Salted Caramel Chews

It is a cherished family tradition to celebrate my lovely sister's birthday up at our grandparents' lake cabin in the woods.

Countless happy memories have been collected over the years during our time spent at the lake and we look forward to those trips year after year.

This year, I packed two treats for the trip, fudgy black bean cookies for an engergy-packed dessert [requested by the beau], and these tasty caramel chews.

Amidst the volcanic mountain hiking, boating, wake surfing, location scouting, beach barbecuing, and relaxing, these sweet caramels were very much enjoyed, with barely enough remaining for the trip home.

These caramels are fantastically sweet and buttery. They have something of a butterscotch flavor to them, and rather than containing corn syrup, they are sweetened with maple syrup and your choice of sugar.

Creamy Salted Caramel Chews
makes one pan of caramels (loaf or 8x8" depending on desired thickness)

-1 cup non-dairy milk (5+ grams of fat per cup, the higher the better)
-1/2 cup cane or coconut sugar
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1/3 cup non-dairy butter
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

-1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1. Line pan with parchment paper (8x8 pan or smaller, depending on desired thickness of caramels).
2. Heat all ingredients except vanilla, lemon juice, and salt in saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, add candy thermometer and allow to boil without stirring until it reaches between soft ball and soft crack stages (250-270F). 
*It will take some time to get up to 250F, once it reaches 250F, it will move up rather quickly, so don't walk away, it will burn soon afterward. They can be removed any time after 240F if you don't want to wait, they will soften quicker at room temperature but be just as tasty.
3. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Pour into lined pan and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, cut into pieces, and wrap in small pieces of parchment or wax paper. Store in refrigerator and enjoy!

adapted from this recipe by Fork and Beans
I cook the mixture to about 269F and the texture is hard enough to last yet still somewhat chewy, remove immediately from the stove as the hot pot can continue to cook the mixture.
optional substitutions...
-non-dairy milk: canned coconut milk's high fat content is fantastic in this recipe, I have used both lite and full fat coconut milk with success, hemp milk is delicious as well. Any non-dairy milk with 5 or more grams of fat per cup does great.
-sugar: organic sugar, coconut sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar
-non-dairy butter: coconut oil, coconut butter

Mangia! Mangia!