Vegan Caramel – The Ultimate Tutorial
I finally got it down on paper… It took me a few weeks of trials, a whole day with my lovely young assistant, my daughter Ruby, and the hot Southern California weather to finally chill out a bit; and now here’s my recipe for Vegan Caramel Sauce!
Get ready to be amazed because you would have to be a culinary expert to tell the difference between this Vegan Caramel and butter caramel. You are not missing anything with this plant based version. No animals were harmed or humiliated in the making of this delicious, creamy, chewy, dark, rich, pour-on-anything-to-make-it-better caramel!
However, caramel is difficult. It’s more about technique and less about measurements of ingredients. Having a good recipe that has been tested and gives well thought-out instructions is crucial. It’s an unfortunate fact that many of the recipes on the internet, and even in published cookbooks, do not turn out. It’s a huge annoyance. That’s why I only share recipes that have been thoroughly tested and actually work. And since Vegan Caramel is a rare and wonderful thing…it must be shared!
I did not exactly know how to make caramel before this. Not even the regular sugar, cream and butter kinda caramel. But that’s how I roll. I get an idea in my head of what I want and I can’t stop thinking about it until I figure out how to make it. I had to learn how to make caramel out of necessity, because… amazingly, you can’t just go buy Vegan Caramel at the store. There just aren’t enough places out there making it in a dairy-free environment, so it’s not easy to find. The only way we vegans can have it, is to do it ourselves.
This caramel recipe works very well. I’m not a trained culinary chef and I have had many trials and errors with caramel. I have it down now, and we use this exact recipe at The Karma Baker Bakery, but it took some learning. With cooking and baking, as with any kind of artistry, learning requires ‘feeling’ it until you get it right. I have included lots of pictures and made it as step-by-step as I can so that you really get the feeling of what looks correct and know if you’re on the right track… And if you want to make amazing Vegan Caramel, than I believe you are!
So here it is, as always please send me your feedback, and Good Karma to you.
Vegan Caramel Sauce
- 2 Cups Evaporated Cane Juice Any organic sugar
- 6 oz Coconut Cream
- 1 TBL Vegan butter
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
- Pinch Of Sea salt
- Prepare everything ahead of time and have it at the ready before you begin. Things can move quickly with cooking sugar, so you must be prepared.I like to pulse my sugar through a food processor to get it nice and fine. It helps the melting process.The night before, refrigerate your can of coconut cream. The next day, pour off any liquid when you open it. Allow it to come to room temp. Measure it out and set aside.
- Use the cast iron skillet under your heavy bottomed pan to act as insulation. This will ensure you don't burn the sugar. Once you've made this recipe a few times, you can see for yourself if you need it or not. I like it because a moment too long at too high of a heat, can burn the sugar and if you've scorched even a bit of sugar, you'll end up with that burnt taste in the caramel later.
- Pour the sugar into your pot. Let sit over med-high heat. It may take 5-10 minutes for both the skillet and pot to heat up enough to begin melting the sugar.
- Gently and slowly stir the sugar until you see small clumps forming. Tap or hit the sides of the pot with your wooden spoon very firmly to get the sugar to settle down off of the sides. If sugar sits on the sides it will crystallize unevenly.
- The sugar will change its form from small clumps to larger clumps and almost shards. It will gradually get darker, yellow to amber. Stir and move it gently as it goes through this process. It will take approx 15-20 minutes.It will looks like this...
- You will see the sugar start to darken and clump even more. It's exactly right.
- And then the bottom will start to liquefy and melt. You can see the amber sugar starting to melt under the crystals as I stir. Ignore Ginger barking here - but this video is important to see... Notice the clumps melting.
- Stir minimally now as it turns more than 50-50 liquid.
- When all of the clumps of sugar turn to liquid you are ready for the next step.It should look like this... smooth and dark amber. Not bubbling.
- Take the pot off the skillet and heat. Stand back. Keep your hands clear. Use a mitt and long spoon, now slowly pour your coconut cream into the sugar. It will bubble and boil kinda violently. Keep gently stirring until it calms down. Incorporate for 1-2 min. Until smooth. Keep your hands out of the hot steam. When the bubbling calms down, add in your vanilla, salt and pat of vegan butter. Stirring until melted in. Another minute or so.
- Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. It will still be dangerously hot for at least an hour. Carefully pour the caramel sauce into mason jars or other heat proof containers. Wait the whole hour if you'd like. As long as it's warm, it will be nice and pour-able. Do not store hot caramel in plastic.Allow to cool 4-6 hours.
- The caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.If it's not as pour-able as you'd like, warm it briefly.This is the basic technique and will save you from burning and throwing away expensive ingredients as you learn.Brands of coconut cream vary greatly in their fat/water content. Pouring off the water helps to ensure you have the thickest cream possible. But your results may still vary a bit so, if you'd like your caramel thicker, reduce the coconut cream to 4 oz. likewise increase to 8oz for even thinner sauce.
Note that in all of my photos and videos, the recipe is doubled so that it's easier to photograph and see the nuances.