Vegan Caramel Candies and Caramel Sauce

Sorry for not posting much over the last two weeks! I was away in Portland and California for a week and a half and am currently in the midst of a move. I’m taking a break from schlepping boxes downstairs to share a new post with you. This was a recipe I made a while back and never got around to sharing. One thing that seems hard to find is caramel that’s vegan. I decided to try making some myself. It turned out really well and definitely satisfied my caramel craving!

Vegan Caramel

Making caramel seems intimidating at first because you need to use a candy thermometer and monitor the temperature of the caramel. Once you understand how it works and the texture that each temperature produces, it’s really not so hard to make!  Whether you end up with a syrup, a caramel, or a hard candy is dependent on how much water evaporates out of the mixture, in other words, how concentrated the sugar is. The temperature will rise as the water slowly evaporates. Here’s a handy guide on the Exploratorium’s Science of Cooking page.

I found this recipe on Group Recipes, but it originally came from The Glad Cow Cookbook. With this recipe, you can make firm caramel candies or a caramel sauce to drizzle on vegan ice cream. I made both out of one batch and they were equally delicious! And I should mention, it’s always a good idea to be extra careful when making caramel. You definitely don’t want to spill the hot sugar on yourself!

CaramelWrapped

Ingredients:

1 cup vegan butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups soy milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.
  • Place the vegan butter, sugar, soy milk, and light corn syrup in a large pot and cook over medium heat stirring often. The mixture should come to a boil.
  • Monitor the temperature of the mixture using a candy thermometer.
  • If you would like to make caramel sauce, heat the mixture until it reaches 230°. Stir in the vanilla, then carefully pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge. You can warm it by running the jar under hot water before serving.
  • If you would like to make caramel candies, heat the mixture until it reaches 245°. Stir in the vanilla and pour the mixture into the parchment lined baking dish. Allow the mixture to fully cool, then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut the candies into small squares. Wrap each individual piece in a square of parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. Store the candies in the fridge.

Note: You can make some caramel sauce and some candies from the same batch. Once the mixture reaches 230° pour out the amount of caramel sauce you would like, adding the vanilla to the sauce and placing it in the jar. Continue to heat the remaining caramel until it reaches 245°, then follow the steps for making the candies.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! – Vegan Irish Potatoes

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day coming up, here is a recipe for vegan Irish Potatoes. I was curious about the origins of Irish potatoes so I did a little research. Apparently, there are versions of Irish potatoes that do actually contain mashed potato, but the kind I’ve always had never contained any actual potato. The kind of Irish Potato that I’m familiar with actually originated in Philadelphia. Turns out it’s more of a local speciality from where I grew up than I thought!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter (softened)
1/2 cup Tofutti vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups of confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl beat together the vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and vanilla until there are no lumps.
  • Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Add the coconut. You’ll probably have to use your hands at this point to mix in the coconut, unless you’re using a stand mixer.
  • Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and then roll the balls in cinnamon. Tap off excess cinnamon.
  • Place the Irish Potatoes in the refrigerator to firm up.