Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe
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Soft chewy salted caramel squares with a hint of bourbon flavor! This Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe is so easy to prepare, you’ll be happy to make batch after batch for friends and family this holiday season.
One of my biggest thrills of the holiday season is gift-giving.
Receiving a gift is always nice. Yet for me, there’s nothing better than to hand someone a little memento that shows just how much I love them.
Gifts don’t always have to be extravagant and costly. Sometimes the gifts that speak the loudest are the ones you made by hand. You’re silently telling the recipient that they are worth your money, your creative energy, and most importantly… your precious time.
You’ve heard the sayings “Actions speak louder than words” and “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
This season, I encourage you to take the time to make one gift. If you’ve never done it before, you’ll be amazed by the impact it leaves on your friends and family.
Every year I spend hours making cookies and candies to package and give to loved ones.
This season among the thumbprints and fudge, I decided to make something slightly more elegant, yet just as comforting… our new Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe.
I know, I know. Candy making sounds complicated.
However, I promise you this is the easiest and fastest caramel candy recipe you’ll ever try. Plus each little bite of this Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe is sheer magic in your mouth!
The beauty of each little salted caramel is the creamy dreamy texture and taste that comes from ultra silky California dairy and caramelized sugar.
I love using California-made dairy products, because California has such high standards for their dairy industry, that they produce meticulously consistent dairy products. I know when I buy cheeses, milk, cream, and butter with the Real California Milk seal, I’m buying quality.
To make this super-easy, yet luxurious, Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe start by bringing cream, butter, sugar, bourbon, and corn syrup to a boil.
Using mostly brown sugar gives you a jump-start on the caramelization process, so it takes less time to make.
Place a candy thermometer on the edge of the sauce pot and when the temperature reaches 245 degrees F, test the caramel candy recipe by spooning a little bit into a cup of ice water. The ice water will cool the candy quickly, then you can pick it up and pop it in your mouth to see if it has the flavor and soft chewy texture you like.
If it’s too soft, or isn’t as caramelized as you like, you can simmer it a bit longer and test again.
The alcohol cooks out leaving a hint of boozy essence that give each little salted caramel a kiss of something special.
Pour the molten Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe into a parchment paper lined baking dish and cool.
Cut. Generously sprinkle with salt. Then wrap each piece in wax paper so they are easy to pass around.
Upon first taste, your loved ones are going to know just how special they are to you!
Looking for more marvelous dairy-laden holiday recipes?
Check out our Dreaming Of Dairy Pinterest Board filled with dozens of the creamiest, cheesiest recipes around!
Also check out this amazing giveaway generously donated by the California Milk Advisory Board.
To Enter: Follow the prompts in the automated entry form below. For US residents only.
Bourbon Salted Caramel Candy Recipe
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup salted butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Sea salt coarse or flaked
- Place the sugars, heavy cream, butter, corn syrup and bourbon in a large sauce pot. Attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot with the tip touching the ingredients, then place over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the mixture to simmer until it reaches 245-260 degrees F and is the desired color you like for caramel. If the temperature starts rising faster than the caramel is browning, lower the heat even more to give it time to caramelize.
- Meanwhile, line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and cut the corners so it folds into the dish neatly. Spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray. Then prepare a cup of ice water to test the caramel. Once the caramel reaches at least 245 degrees F, use a spoon to drop a little bit of molten caramel into the ice water. Lift it out and test for texture. It should be firm enough to cut, yet soft enough to chew. If needed, simmer the caramel a little longer, but do not allow it to go over 260 degrees F. Once it's ready, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Carefully pour the molten caramel into the prepared dish and allow it to cool completely. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the dish in the refrigerator. Once cooled, lift the whole sheet of caramel candy out of the dish by the edges of the parchment paper and cut into 1-inch squares. Sprinkle generously with sea salt, then wrap each candy in small pieces of wax paper.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board. All opinions are my own.
