The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Delicious

Zen & the Art of Caramels: a missive from a Vegan-Curious New Yorker

These are the best! Made by the yummiest soul. I tried a fancy caramel the other day at a shop, my friend and I each had a bite of the same piece. These vegan ones kill those fancy non-vegan ones….for real!!! 

I think it is accurate to say I am, at most, vegan-curious. Meeting Alicia last summer was eye-opening in many ways, not the least of which is her absolute love of animals and our planet.

Besides being a huge fan for almost half my life (I mean, who DIDN’T host a Clueless costume-party sleepover?), I’ve always thought she was a cool chick from afar. And performing with her every night, and – even better – sharing a dressing room gave me the privilege of watching her operate up close. We played sisters – and it Felt like we were sisters …. We traded confidences, disgusting jokes, and makeup.

Every Christmas I make up a ton of caramels for family and friends-who-are-like-family. This year, I created a vegan recipe for my new sister, whose love and respect for all animals inspires even the Scroogiest of souls.

Love you, Alicia.

Here it is:

  • 3 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cup Coconut milk
  • 2 tsps. Coconut oil
  • 1 cup Agave
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • Fleur de Sel

You will need:

  • Candy thermometer
  • Medium size pot
  • Parchment-lined or greased 12×15 inch pan
  • Wax paper cut in 4 inch squares.

Yields 90-115, depending on individual size.

Throw all ingredients but the vanilla and salt in a big saucepan. Set heat medium to low.

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 Stir intermittently until it blows up like this:

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Turn the heat down to low. Start babysitting.

Maybe give your hilarious cats some coconut oil they’ve been eyeing.

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Or pose with your husband for a blog:

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But don’t leave that kitchen!!

I like to stick that thermometer in when the spoon feels a little tacky. (A bit over 220.) You can do it sooner.

Every other caramel recipe I’ve read says it takes like 20 minutes. I have found this to be some crazy online person’s pipe dream.

You don’t want it to burn, but you need that heat up.

When it hits 250, count to 5 and take it off the burner! That’s just at the “firm ball” stage.

FYI it will hover a long time at 220 or just a bit over that. Don’t panic! And don’t turn the heat up! Unless you really aren’t getting ANY bubbles without stirring. Then, turn it up a bit.

Stir in the vanilla while the caramel is still in the pot. Mix it in, make those caramels smooooooth.

Pour into a parchment-lined or greased cake pan. I prefer the paper because there is plenty of oil already on those babies!

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Let set overnight or at least a few hours. (I will eventually put them in the fridge if I can’t cut them right away.)

Cut into whatever shape you desire, whatever size.

As you have them lined up and ready to wrap, sprinkle a bit of Fleur de sel, to taste (yes, this is the fun part) on each one.

Challenge: see if you can get them all wrapped without eating like 2 rows.

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Happy New Year!

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***Jennifer Mudge met Alicia Silverstone while doing a play in NYC, where she works and lives with her husband Chris and their raccoon-like cats Foxy and Turtle.  You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @JenniferMudge and for more craft ideas/gifts on Instagram and Twitter @RosineNYC

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  • Jean-Michel Bergeron

    I say it’s time to bring this caramel recipe to the next level

  • starchic

    This looks like a yummy recipe so I’m hoping you can clarify something.
    You photo shows both canned and boxed Coconut Milk. Which should be used or if both, how much of each?

    • RosineNYC

      Hi there!
      Thanks for asking!
      What I personally like to do is a little more complicated than I have listed in the recipe ….
      I put the Goya can in the fridge either overnight or for a few hours UPSIDE DOWN. It will make a nice piece of solid-ish (& creamier) lump….. This is also great to use for whipping cream. I use whatever size “lump” I get, finishing the rest of the measurement with liquid remainders from the can and/or carton.
      Does that make sense?
      It’s SUPER picky but I think it makes for a creamier result…..
      either way is delicious, I promise!
      Happy Holidays!
      Xo
      @RosineNYC (Twitter IG)
      Aka Jennifer Mudge

  • Moya

    These look and sound great Thank you and can’t wait to make them for a Christmas gifts Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!