Soft and Chewy Homemade Caramels with Crushed Pretzels

Hello! I hope your Mother’s Day was fantastic. My family and I spent the day enjoying some of my mom’s and my favorite treats. It was filled with fun and delicious treats. Fresh from my culinary adventure, I wanted to make something I had never attempted before. First I tried to make taffy, but that did not turn out well. Instead of soft, stretchy taffy, I got rock hard unicorn horns. So I decided on something slightly less ambitious; homemade caramels. At least there’s no pulling hot sugar with this recipe.

Homemade Caramel Recipe with Pretzels

It is surprising how simply this recipe is. With a bit of patience and a lot of stirring, you can make this soft, buttery caramel. Adding the pretzel gives this super sweet candy a bit of salt and crunch. Homemade caramel can be intimidating, but this recipe breaks it down step by step. So you can treat your family and friends with homemade candy.

┬áThis is another recipe from my great grandmother’s box. It was a bit of trial and error because the instructions were so sparse. I feel into all the pitfalls so I can tell you how to avoid them. ­čśÇ

The ingredients you will need to make homemade caramels are:

Ingredients for Homemade Caramels

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • ┬Ż cup of butter
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 3-4 cups of┬ápretzels

Start by crushing the pretzels.

Crushing Pretzels for Caramels

Pour pretzels into a heavy duty resealable bag. Otherwise the pretzels will poke through and you’ll have crumbs everywhere. Take a rolling pin and thoroughly crush the pretzels. I recommend this method over a food processor because I like┬álarger chunks┬áof pretzel.

Next grease a 9×9 inch pan and spread about a cup of the pretzels over the bottom.

Now it’s time to start the caramel process. For this you will need a large heavy pot, heat resistant spatula, and a candy thermometer.

Making Caramels

Start by melting the butter over low/medium heat. Then add the sugar, light corn syrup, and 1 cup of heavy cream to the bottom. Stir frequently and slowly bring up to medium heat. Continue to cook over medium heat and keep stirring frequently.

Do NOT turn up the heat! If you try to speed up this process, you will end up with hard, insanely sticky caramel. This advise comes from experience. I was worried about losing a filling with my first (failed) batch of caramels. Keeping it at medium heat will take more time, but you will end up with delicious, not to mention eatable, caramel.

When the mixture starts to boil, slowly add the last cup of heavy cream. You will want to add it slowly enough that the mixture keeps boiling as much as possible. Keep up the stirring. Make sure you scrap the sides and bottom of the pot while you are stirring. Ideally you want all the mixture to be at the same temperature for smooth caramel.

Keep an eye on your candy thermometer. You will need to cook the caramel until it reaches 245-250┬░. When the caramel starts to darken, stir the mixture constantly. After the caramel is┬á245-250┬░, carefully remove from heat and immediately pour into your prepared 9×9 pan.

While it’s still hot sprinkle on the remaining crushed pretzels. Let it cool completely before you try to cut it.

Cutting and Wrapping Homemade Caramels

Once the caramel has cooled, chop it up into small squares. Cut squares of wax paper. Wrap wax paper around a caramel piece and twist at both ends. Repeat with all of the caramels to keep them from sticking back together. Store in a resealable and enjoy them while they last.

Finished Homemade Caramels with Crushed Pretzels

While this recipe was difficult at first, but once I got the temperature right and applied a bit of patience it was easy. These sweet and salty little candies are worth the time and patience required to make them.

After you’ve conquered caramels, go treat yourself to your favorite coffee. If you’re heading outside, you will need some sunglasses. Why not treat yourself to a new pair for this summer? At Heartland America, we have a stylish pair of Wiley-X Sunglasses.

Wiley-X Sunglasses available at Heartland America

Not only do these sunglasses have 100% UVA and UVB protection, but they are also shatterproof. The pearl white frames and Selenite lenses blend fashion and safety into the pair of glasses you need this summer. Grab your pair today while you can. Supplies are limited. Be prepared to enjoy your summer.

While enjoy the sunshine, I hope you enjoy some delicious homemade sweets as well. Next week I’ll be bringing you a quick DIY for your family to enjoy over Memorial Day Weekend and all summer long. Until then I hope you have a great day and remember you are always welcome at Home with Heartland.

Homemade Caramels
Print Recipe
These soft and buttery caramels are a sweet candy you can make at home. Adding crushed pretzels is an optional but a nice salty twist.
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1+ hour
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1+ hour
Homemade Caramels
Print Recipe
These soft and buttery caramels are a sweet candy you can make at home. Adding crushed pretzels is an optional but a nice salty twist.
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1+ hour
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1+ hour
  1. Grease 9x9 inch pan.
  2. Spread 1 cup of crushed pretzels over the bottom of the pan. (Optional)
  3. Melt butter in a large heavy pot over med-low heat.
  4. Add sugar, corn syrup, and 1 cup of heavy cream and stir together.
  5. Turn heat up to medium stirring frequently.
  6. Keep stirring over medium heat until mixture melts and starts to boil. (Do NOT turn up heat.)
  7. Very gradually stir in the rest of the heavy cream keeping the mixture boiling.
  8. Stir frequently as mixture thickens and constantly as it darkens.
  9. Using a candy thermometer, cook to 245-250 degrees. (Keep on medium heat the entire time)
  10. Take off heat and carefully pour into 9x9 pan.
  11. Let cool completely before cutting into small squares.
  12. Wrap each piece in wax paper and store in a resealable bag.
Recipe Notes

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Here’s a pic of my failed taffy attempt.

Extra: Failed Taffy

Don’t the twisted ones look like unicorn horns? ­čśÇ Oh well, maybe I’ll attempt taffy another time but not anytime soon. ­čśë

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