Made this recipe and it was easy, but it took a very long time to come to temp. My caramels are pretty hard, is that because of how long they cooked? And I can’t taste the bourbon, I even put in a bit more Jim Beam when I put in the vanilla. They’re good, but I just wish they were softer and had a stronger flavor. Did I do something wrong?
The firmness probably has to do with the time it took to reach the proper temperature. It is most likely the burner/heat level used. If you try them again, turn the heat up just a smidge.
I made this. Getting the caramel to the desired temp took a very long time for me; not sure what I was doing wrong (if anything). Taste is good, but is homemade better than something like Werthers? Not sure if it was worth the effort. Also not sure the addition of bourbon is worth it. Finally, I’d look for a better way to wrap these than waxed paper squares, to make them more attractive.
Excellent caramel recipe. So easy and turn our perfectly!!! Only thing is I wish there was more of a bourbon flavor. Seems like the flavor of bourbon cooks out with the alcohol. Any suggestions to have more of that bourbon flavor?
I can’t wait to try these. Did you use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar?
You can use either, but I usually go with light brown sugar.
I’ve made this recipe and it’s awesome – wondering do you think I could sub in Rum instead? Looking to create a nice Buttered Rum caramel.
What kind of bourbon do you use? There are about 20 choices at my grocery store and I know nothing about bourbon. Thanks for your help.
Since you are cooking the bourbon, it does not have to be the highest quality. However, you will taste it, so it’s best not to use the very cheapest variety. You should pick one you might use as a mixer with coke or ginger beer… Maybe in the low-to medium price range. Hope this helps!
I followed recipe and boiled it but it would never harden I kept boiling it and drop a spoonful on ice and nothing!! Help what can I do?
Did you use a candy thermometer? If you reached the proper temperature, it should absolutely harden.
I use this recipe every Christmas and it never disappoints! Rich, good bourbon edge! All my peeps look forward to these ever year! I usually take it up to 250-252 degrees.
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Once these are made and wrapped, can you freeze them? I have a bunch of old glass candles, and I want to clean the wax out, and then fill them with these, but I might have to do multiple batches over a few weeks, to have enough for my group of friends. The recipe looks easy and yummy!
Yes, you can freeze them, then thaw at room temperature. :)
Sooo easy to make. The recipe/directions are spot on. I’ve already been asked to make these each year.
How long can I keep the caramels for? (I expect that they will be eaten quickly but I want to know how long in advance can I make them ;-))
Such a great treat!!
Best caramels I have ever made! Thank you for the recipe.
This is more of a question. Can you replace the Bourbon with water? Again amazing recipe.
Absolutely! Just make an equal swap. :)
What kind of cream do you use for the bourbon caramels? Is it heavy cream? Whipping cream?
Use heavy cream for best results. :)
I love Eggnog!
Seafood lasagna–creamy bechemel sauce and lots of cheese!
My favorite dairy-laden holiday food is homemade Egg Nog.
Chocolate cream pie!
Ice cream, I’may partial to peppermint this time of year.
My favorite would be a turtle cheesecake!
Tom & Jerry batter
When I was in college, my aunt used to send me care packages that included homemade caramels. Unfortunately she passed away before I got the recipe. Thank you for reviving good memories.
My fave dairy holiday dish is egg nog! =)
I seriously need to try these caramels! They look DELISH! I’m always a little intimidated by candy-making, but thanks to your “easy-even-for-me” instructions, I think I’ve got this! =)
My favorite dairy-laden holiday dish is custard pie.
My favorite dairy-laden item for the holidays is homemade eggnog. Bring on the cream!
Do White Russians count? Then I’d go with cheesecake and maybe homemade mac & cheese with ham.
Also, we make this cranberry frozen salad with whipped cream and milk. It’s amazing.
Everything is Better with Butter. Can’t wait to try this recipe.
My mom’s cream cheese candy. It is so yummy!
mac n’ cheese, forever and always.
Brown sugar maple pumpkin pie (made with 1/2 & 1/2) and homemade whipped cream – yum!
Mashed Potatoes – milk, cream, sour cream, butter. Back on the diet tomorrow.
