Dairy and Sugar Free Caramels

Three ingredients caramel is simple to prepare. The only specific kitchen tool you need is candy thermometer. With some experience you can even get away without it, judging the readiness of caramel by its colour. I made 2 versions of these candies, the first with 2 ingredients – only coconut cream and honey. It was easier to make, but it was softer and I was not able to make quality wrapped candies from it. Caramel was firm while kept refrigerated, and it could be easily cut in soft pieces. To make the second version with firmer texture, I have added small quantity of cocoa butter. I got the desired texture of the caramel layer. It has to be kept refrigerated before cutting it into individual pieces and wrapping them.

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Added cocoa butter changed slightly the process of caramel preparation. The mixture with cocoa butter is thicker, compared to the one with just coconut cream and honey. Simmering without cocoa bitter provides sufficient mixing of caramel during cooking. The temperature of the mixture remains even both on the top and in the bottom of the sauce pan. With a thicker consistency of the mixture with cocoa butter, the final stages of cooking have to be watched carefully. The temperature of the mix reaches 120C very fast, caramel on the bottom of the pan stays there and does not mix sufficiently with the top layer. This can cause the problem, the burning of the caramel at the bottom. Regular process of caramel preparation excludes stirring during cooking, however in this case, I advice to be careful after temperature on candy thermometer reaches 115C and be aware of insufficient self mixing of caramel. It might be necessary to take the sauce pan from the heat and stir caramel to be sure that it is not burning on the bottom of the sauce pan. I am also not sure how this rule (do not stir and mix) relates to dairy and sugar free caramel made without dry sugar, only with honey. I am not an industrial chemist and do not know the mechanism of crystallisation from liquid sugars, may be  there is no chance for that, and it is possible to stir dry sugar free caramel without the danger of sugar crystallisation in the final product. But I see my role to point this fact out.

I make gluten free caramel candies for us with regular cream, butter, sugar and golden syrup. They can be made soft and chewy or hard as hard lollies, depending on the temperature you cook them up to.

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For dairy and sugar free caramels recipe I took the ratio of dry sugar to fat in regular caramels, and used it to achieve the same ratio in dairy and sugar free caramels with coconut cream and honey. Coconut cream, cocoa butter and honey caramels are hard from the fridge, become softer at room temperature and melt in your mouth. They are easy to cut when cold.

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Ingredients:

  • 270ml can of coconut cream (29% fat)
  • 270g honey
  • 15g cocoa butter

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Preparation:

  • line loaf tin with baking paper, the size of the tin will determine the thickness of caramel layer
  • select a sauce pan, not too wide with enough space (volume) for the caramel, the mixture will rise at least 4 times from the original level
  • use candy thermometer
  • combine coconut cream and honey in the sauce pan
  • add cacao butter
  • start cooking on a low heat, stir until all ingredients combine
  • let the mixture cook on low heat
  • when it reaches the boiling point, the mixture will rise
  • during cooking the colour of the mixture will start to darken and the level will start to go down
  • it might be necessary to stir and thoroughly mix caramel when it reaches 115C, from that moment watch it carefully and avoid caramel overcooking

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  • cook until the temperature reaches 120C
  • pour into prepared lined loaf tin
  • let caramel cool to room temperature
  • refrigerate after that
  • turn caramel over to a working surface and cut into desired size pieces
  • you can place cut caramels into the freezer for several minutes to make them hard and easier to work with
  • wrap them into cut to size baking paper
  • store refrigerated

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When cooked to lower temperatures caramel can be used as a sauce, it can be mixed with fruit purees to make a delicious spread.

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