Adventures in Dairy Free Caramel Experiments: Part 2, Crockpot Caramel Sauce

I know you’ve all been waiting for the second edition in this adventure, so here it is: a How-To Guide on doing Dairy Free Crockpot Caramel Sauce.

Now, as I’ve told you before, caramel is not dairy free in and of itself. While you may think that caramel is typically just sugar and water that’s been heated and melted down, it actually isn’t. Making caramel sauce can be quite complicated, because it has a tendency to crystalize and solidify, turning into a brittle candy, rather than a nice gooey sauce.

Because of that, I’m trying to simplify this recipe a bit into a more beginner to intermediate cooking level.

Remember, that when we finish this caramel sauce, we’ll be one step closer to our final product in Part 3, which will be A Little Bite of Sunflower Heaven: A Chocolate Covered Sunflower Butter Cup filled with a Gooey Caramel Center.

What you’ll need for this recipe:

1 crockpot (I use a 2 quart crockpot)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
4 tablespoons melted coconut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup condensed coconut milk

***Note***
While the ingredients here aren’t paleo, there is an easy way to make it paleo friendly.
What you’ll need to do is substitute raw coconut sugar, and maple syrup or honey instead of corn syrup.

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And yes, that is a zombie head cookie jar in the background.

If you happen to be wondering why we are including cream of tartar in a caramel sauce recipe, there is a perfectly valid reason. Caramel sauces can be rather fickle and tend to crystalize. By including the cream of tartar and the corn syrup in the sauce, it keeps the sugar from crystalizing in the sauce. Basically, it stabilizes it. If you don’t have cream of tartar on hand, you can substitute 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice instead.

Now let’s get down to the dirty work.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 – 8 hours

In the crock put, mix together your white sugar, brown sugar, and your cream of tartar.
In a separate bowl mix together your water, melted butter, vanilla, and light corn syrup together.

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Once your sugars are mixed together, add in your wet mix, and stir together in the crock pot. Now turn the heat on that baby high. Be sure to mix it up very well, otherwise you’ll end up with dense clumps of sugar in different spots. So, stir and enjoy the nice creamy look and texture of it.

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While your crockpot warms up, go ahead and place your previously made condensed coconut milk (hopefully stored in a glass mason jar), in a pot of warm water, to loosen it up a bit. Once your condensed coconut milk is warmed up, add it into your crockpot mixture and stir together.

Don’t use a metal spoon, because it conducts heat and can pull out the heat from your sugar mixture. Wooden spoon would work, but I’m not a fan of them because they tend to store germs, and also sap out the moisture from your mixture.
What do I suggest? A silicone spoon.

Set on high and let sit for 4-8 hours, depending on your desired caramel darkness and flavor.
Be sure to check on your mixture every hour or so in order to stir it and avoid any burning on the bottom of your crock pot (due to hot spots in the ceramic)

Your sauce mixture should be a really nice creamy color, and should smell absolutely wonderful.

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Now, it is of vital importance that you just let your caramel do it’s very own little caramel-y thing. Every time you remove the lid from the crockpot you will be letting the heat escape from the sauce, causing it to evaporate faster and risking your sauce burning, or crystalizing due to too little liquid.
After about two and a half hours, you should have a nice, bubbly mixture like so:

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If you happen to have a larger crockpot than I do, here is another viable setup for you:
Another way to set up your crockpot:
4-6 quart crockpot double boiler.

What you’ll need is another ceramic 2 quart pot or 2 quart glass pot. Mix together your ingredients as described, in the pot. Put it the pot in your crockpot, and slowly fill up water until it’s about two inches from the top of the pot inside. Turn the heat on high, and continue to cook for 4-8 hours, depending on your desired caramel darkness and flavor. With the double boiler, you will be able to let it sit for the full time without periodically stirring.

Now, after about four hours of simmering, my sauce had a beautiful light caramel-y color to it.

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But, the thickness and the color weren’t quite to my liking, so I let mine sit for a bit longer. Consequently, I let it cook for another two hours. For me, my caramel turned into a nice medium/dark color, with a wonderful sweetness.

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Say hello to some wonderfully tasty caramel, and don’t forget to say hello to Eduardo the Zombie Jar too.

Now, to let you all know, in all my caramel research I did discover another way to make crockpot caramel, and it’s insanely easy as well.
If you fill your crockpot with water, and place your cans or jars of condensed milk in the crockpot on high, for 4-6 hours, it will turn into caramel on its own. I haven’t tested this as of yet, so if you happen to try it and enjoy it, please comment with the results!

Enjoy this caramel with:
-ice cream
-coffee
-apples, bananas, strawberries, fruits
-pastries (if you can eat them)
-chocolate

Remember to stay tuned in for PART THREE where we make delicious bites of Sunflower Heaven: a mixture between a peanut butter cup and a Cadbury egg.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free, and paleo friendly.

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