This is it! Smooth, creamy perfectly flavored caramel. You won't miss the animal products. At. All.
Some items you will also need are a
heavy bottomed pot, cast iron skillet or tortilla pan and a wooden or silicon spoon.
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.