoons of milk for every bag of soft caramels, a bowl that will fit inside the slow cooker and water for boiling. Just follow the steps below and you’ll be all set.
STEP 1 Unwrap each candy and place it into a bowl. Make sure not to overfill the bowl to avoid overflowing later on.
STEP 2 Add in the milk. 2 tablespoons of milk for every bag of soft caramels.
STEP 3 Fill the slow cooker with water up to the same level as the caramels.
STEP 4 Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
STEP 5 Like chocolates, caramel candies hold their shape well even when melted. For this reason, you need to stir the caramel to see if there are any lumps.
If no lumps are found, you’re done. If there are still lumps in the mixture, cook a little bit longer. This should take another 15 to 30 minutes depending on how many lumps are left.
STEP 6 Let the caramel cool before using it.
STEP 7 Store the leftover sauce in an airtight container. Refrigerate it to make it last up to 3 months.
Another option is using your stove. You can do it this way if you’re in a rush. All you need are 2 tablespoons of milk or cream for every bag of soft caramels. This time, however, you’ll need a double boiler and follow the below steps.
STEP 1 Unwrap each candy and place it into the bowl.
STEP 2 Add in the milk or cream, whichever you prefer. 2 tablespoons of milk or cream for every bag of soft caramels.
STEP 3 Melt the caramel over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
STEP 4 Check if you have the consistency you’re looking for. Add more milk or cream, if necessary.
STEP 5 Let the caramel cool before using it.
STEP 6 Store the leftover sauce in an airtight container. Refrigerate it to make it last up to 3 months.
- For lighter flavor, use water instead of milk. For a richer flavor, use cream instead.
- If you find the result to be too thick for drizzling, add in a tablespoon of your choice of liquid (milk, cream, or water) at a time until you get the consistency you need.
- If you’re using the caramel sauce as a filling, add 6 to 8 tablespoons of your preferred liquid instead of 2 tablespoons.
- Refrigerated caramel sauce tends to harden naturally. You can make it thin again by reheating it before using it.
- Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and/or ½ teaspoon cinnamon to the mixture for added flavor.
- You may also add a teaspoon of instant espresso powder and a quarter cup of maple syrup for a richer flavor of your caramel sauce.
Any of these methods will help you make homemade caramel sauce fast and easy. You won’t have to worry about using a candy thermometer or getting the right amber color when melting your sugar.
This means it’s less intimidating and you don’t even have to be a kitchen goddess to make perfect caramel sauce. The methods are foolproof and require simple ingredients and kitchen equipment.
You can do it!