I love homemade caramel & these look perfect!
Oh, it has to be eggnog!
I make cinnamon rolls that use milk as the liquid and top them with a powdered sugar glaze using half and half. My family delivers them to friends and family on Christmas Eve.
Baked mac & cheese
Anything with eggnog! By itself or in a recipe.
potatoes au gratin!
My great-aunt’s cheesecake!
Mashed potatoes with cream and butter. Roasted garlic of course!!
Love me some cheesecake!!
Mashed potatoes with lots of heavy cream and butter. YumYum!
My fave is custard, which is then served with a nice steamed pudding.
Are these products available in Pittsburgh, PA. If so, what markets?
Hi Marjorie, if you can’t find California-made dairy products, buy your favorite brands. ;)
I absolutly love milk caramels ,also cheese cake
I am so going to make this!
That would have to be one of our family’s Greek influenced holiday traditions: Pastitsio. My grandmother’s version involves a lot more cheese and less “sauce” than the recipes I see online. It is cheesy, chewy-crunchy decadence.
My dad’s recipe for divinity, we make peppermint, chocolate, black walnut and maple – my mom’s recipe for fudge and I love baked alaska
Homemade mashed potatoes made with lots of butter and milk.
My absolute favorite treat is peppermint cheesecake.
My favorite is the Harry and David cheesecake – LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!
I’d have to say my favorite is cheesecake.
Definitely chocolate mouse with some whipped cream, or any type of custard! Love creamy desserts!
Cheesecake, for sure!
Well, I thought hard about what my favorite dairy-laden holiday treat is, and I decided on a nice, rich cheesecake. Then I read the other comments here, and I see that I’m not the only one!
Cheesecake and fresh whipped cream.
Tres La Leche cake
Peanut butter fudge – with butter, yes, good amounts of butter.
But also, we are big fans of tres leches cakes.
Coconut cream pie is my favorite!
Cheesecake is my favorite.
I love spinach artichoke dip. It is my absolute favorite. Thanks for the chance to enter.
My number obe favorite is cheesecake.
I love all cheesecakes! I always make at least one around the holidays.
Chocolate Yule Log filled with fresh chocolate whipped cream! It’s our family favorite! Thanks for hosting this exciting giveaway. :)
amy [at] utry [dot] it
chocolate cream pie
any potato dish using milk… mashed, scalloped, twice baked, etc…
I’m all about the mac and cheese!
I think my favorite (and my family’s), is cheesecake!
Whoa! These look so dang delicious!!!
My favorite dairy-laden holiday dish is cheesecake! Oh, and my favorite beverage…eggnog!
We love Mac and cheese with our holiday ham.
Scalloped Potatoes or Cheesecake
Cheesecake!! Topped with cherries!
I love cheesecake!
Beautiful pics wuth the caramels. I’m fixing to start a batch as soon as I get finished here! As for a favorite, I have not one. It’s way to hard to make a decision. Caramel ANYTHING is always a winner! Thanks
My favorite dairy-laden dish is chipped beef on toast, believe it or not. Cream, butter, eggs….it’s a heart attack on a plate
For holidays, I just love cheesecake!
Mac N Cheese with three different kinds of cheese, cream, milk, and butter. All very much dairy-laden. :)
I always get a peppermint shake every year
I love eggnog and I love creme brulee – it’s a hard choice!
My favorite dairy holiday treat is cheesecake cupcakes.
Ris-a-lamond, a creamy rice pudding with Almonds and Cherry Sauce. It’s Danish and I love it!
I like a good Red Velvet Cheesecake for the holidays!
Mac & Cheese is always a favorite at our table!
I loves me some cheesecake!
I love oreo cheesecake!
Creme brulee, mmmm…
Extra cheesy lasagna!
I absolutely LOVE homemade egg nog
My uncle Eric’s rum punch: ice cream, ginger ale, pineapple chunks, and “the cheapest rum that won’t make you go blind.” It’s not Christmas without it!
