What’s better than sea salt caramels? Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels. They’re sweet, chewy, salty and slightly bitter thanks to the silky smooth dark chocolate. A perfectly balanced homemade caramel.

homemade caramels drizzled with chocolate set on brown parchment paper

Ingredients & Equipment Needed for Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels:

Check out my full in-depth tutorial on how to make Homemade Sea Salt Caramels.

Watch How to Make Sea Salt Caramels:

Prevent Crystallization

To avoid crystallization (aka grainy caramel), slowly add the sugar to the center of the saucepan, this avoids granules from sticking to the sides of the pan which encourages crystallization. 

During the first stage of cooking, if you see crystallization start to form on the sides of the pan, carefully brush some water on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush.

homemade caramel drizzled with chocolate set on a piece of brown parchment paper

Use a Thermometer

A candy thermometer is ideal for making these dark chocolate sea salt caramels. They clip to the side of the pan and usually feature a guard to keep the probe of the thermometer from touching the bottom of the pan.

If your candy thermometer doesn’t have a guard, just be sure to not let the probe touch the bottom of the pan.

How to calibrate a thermometer: Test your thermometer by taking the temperature of boiling water—it should read 212°F. Adjust the recipe temperature up or down based on your test.

homemade caramels drizzled with chocolate set on brown parchment paper

The Importance of Temperature

The sugar syrup will first be cooked to 320ºF  (160ºC) to 325ºF (163ºC).

Then, secondly, the caramel mixture will be cooked to 240°F (115ºC) to 245ºF (118ºC).

This two-step process is important for achieving flavor and adequate texture. The first temperature, 320ºF (160ºC), cooks the sugar syrup past hard-crack stage (think brittles and suckers), and into the caramel stage.

At this stage, nearly all of the moisture has evaporated out and the sugar is now browning and becoming caramel.

The second step of the process is adding fat and moisture to the caramel and cooking it to a much lower temperature, 240°F (115ºC) to 245ºF (118ºC), to create a soft, chewy caramel.

Quick & Easy Cleaning Tip: fill the sticky saucepan with  water and bring to a boil. Watch the caramel melt away! Add the candy thermometer, rubber spatula and/or wooden spoon to the pot if they also have stuck on caramel.

What Kind of Chocolate to Use 

I prefer dark chocolate for these sea salt caramels. Milk chocolate would take these over the top since the caramels are already sweet enough. Chocolate chips or chopped bar chocolate both work.

homemade caramels drizzled with chocolate set on brown parchment paper

If you make these Dark Chocolate Caramels let me know! Leave a comment and rating below!

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homemade caramel drizzled with chocolate set on a piece of brown parchment paper

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 2 ½ hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 24 caramels 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Sweet, salty, bitter and chewy, these chocolate covered caramels are an absolute delight. Wrap individually in wax paper for a festive holiday gift.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup heavy cream*
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt + more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or bar, chopped)

Instructions

  1. Line an 5×8-inch loaf pan with parchment; grease parchment.
  2. Bring butter and cream to boil. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt; let cool.
  3. Combine water, corn syrup and sugar with a wooden spoon or heat-proof rubber spatula in a large saucepan. Stir until sugar is saturated with water.
  4. Bring sugar solution to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, without stirring, until sugar has dissolved and temperature reaches 300°F (149ºC), about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until edges of mixture start to turn a light amber and temperature reaches 320ºF  (160ºC) to 325ºF (163ºC), about 5 minutes.
  5. Once 320ºF  (160ºC) is reached, remove from heat. Carefully pour a quarter of the cream mixture into sugar syrup and swirl to incorporate. (Be careful, mixture will bubble.)
  6. Add remaining cream and butter mixture and stir to incorporate. Return pan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until caramel reaches 240°F (115ºC) for softer caramels or 245ºF (118ºC) for chewier caramels, 5–10 minutes.
  7. Carefully pour caramel into prepared pan; allow caramel to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature, then sprinkle with ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt and let cool until completely solid and cold to touch, 1–2 hours.
  8. Pull edges of parchment paper to release caramel from pan. Cut caramel into ¾-inch-wide strips and then crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
  9. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in microwave at 50% power in 30 second increments.
  10. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over caramels; let cool until set.
  11.  Individually wrap pieces in waxed-paper squares, twisting ends of paper to close. Caramels can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.


Notes

Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Avoid using cream that’s simply labeled “whipping cream” as it might have a lower percentage of fat. For this recipe, your cream should have a minimum of 36% fat content.

Humidity can impact caramel making—I’ve found cool dry days result in the best caramels.

Keywords: homemade caramels, dark chocolate sea salt caramels,

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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