Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

caramels or caramel candies are small sweets created by cooking glucose, sugar, and milk or cream together with butter and flavoring to yield a confection that is opaque, medium brown in color, and with a texture that ranges from soft to medium-hard and chewy. Once cooked, the mixture is usually cut into small squares that are wrapped individually to prevent the pieces from sticking together. A softer version is made for filling chocolates and chocolate bars. This type of caramel is also used in cakes or cookies, such as the layered combination of soft caramel and chocolate topping set upon a shortbread base, known as caramel squares, or sometimes as millionaire’s shortbread. Very soft caramel mixtures with a velvety texture are popular in North America and elsewhere, swirled through ice creams, as cake fillings, sweet sauces, flavors for puddings and syrups, and as a coating for caramel corn or sweetened popcorn.