Friday, October 5, 2012

Corn Free Dairy Free Vegan Caramel

There is something about fall that makes certain foods more appealing. You know what I'm talking about... all things apple and/or caramel.  But you throw in a food allergy like dairy or corn and literally half of the most tempting fall deserts are eliminated.  Caramel is by definition butter, sugar and milk.  When planning my daughter's early fall birthday party this year I was determined to figure this one out: a dairy free and corn (syrup) free caramel for caramel chocolate covered apples.

I started with this basic recipe.  The proportions seemed right and I would only need to attempt one major substitution.  When you are playing with specialty ingredients, it can get expensive so you want to do most of the guessing before you actually start.

Please read through instructions a couple times before attempting.  I promise after you make it once, it will all make perfect sense the next time!

  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup agave 
  • 1 cup earth balance or your normal butter substitute
Equipment required:
  • large pot, at least 6 quart
  • candy thermometer

Place all ingredients in you pot and clip your candy thermometer onto the side.  Warm over low to medium heat.  I hovered around a three or four.  Stir, stir, stir.  The liquid will boil at 212*F and stay at that temperature until the water has evaporated.  Eventually the mixture will begin to rise in temperature again and being to thicken.  Around 230* you will begin to see a significant change, this is about 30 minutes since you started.  The mixture will bubbly continuously.  Keep stirring.  When the mixture reaches 245* the resulting caramel will harden when cooled.  You can test this by spooning some onto a plate and placing it in the freezer for just a minute.  When you take it out it should be very hard, not runny at all.  At this point, you can either pour the hot caramel into a buttered baking pan (8 X 8) and let cool, or you can allow it to cool and thicken slightly in the pot 
and dip clean, dry organic apples into to caramel.

You can see in this picture how my caramel pooled around the base of the apple.  That is just because I am impatient and began dipping my apples in the very hot caramel.  The second tray came out much better!  

After allowing the caramel apples to harden (about 20 minutes) I dipped them again, only halfway this time, in chocolate (corn free and vegan enjoy life chips) mixed with a couple tablespoons of almond milk to thin it.  I then quickly dipped the apples in either chopped almonds (for the adults) or sprinkles (for the kids)!

so festive!

The apples were a huge hit.  It wasn't until later that I realized I served sugar (organic apples) covered in sugar (corn free dairy free caramel) dipped in more sugar (chocolate)!  Wow, maybe next time I'll just make the brownies... but even they are better with caramel! 

(If you want to keep the caramel in a liquid state to use as a sauce for brownies or ice cream or even in a hot fall beverage, heat only to 230*F and keep it in a glass jar with a tight lid and refrigerate.  Yum!)


  1. OH EM GEE. :D found your blog when looking for df coffee creamer... *sigh* naturopath told me to pull dairy on tuesday - didn't until today, and now today hasn't been such a good one.

    but that recipe above (and the coffee creamer one - i'm going to use melted coconut oil), gives me hope i might be able to survive this. ;P

    looking forward to getting to know you both. :D

    1. hey dinnae,
      i'm attempting to go dairy free and have had tons of success finding replacements and substitutions. it's not that difficult especially when you feel so much better! best of luck the switch, let me know if we can be of any help!
      -- jacquline


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