Soft Rum Caramels

Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Soft Rum Caramels are perfect treats for the holiday season! These soft and chewy caramel candies are made even more delicious with a subtle hint of rum. It’s almost like enjoying a buttered rum cocktail… But in a bite of homemade candy! 

*This recipe is sponsored by Dixie Crystals. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site possible!*

Soft Rum Caramels

This holiday season, don’t bring cookies to the cookie exchange… Surprise everyone with these Soft Rum Caramels! They’re easy to make homemade candies that are deceptively impressive. While they are individually wrapped and pretty to present, they come together with simple ingredients and easy to follow steps. 

They’re so soft and chewy! You know how so many store-bought caramel candies are hard and end up hurting your teeth? You don’t need to worry about that here. This recipe yields caramels that are sturdy enough to hold their shape, but soft enough to very easily chew… And keep chewing, because you won’t be able to have just one. 

Homemade caramels wrapped in wax paper.

What Do These Taste Like?

Besides the obvious sweet caramel flavor, there’s also some buttery rum notes happening with this candy! If you have ever had a buttered rum cocktail, imagine that in a bite size chewy candy!

The butter and heavy cream work in tandem to create the signature consistency, but the butter also really impacts the flavor as well. What also really stands out is the rum. It’s just a light note of it, but it’s enough to make these caramels a step above the others. 

Ingredients in bowls on a tabletop.

WHAT’S IN THIS RECIPE?

You only need a handful of ingredients that you likely already have to make this homemade Christmas candy recipe!

  • Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar: I always use my favorite Dixie Crystals sugar!
  • Light Corn Syrup 
  • Kosher Salt: Avoid iodized salt, as it will lend too much of a salty flavor to this sweet candy. Coarse (kosher) salt helps develop the other flavors instead of overpowering them.
  • Butter: It needs to be unsalted and cubed. 
  • Heavy Cream: Do NOT substitute this with any other dairy or non-dairy product! 
  • Rum Extract: This is what adds the rum flavor, but you can also use a different extract like vanilla, maple, almond, etc.

Equipment Needed:

  • Large Sauce Pan
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Parchment Paper or Wax Paper
  • 9×9 Square Baking Pan

HOW TO MAKE SOFT RUM CARAMELS

Sometimes, making homemade candy can be a little nerve wracking. Don’t be afraid! This recipe is pretty foolproof. Just make sure you have a candy thermometer! 

  • Prepare. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper. 
  • Stir and heat. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a pot over medium-high heat. Stir continuously to make sure the sugar melts and to avoid burning. 
  • Make it creamy. Once the mixture starts gently bubbling, slowly stir in the heavy cream. You don’t want the mixture to stop bubbling, so do this part very slowly. 
  • Add butter. Once the heavy cream is fully incorporated, stir in the butter. 
  • Remove from heat. Keep stirring and watch the thermometer. Once it reads 245°F, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the rum extract. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
  • Cool. Let the pan sit undisturbed and uncovered for a few hours at room temperature so it can harden. 
  • Cut and wrap. Once the caramel is hardened, cooled, and set up, it’s time to have fun! Remove the caramel from the pan, cut it into squares, wrap it in wax paper, and enjoy. 
Caramel being cut into squares on parchment paper.

TIPS AND VARIATIONS

  • Omit the rum extract: Here’s the deal. I LOVE the subtle rum flavor in these caramels. However, if it’s not your favorite flavor, you can swap that splash of extract with vanilla instead. 
  • Swap the extract for another flavor: Maple Caramels?
  • Add salt: Some flaky sea salt sprinkled on top is always delicious and decadent! Salty and sweet is one of my favorite combinations!
  • Dip them in chocolate: You can also dip each caramel in melted chocolate and let it harden.
  • Give it time to cool: If you try to slice into the caramel while it’s still warm, you’ll end up with a literal hot mess on your hands! I know it may take some patience, but giving the caramel a few hours to fully cool and set up is the best way to ensure you’ll have clean squares. 
  • Butter your knife: Speaking of clean cut squares, your knife matters! Use a nice sharp knife to cut through these candies and butter it. By rubbing a little butter on each side of the blade, it helps to prevent the caramels from sticking to it as they’re sliced. 

DO I HAVE TO USE A CANDY THERMOMETER?

YES. Do not try to make these homemade caramels (and so many other candies) without a trusty candy thermometer. Once the caramel reaches 245°F, it must be removed from the heat or it will over cook and not be any good. You also can’t under cook it. When making caramels, you must be exact, and that can only happen if you have your thermometer. 

WHAT OTHER CHRISTMAS CANDY Recipes CAN I MAKE?

The sky’s the limit! As far as I’m concerned, the holidays are candy season. This year, I’ll be handing out these Soft Rum Caramels in little gift bags along with Sponge Candy and Christmas Crack. Here are a few more of my favorite holiday candy recipes:

Soft rum caramels wrapped with parchment paper in a bowl.

STORING SOFT RUM CARAMELS

When wrapped in their wax papers, these Christmas candies will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks! No need to refrigerate them. In fact, they’ll harden up in the fridge. Feel free to keep them stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place. 

These candies are so perfect for handing out around Christmas time because you can make them so far in advance, and they keep so well. They’re the best little gifts! 

Yield: 42 Caramel Squares

Soft Rum Caramels

Caramels stacked on top of each other with a bite taken out of one.

Soft Rum Caramels are perfect treats for the holiday season! These soft and chewy caramel candies are made even more delicious with a subtle hint of rum. It’s almost like enjoying a buttered rum cocktail… But in a bite of homemade candy!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add parchment paper to a 9x9 pan and set it aside. 
  2. In a high-sided pot over medium-high heat, add granulated sugar, light corn syrup, and kosher salt.
  3. Stir the mixture to help dissolve the sugar into the corn syrup. Make sure to keep slowly stirring as you do not want any hot spots in the pan to burn the sugars. 
  4. Once the mixture starts to gently bubble, and the granulated sugar has dissolved, VERY SLOWLY drizzle in the heavy creamy while continually stirring. You do not want the mixture to stop bubbling, so you must drizzle this cold heavy creamy in very slowly.
  5. When all the heavy cream has been added, add in the butter while continually stirring. 
  6. Continue gently stirring, until the mixture has reached 245°F, on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. 
  7. Once the mixture has reached 245°F, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the rum extract. Immediately pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan. 
  8. Let it sit on the counter for a few hours to set up and slightly harden. 
  9. Once cooled and caramel is set up, remove the parchment from the pan, cut the caramel into squares, wrap it in wax paper, and enjoy! 

Notes

Storage: When wrapped in their wax papers, these Christmas candies will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks! No need to refrigerate them. In fact, they’ll harden up in the fridge. Feel free to keep them stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

42

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

Categories

More Holiday Dessert Recipes

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Comments

4 Responses
  1. Kacy

    If you want to make them maple flavored as suggested is there a maple extract you can use or would maple syrup work?

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      Hi Kacy! Maple extract is the best way. Real maple syrup is not a concentrated enough flavor and would make the caramels soup-y. So if you want them maple flavored, just swap out the rum extract for maple extract! :-)

  2. Kacy

    If we were substituting the rum extract for another flavor like maple or vanilla would we still use the same amount of flavor to the caramels? Also should the butter be room temperature or cold when added to the mixture?

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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