We drink a lot of cocoa with whip cream during the holidays. I put out a hot choclate bar and everyone becomes a kid again.
so many to choose from. Probably cheesecake.
cheesecake for sweet and lasagna for savory..sooo good.
Not exactly a dish but eggnog eggnog eggnog!
Fresh whipped cream, with just a touch of sugar and vanilla
Turtle cheesecake is my favorite around the holidays! Caramels are a close second!
I love homemade salted chocolate covered caramels.
Escaping tradition here– flan! Followed by cheesecake, and closely by all things chocolate.
In the savory department, our family loves quiches or 4-cheese pie.
LOVE dairy anything but my favorite dairy laden dish would have to be Cheesey Potatoes! Yum! Cheese, sour cream, butter and milk in this wonderful family favorite!
Butter cookies and eggnog are at the top of my list!!
Love anything caramel! And eggnog chiffon pie.
I love hot chocolate around the holidays, topped with marshmallows.
Does hot chocolate with whipped cream count?
Caramel topped cheesecake…so yummy.
Love me some hot chocolate made with dairy (not water!)
I love a noodle kugel that is made with sour cream, cottage cheese and cream cheese along with cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, and other ingredients.
Well, eggnog is my favorite (of course!)
The whole salted caramel trend is one I wholeheartedly endorse!
Oh my goodness that looks amazing!!! I would have to say anything with eggnog added to it. Great giveaway- thank you!!
My favorite is lasagna, with cheesecake running a close second.
I’d have to say cheesecake.
I saw these on IG this morning and am totally thinking of nixing one of the other recipes I was going to make for my Supper Club’s annual cookie/candy swap this weekend for these beauties. I mean WOW!!
Mine would have to be a Cheesecake.
I was actually looking for a caramel recipe and I love me some bourbon so this is perfect! And it’s pretty old fashioned, but I am big with making cheese logs and cheese boards.
I love cheesecake.
I love homemade custard pie
Baked Pimento Cheese Dip!
Peppermint cheesecake or spicy cheesy lobster dip!
Cheese and crackers!!! :)
These caramels looks absolutely amazing, Sommer. Of course, you had me at bourbon. :-)
Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground
Cheese logs are my favs!
This recipe seems so easy! I hope they will look good with my pink salt!
Tiramisu! So much good dairy in there!
Definitely hot dips with tons of cheese like a Buffalo chicken dip.
Adding these to my baking list!
Homemade gifts are the best, and this time of year homemade candy rocks!
We are big fans of cheesecake for the holidays.
Pumpkin cheesecake and cheese blintzes.
Egg nog for sure.
Potatoes au gratin with cheese and cream!
My family loves egg nog,
Bookmarking for later use!
I love cheesecake!
holy crap. Definitely making these this weekend!! And then maybe throwing pieces of them in some cookies :)
Cabbage made with heavy cream, egg and bacon. Fudge is my go to gift for the neighbors. I might have to add this caramel recipe, though.
I can’t wait to make my first Christmas ham this year, using your recipe from a couple weeks ago!
Caramels, definitely. I’m not a fan of chocolate and mom makes caramels every year. I’m going to have to try these.
I’m adding this to my list of things to make for Christmas. It looks so easy!
These caramels look amazing! Definitely going on the list of items to bake this year!
I made a sweet potato cheesecake for Thanksgiving that I might have to make again!
I love making several goodies for family and friends this time of year. The caramels would be perfect.
We love cheesecake in our home.
there’s nothing better than creamy mashed potatoes, however cheesecake is pretty close
These look delicious!
Perfect little caramel bites!
We love eggnog an cookies with a fire and our a view of our Christmas tree. We usually go for a cheesy appetizer before our holiday meal too.
Cheesecake for sure!
I love my mother’s pumpkin pie which is made with a quart of milk and topped with a hefty amount of whipped cream!
Ooh ny husband would love these!
Caramels are perfect for Christmas time!
I love making caramels and can’t wait to try these!
I always make caramels at Christmas with heavy cream. I’ll have to try adding bourbon this year!!
I love rice pudding!