after making my wildly successful apple cider caramels, i started to wonder if it was possible to make a non-dairy version of caramel candy. pretty much every caramel recipe calls for butter and heavy cream, so it seemed unlikely. but still, i decided to get to experimenting.
i replaced the butter with earth balance, and the heavy cream with coconut milk… and guess what! it worked!! non-dairy, chewy, yummy caramels! i will admit that they’re not quite as smooth-tasting as their dairy counterparts, but if you weren’t directly comparing the two, you wouldn’t notice. and one of my friends who had also tried the dairy ones even commented that she liked that these weren’t as heavy-tasting as the others.
i also decided to do a little experimenting with different flavors. i had recently seen a recipe that lindsay posted for gingerbread caramels that sounded delicious and perfect for the season, so i used a mix of spices inspired by hers. the result was a caramel that basically tasted like a gingerbread cookie that had been compressed into a chewy, sticky treat.
a delicious gingerbread-flavored caramel candy, that is also completely vegan!
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup earth balance
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- a pinch of cloves
- a pinch of black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- line an 8-inch baking pan with two sheets of criss-crossed parchment paper so that the lining covers the bottom and goes up the sides.
- put the coconut milk, earth balance, sugar, brown sugar, and molasses in a saucepan over medium-high heat. attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and stir the mixture as everything melts. let the mixture continue to cook until the candy thermometer reads 252°f.
- while the caramel is cooking, combine all of the spices in a small bowl. when the caramel reaches 252°f, quickly stir in the spices and vanilla and pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. let the caramel sit at room temperature until it is set, 1-2 hours.
- once the caramel has set, use a sharp knife to cut it into small pieces, spraying the knife with cooking spray between cuts. wrap each piece in waxed paper.