I've been tinkering with the vegan coconut milk caramel recipe and I think I've found a more optimal method. I was inspired by David Lebovitz's caramel recipe.
I opted to separate the sugar/syrup with the rest of the ingredients to get a deeper caramel flavor. Also , I discovered (through the work of a friend) that you need to use LESS earth balance than say if you were to use smart balance because earth balance has a slightly higher fat content. I've altered the original recipe to say so, but I thought I'd point it out here. It still makes a good 60-80 caramels. Plenty to go around! Especially with Valentine's Day coming around. I wrapped some of mine in cute heart cellophane and put it in a monkey gift bag.
2 cups (16 oz) coconut milk
2 cups sugar
4/5 cup margarine (I like earth balance). Note: if you're going to use smart balance use 1 full cup.
tsp of salt (only if using unsalted margarine)
1 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Fleur de Sel for sprinkling.
1. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and grease the parchment with some nonstick spray, oil, or margarine.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat combine the sugar and corn syrup. Using a candy thermometer, monitor the temperature of the sugar and corn syrup. Cook the sugars just until 310 F.
3. While the sugar is caramelizing, heat the coconut milk, margarine, and optional salt until the margarine is completely melted.
4. When the sugar has reached 310, add the coconut milk and margarine. Stir like crazy to combine the sugar and milk/margarine.
5. Bring to a boil and then to 245 degrees (soft ball state). This may take a while. Stir frequently.
6. Pour into parchment lined pan and sprinkle with fleur de sel (make sure to get the edges and corners!).
7. Allow to set overnight and then cut into chunks using kitchen sheers or a good knife. If it's particularly hard to cut, you can heat up the knife edge over the flame of a gas stove. That will help you get a cleaner cut as well. Wrap in wax paper or cellophane and enjoy!