Sunday Snapshot: {ellie’s caramels}

We make these every year.

Okay. More like we make these every year I have the inclination to make them.

I made them last year for my neighbors and it was such a success – seriously, my neighbors were stopping me after Christmas to ask me about them – I decided to expand my efforts to include teacher gifts this year.

Which meant I’d be making lots and lots of caramels. I stocked up on enough ingredients for 10 batches, not certain just how much I’d need, but not wanting to be caught short.

And, well… you know. Having extra caramel ingredients on hand isn’t the worst thing in the world.

My sweet Victoria was, as she always is, up to the task of caramel making.

And so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Tough stuff, I tell ya.

Like putting two sticks of butter, a cup of sugar and a cup of brown sugar into a heavy pot.

And then pouring a cup of Karo syrup on top.

Followed by a can of sweetened condensed milk.

My littlest helpers were really more like a cheering section.

And they did a fabulous job of being happy and not getting anywhere near the pot on the stove.

Once you have all the ingredients combined, all you have to do was stir. And wait.

And be sure you’re ready.

You do not want to be caught off guard without your pans buttered.

Because once the mixture reaches soft ball stage, it’s go time.

Take the pot off the heat, stir in a teaspoon of vanilla and pour into your buttered pan.


Then comes the hardest part. Waiting until they are cool enough to cut.

I usually wait overnight before cutting, especially if I want them to look pretty.

Of course, sometimes I don’t care and we eat them as soon as they are cool enough to not scorch the skin off the roofs of our mouths.

Because these are for gifting, we let them cool overnight and then put them into the fridge for about 1 hour right before cutting. I was happy with how nicely the edges came out because they were chilled. But, honestly, these taste so divine, once you try one you won’t care what they look like.

They’re that good.

Ellie’s Caramels

1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light Karo Syrup
1/2 pound butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla

Add all ingredients except vanilla into large pot over medium heat. Once mixture starts to boil, stir constantly. When mixture reaches soft-ball stage, pull off heat. Mix in vanilla and pour into buttered 9″ x 13″ pan. Wait until completely cooled to cut.

Then give as gifts to anyone you want to be your new best friend.

P.S. For anyone who might be curious, we made two double batches and were able to fill 10 tins with caramels for gifting. With a few left over. So I definitely overbought. *sigh* Now we’ll have to make more caramels this Christmas just for us.

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Ni Hao Yall

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Happy Sunday better late than never.



  1. I’m seriously thinking I need to make these because they are gluten free and they would make me happy. Thanks for sharing the recipe and lovely pictures.

  2. Oh yummy… We always make caramels too. That is our project for this coming weekend!

  3. They look amazing! How do you wrap them up so that they don’t end up stuck together for gift giving? Do you need to wrap each cube? Or coat them somehow? I’d love to know.

  4. Oh, look so delicious!!

  5. These look amazing. Wondering what size can of sweetened condensed milk you used. I can’t see it in the pic. I’m in Canada and the can sizes are usually smaller here so I want to make sure I use the right amount.

    Thanks so much!

  6. We make those every year – usually a couple batches – our middle son is the “chief stirrer” (is that a word?)

    Just a word of caution – the hot syrup can cause incredible burns if you get it on you – and don’t rub – soak in cold water!!

    And the son – he don’t need no stinken thermometer – he gages by site and feel! dude can cook!! 😉

    hugs – aus and co.

  7. I made these last year yum! Thank you for the recipe :). I lined my pan with parchment paper this year, once the caramels cooled I just lifted them out of the pan for easy cutting. Then I used a pizza cutter to cut them into squares. It was quick, easy to cut and it didn’t stick to the parchment paper.

  8. YUM YUM YUM! I am SO trying these! Thanks Stefanie!!!!

  9. I made these today – so good! I sprinkled a light coat of kosher salt on top and wow it tastes great! Next time i want to try some flaked salt. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. These look yummy!

  11. Hi! I have a totally random favor to ask of you! Could you take a picture of sweet Poppy’s hair accessory! I’m a hair bow/accessory making mama and would love to duplicate/partially duplicate it! Thanks in advance!

  12. OK….Evidently, I had one of those “in case of emergency break glass” moments…..I had the sledgehammer in my hand at the screen and was frothing at the mouth when the haze of the frenzy began to clear… I glanced up into the mirror over my monitor and caught a glimpse of the UGLY crave…..WHEW…it’s passed now….(chomping on a carrot stick). You….you…..YOU BETTY CROCKER, YOU!

  13. Wow! So impressive. I’ve never heard of anyone making their own carmels. They look delicious and I love anything made with sweeten condensed milk.

  14. I am so glad you posted this. I am about to make two batches right now. And I think I bought enough stuff to make 4 batches. :) I had NO idea what I was going to give everyone at church for Christmas presents (yes, we have a small church), and then I read your post….went to the store and grabbed the ingredients, and here I go!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  15. So I tried the recipe with my girly tonight… I should have looked up what ‘soft ball’ stage was!! Lol! I don’t think I got it quite right.. Luckily, I bought enough for a second batch of them if they don’t turn out. 😉 Thanks for giving Kate & I a great idea!!

  16. YUM! I made these for my son’s teachers, and had to make a second batch for us. I posted a picture of facebook and everyone wanted the recipe. Definitely going to be a new holiday tradition to make these carmels!!!

  17. Oh, Sista, I’m trying these tomorrow!!!!!!

  18. I made these today and I can’t get over how easy and super delish they are! Thanks for sharing!

  19. I made your caramel but probably the caramel didn’t reach the good temperature… they’re too soft! However, they’re really good eating at the spoon ;p The kids love them!!!!

  20. Teresa Morgan says:

    Do you wrap the caramels individually?

    • I never have, Teresa. You could, though! I refrigerate mine before cutting and then after I’ve put them in tins. I usually line the tins with waxed paper, place a layer of caramels in, and then put another layer of caramels, and so on. Has worked great so far – no complaints 😉

  21. Bridgette Niebel says:

    what is soft ball stage?

  22. NiHaoYall says:

    It’s when the caramel, when you drop a smidge in water, forms a soft ball in your fingers. If it is softer than this, it’s not ready. If it’s harder, it’s over done. Hope this helps!

  23. Bridgette Niebel says:

    Ok tried these today….had them on medium heat and they scorched on the bottom even though I was stirring the whole time. Tried them again and not too bad this time but not sure I had it hot enough. I had the thermometer in there and it reached the degree but was not really boiling like the pic.
    Do you put the theremometer in there the whole time or just when it starts to boil?

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