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Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce

What you need: 

1 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup water, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
3 tablespoons margarine (I use Earth Balance)
3 to 4 tablespoons plain or vanilla nondairy milk (I use soymilk), divided

What you do: 

1. Place an 8" or 9" metal cake pan in the freezer. Heat a 1 1/2 quart to 2 quart pot or large frying pan with a thick, heavy base over medium-high heat. Add sugar. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon every 10-15 seconds, for about a minute, until sugar starts to melt. Stir, nonstop, for about 2-3 minutes. (I used a vegan cane sugar and for some reason mine didn't want to melt. So if you're like me, add 1/4 cup of water.) The sugar will be EXTREMELY hot by now, which is good, but it will probably pop and splatter, so be careful! What you want if for the water to evaporate most of the water so the sugar starts caramelizing.
2. Add vanilla. When the sugar starts to turn just a little darker, or as dark as you want it and the water is almost gone, add margarine and stir nonstop until it melts. Let boil on medium heat for 2 to3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
3. Add non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Depending on how creamy you want it, you can add 3 or 4 tablespoons (I added 4). I wouldn't add more then that, would be too syrupy. Continue to boil it about 4 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds. (Depending on how long you let the sugar caramelize you can either make candies with it or a sauce. I chose not to cook mine that long because I wanted to drizzle mine onto of apples and ice cream.)
4. Get that cake pan out of the freezer, it should be nice and cold by now. Turn the heat off on your stove and let the sauce sit for 1 minute more. Then pour very quickly into the cake pan. The cold helps it setup better, if you don't have a metal cake pan, you can poor is onto a cold cookie sheet, or just into a bowl. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to cool.
Tip: Wash your pan out right away, nothing is harder to clean up then crystallized caramel. Same goes for the spoons/whisks and anything else with the sticky stuff on it!
Source of recipe: I couldn't find any good vegan caramel recipes so I made my own!

Preparation Time: 
1 minute
Cooking Time: 
Servings: 
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

This recipe made me want to jump in the burning sugar and die. :(

It was so very difficult. Ive tried three times.  *sigh*

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I used lactaid for the nondairy milk.  :P

As far as I know, Lactaid is NOT nondairy. It's simply cow milk processed further so the lactose is removed. My father has been using Lactaid milk for many years and I've never seen a "nondairy" form of it. You really want to check your labels if you are trying to be vegan.

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I thought Lactaid was real dairy milk without the lactose? I thought the only dairy-free milk options were soy, almond and rice milk? I'm confused.  ???

You're right, Lactaid is cow's milk with the lactose (milk sugar) removed--not vegan. Hemp and coconut milk are also alternatives.

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Good recipe, thank you. And for one of the other posters, I thought Lactaid was real dairy milk without the lactose? I thought the only dairy-free milk options were soy, almond and rice milk? I'm confused.  ???

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This was tough for me! The first time was a disaster. I tried to make it in a cast iron skillet. Maybe the heat was too high but at one point before putting in the non-dairy cream (I tried to use hazelnut), a sort of chemical reaction happened and the caramel started to get REALLY dark! I tried adding the hazelnut milk anyway but it looked too scary to eat (slightly purple!).  I had to open all the windows to keep the fire alarm from going off.

  But I wanted caramel so bad I tried it again. This time I was so afraid it would burn I didn't let all the sugar melt completely down. The texture seemed to become really strange when adding the hazelnut milk. I also didn't have vanilla extract so I think that really didn't help. I'm open to any tips!

oops! I've had that happen before, I made nonvegan caramel one time and the pan set on fire. (was my first time on a gas stove!).

My first question is, are you using the water to help you melt the sugar? If you aren't I would use the water. Secondly, you need a good heavy bottom pot for best insurance when making any caramel, cast iron holds the heat almost too good so its not the best option in my opinion.  I would just get a nonstick pot (I use a stainless steal pot that isnt nonstick) add the sugar and water and just let it cook.
We all make mistakes in the kitchen so don't let that fear of burning the caramel hold you back, I know you can do it! =-) Its one of the recipes even seasoned chefs have issues with. One tip I can give through, don't wait til the caramel turns dark, at that point you've burned in. Try doing it until all the sugar is disolved, and let it go 1 more minute.

I wish you luck, lemme know how it goes if you try again!  ;)b

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This was tough for me! The first time was a disaster. I tried to make it in a cast iron skillet. Maybe the heat was too high but at one point before putting in the non-dairy cream (I tried to use hazelnut), a sort of chemical reaction happened and the caramel started to get REALLY dark! I tried adding the hazelnut milk anyway but it looked too scary to eat (slightly purple!).  I had to open all the windows to keep the fire alarm from going off.

  But I wanted caramel so bad I tried it again. This time I was so afraid it would burn I didn't let all the sugar melt completely down. The texture seemed to become really strange when adding the hazelnut milk. I also didn't have vanilla extract so I think that really didn't help. I'm open to any tips!

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Wonderful delicious recipe!! So easy too!
My caramel sauce had a bit more bite to it, but great nonetheless. Also very creamy. I plan to use it for frappes, and various desserts.  :)>>>

I used lactaid for the nondairy milk.  :P

Thank you!

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I've been craving anything caramel for the last 3 years. I'm so glad I found this. I made it and it was AWESOME. I can't even believe how much of a mess it made though. I had to boil everything the stuff touched to get the caramel off :P

Does yours harden solid? I wonder if adding more milk would make it like a solid caramel?

Oh wow its been forever since I made this LOL

Mine never hardened solid, even after staying in the fridge (but I didn't want it to) I would suppose if you wanted solid caramels you would add less milk and you would want to make sure to boil down the sugar even more to remove extra water. That can be tricky business, I can tell you from experience (vegan and not caramels) that one second its perfect, the next second it could burst into flames (had that happen a month ago, cooking on a new stove!). Take extra caution when doing this.  Another tip would be maybe use the inside of a vanilla bean instead of the extract, at the VERY VERY end or it will burn the vanilla.  You could also cut down on the "butter" but it wont be as creamy.

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I've been craving anything caramel for the last 3 years. I'm so glad I found this. I made it and it was AWESOME. I can't even believe how much of a mess it made though. I had to boil everything the stuff touched to get the caramel off :P

Does yours harden solid? I wonder if adding more milk would make it like a solid caramel?

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