Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels

Candies, Chocolate, Christmas Recipes, Dessert, Holiday Recipes, Kitchen Gifts, Seasonal Recipes | 24 comments

I have a thing for sweet and salty. Eric doesn’t quite understand it. He’s not a big fan of salt sprinkled on top of baked goods or sweet candies. For me, I think I need salty and sweet together to balance each other out. And that’s why I love salted caramels so much. Last year I decided that I needed to learn how to make them myself.

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels

I was intimidated by caramels at first. Over the past few years I have had a few batches turn out more like hard candy than soft chewy caramels. The key is knowing your elevation. That makes a difference in the final temperature that the candy should reach. Go too high and you’ll have hard candy. I also like to take it off 2 or 3 degrees before the final temperature just to be safe.

These Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels turned out so good it was a bit hard to stop snacking on them as I dipped them in chocolate. I ended up sending a container of them with Eric to work the next day because I had eaten so many…and then I deeply regretted it the next day after he and his co-worker had eaten them all. The horror!

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels

If you don’t have the patience to dip the caramels in chocolate, they are delicious plain as well. I almost didn’t have the patience, but I think most things dipped in chocolate taste better. And so I started dipping other things in chocolate too. Dried apricots, mini candy canes, nuts…and before you know it I had this cute little gift box of treats!

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels

I think the only thing missing from the box were a couple Homemade Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallows. Christmas candies are the best! What’s your favorite to make (or eat!)? Is there a candy you love that you’ve never made?

Head over to Recipe Exchange: Homemade Mac n Cheese and vote for your favorite comfort food recipe. If you’d like a chance to win a $150 Kerrygold Butter and Cheese gift basket you should enter your favorite butter recipe in the Butter Recipe Exchange.

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels

adapted from Gourmet

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For the Caramels:
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Fleur de Sel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

For the Chocolate:
10 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
Vanilla Fleur de Sel


Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment. (Related: Kitchen Tip: Lining Pans with Parchment)

Bring cream and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel and sugar is dissolved.

Carefully stir in vanilla extract, vanilla fleur de sel, and cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 2 hours.

Remove caramels from pan and cut into 1 inch pieces, set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl in the microwave at 50% power for 20 seconds at a time until melted. Stir in between each microwave interval. Add canola oil a 1/8 teaspoon at a time until it reaches a smooth consistency for dipping. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

Lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Dip caramels, one at a time, in the chocolate. Place dipped caramels on the parchment. Sprinkle with a small amount of vanilla fleur de sel. Set aside to dry.

Speed up drying time by refrigerating the caramels until the chocolate is set, if desired.

NOTE: Before you start this project you will also need find out what your elevation is and adjust the temperatures accordingly. For every 1,000 feet above sea level, you will need to subtract 2 degrees. For example, I live at 5,000 ft. above sea level, so I subtract a total of 10 degrees from the temperature indicated in the recipe.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    megan @ whatmegansmaking - December 17, 2010 @ 7:08 am

    How fun! These are so cute and I love how you displayed them. I agree that things are better dipped in chocolate :) This year my favorite candy to make was homemade peppermint patties!


  • 2
    Shaina - December 17, 2010 @ 8:01 am

    These look absolutely delicious. I love homemade caramel.


  • 3
    Heather (Heather's Dish) - December 17, 2010 @ 8:14 am

    wow, these sound absolutely divine! i’ve asked for fleur de sel for Christmas…let’s see if santa delivers! :)


  • 4
    Cookbook Queen - December 17, 2010 @ 8:29 am

    Girl, those are GORGEOUS.

    They sound sooo yummy…maybe you cold send me some for Christmas?

    Just a thought ;)


  • 5
    Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean - December 17, 2010 @ 8:32 am

    these are sooooo pretty :) i would just want to look at them, not eat them!


  • 6
    Liz @ Blog is the New Black - December 17, 2010 @ 9:11 am

    Gorgeous and these sound DELISH!


  • 7
    Krystina (Basil & Wine) - December 17, 2010 @ 9:23 am

    Wow, those are beautiful.


  • 8
    Rachell - December 17, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

    I am so going to try making these for my salt and caramel loving mom for Christmas. This seems like a silly question but how do you dip them in chocolate? I’m wondering if you drop them in and then sort of fish them out and how to not leave a mark on the finished product with whatever tool you are using for dipping. I have limited candy making experience – buckeyes, where you use a toothpick for dipping and peppermint bark which is totally easy. So, any tips would be helpful. Yours are so beautiful and I am picturing mine to look all fingerprinty and marred with tong marks or something. Thanks!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — December 17th, 2010 @ 4:05 PM

      I stuck a toothpick in the end, dipped, then removed and placed on parchment. I pulled the toothpick out. If it gives you trouble use a fork to press the caramel away from the toothpick. Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

  • 9
    the blissful baker - December 17, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    those caramels look just lovely! i love the sweet and salty combo as well :)


  • 10
    marla {family fresh cooking} - December 18, 2010 @ 6:48 am

    Katie, these caramels are beautiful & I bet so tasty. I am with you I always need that little pinch of salt with my sweet. Beautiful photos.


  • 11
    Dee - December 18, 2010 @ 7:28 am

    If I made these, I’d eat the entire pan myself.!


  • 12
    Suzi - December 19, 2010 @ 8:07 am

    Elevation does make a difference! People generally don’t realize boiling temperature of even water changes with elevation gain. I thought I mastered caramel making until my first batch after moving from near Sea Level to over 5,000ft. I had delicious caramel lollipops :-(


  • 13
    Alison @ Ingredients Inc. - December 19, 2010 @ 8:30 am

    These look fabulous Katie. Beautiful and delish!


  • 14
    Rachell - December 19, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    I did it! Well, I burnt the first batch of caramel a little. Just a hint of burnt taste so still edible. Made a second batch for gifting that is much better. The first batch gave me some to practice dipping with. They look like real candy! Taking my practice batch to work tomorrow for taste testing along with some dipped pretzels and candy canes. Thanks for a great recipe!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — December 20th, 2010 @ 10:54 PM

      YAY! :) Hope everyone enjoys them.

  • 15
    Courtney - December 19, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

    Wow, I must try this. I love Caramel and chocolate so this is a winner! :) I’ve never used Vanilla Fleur De Sel. Is it easy to purchase in stores?..


  • 16
    Robyn | Add a Pinch - December 20, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

    Oh yum, Katie! These look delicious. Love me some caramel.


  • 17
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - December 20, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

    There is really nothing better than homemade caramel, these look like perfection.


  • 18
    Patricia Scarpin - December 21, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    You are my hero! I made caramels the other day and thought they were such a pain in the neck in the cutting step of the recipe – dipping them in chocolate is so much work, you are really dedicated, Katie!
    Congrats – they look super delicious and the photos are breathtaking as always.


  • 19
    Marisol Perry - December 21, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

    YAY! :) Hope everyone enjoys them.


  • 20
    Melanie Flinn - December 22, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

    Really beautiful pictures! If I had more time I might attempt this, but for now will to just bookmark for next year!


  • 21
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - December 26, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

    I’ve been thinking about making caramels lately… But, I didn’t know which recipe to try. I’m starring this one to give it a try soon! Lovely!


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