Soft and chewy, melt-in-your-mouth caramel that’s dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. These Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels are so delicious you’d never know they were dairy free!
What is caramel exactly?
Caramel (or Carmelo, as the Spanish would say) is a color, a texture, and of course a sweet treat. At its primitive state, caramel is simply sugar that is heated until it begins to “caramelize”. Different recipes call for different ingredients to be added in to this process, like milk, cream, or butter.
It sounds simple, right?
Well, it’s a little more complicated than it might seem. You see, different types of caramel will be created at different cooking temperatures. When heated between 320 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit, caramel will have a straw or light brown color and can easily be drizzled onto your favorite treats. Heated to no more than 380 degrees F, caramel’s color will deepen and become firmer when cooled. Often times this is when other ingredients like cream or butter are added in to slow the browning of the sugar and create an opaqueness to the caramel, typical in caramel candies. If you keep cooking it until 410 degrees F, the caramel will become very dark and hard and goes by the names black caramel or baker’s caramel. This is used to color other foods like soda!
I’m a novice chef. Making caramel seems out of me league.
If I’ve made you a little nervous with all of caramel’s heating delicacies, don’t sweat it! I’ve changed up my recipe, which will make the heating process a little easier.
Since I’ve made these Chocolate Covered Caramels vegan, we’ll be using coconut sugar and agave syrup as the sweeteners and coconut oil and condensed coconut milk for the added liquids. Once heated all together and boiling, these ingredients simply need to be stirred continuously for 10 minutes over medium heat. Good time to bring your ipad into the kitchen and catch up on your favorite Netflix show while you do some stirring.
There are many reasons why someone would eat vegan food. I am personally not a vegan myself, but like many others out there, dairy products and my body do not get along. So I’ve set out on a quest to make many of the most popular and scrumptious goodies – but without the stuff that doesn’t sit right with my body.
In my Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels, there are no refined sugars, no dairy, (no gluten or soy either) and yes…there is still chocolate! I love using Enjoy Life Foods vegan dark chocolate chips. Tastes like the real thing, people!
Whether you’re a novice or a professional chef, rest easy that you can make these caramels without too much fuss. If you got curious kids, invite them to help; they’ll LOVE to dunk the caramels in the chocolate, just like you will 🙂
Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels
NOTE: If you can’t find sweetened condensed coconut milk in a store near you, here’s a recipe to make your own: Homemade Vegan Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk.
Vegan Chocolate Covered Caramels
For the Caramel:
- Coconut oil spray
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 2/3 cup (7 ounces) sweetened condensed coconut milk* I like Nature's Charm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Chocolate Coating:
- 2 and 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips** I like Enjoy Life Foods dark chocolate chips
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- Course pink sea salt for garnish
For the caramel:
Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil.
Place coconut oil, coconut sugar, agave and condensed coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly with a whisk for exactly 10 minutes.
Add the vanilla and simmer for about 30 seconds more. Pour into lined baking dish and let cool by placing in the fridge for about 60 minutes.
Once firm, remove from the fridge and from the baking dish. Carefully cut the caramel into squares. To make this easier, spray your knife with coconut oil before cutting. Place each caramel on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer while melting your chocolate.
For the chocolate:
Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together either in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth and creamy. The trick to melting chocolate is making sure not a singe drop of water gets in!
Once chocolate is melted, remove cookie sheet from freezer and place one caramel square at a time in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. (I like to use 2 forks to place each caramel in the chocolate, swirl it around, then use one fork to scrape off excess chocolate.) Sprinkle the top with course pink sea salt. Continue until all the chocolate has been used.
Did You Make It?
If you make this recipe, please let us know! We love seeing your creations and hearing about how your recipes turned out. Tag us with your photos on Instagram @naturaltastychef, #naturaltastychef or on Facebook: Alison Charbonneau, Natural Tasty Chef!
Thinking of going vegan or gluten-free and not sure where to start? Check out our One Week Vegan + Gluten-Free Meal Plan, complete with recipes and grocery lists!