salted coconut caramels recipe

In amongst the flurry of packing last week, Ada had her last day of Kindy. It was a big day as any mother knows, my baby is all grown up and ready to start pre-primary next year! Far out.
As a little token of my appreciation for all the hard work her teachers have put in this year, I made up a few little gift bags containing a version of these cookies and a handful of home made salted coconut caramels. 

When I think back to Christmas as a kid, along with the memories of Hawkes Bay cherries by the boxful from my Great Aunty June, water pistols fights on the lawn and Nana-naps after lunch, are the evocative memories of big bags of Mackintosh lollies! It was the only time we were allowed to eat lollies freely and although it's been years since I've eaten one I still remember my favourites being the yellow; eggs and cream and harrogate, followed by the blue; malt and pink; coconut. The last one being my inspiration for today's recipe.

Soft, buttery, chewy, slightly salty, definitely sweet these caramels make the perfect festive gift. I'm sure everyone has already got their Christmas presents sorted (well mostly? Started at least?) but should you find yourself with a spare hour and the desire to play around with hot sugar and butter these are an awesome little project to undertake, especially in the quiet hours of night after the kids are tucked up in bed dreaming about what Santa may bring...

I'll be back sometime after Christmas but until then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Hope you have a good one, also if you haven't already done so leave a comment here to go in the draw to win a copy of the Martha Goes Green calendar, I'll draw Christmas day and announce the winner in my next post Xx emm

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salted coconut caramels
We tolerate butter and cream in small amounts now, but if you don't, you might like to try this out using lactose-free cream (available everywhere here in Australia but not so sure back home in NZ?) and dairy-free margarine. No guarantees in will work as I haven't tried it myself, but might be worth a shot? Coconut cream cannot be used in place of regular in this recipe, it separates when heated. I used reduced salt butter for this recipe and added 1 teaspoon sea salt, if you use unsalted butter I'd use the full 2 teaspoons and if you use regular I'd use 3/4-1 teaspoon. Mine could have been slightly more salty. You could always sprinkle a little more flaked sea salt on the top before wrapping if desired.
makes 60-65

  • 2 1/2 cups organic raw sugar
  • 600ml cream
  • 125g butter
  • 1-2 teaspoon fine sea salt *see above
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup (unsweetened) desiccated coconut
  • melted butter, to grease

Line a 18x28cm rimmed slice tin (aka brownie pan) with aluminum foil (tin foil) and grease generously with melted butter, making sure the aluminum foil comes up and over the sides. Place the tin onto a folded tea towel and set aside (the tin will get really hot once the caramel is poured in, so the tea towel will protect any kitchen surfaces from damage and make it easier for you if you need to move it).

Combine sugar, cream, butter, salt and cream of tartar in a large saucepan (note the large pan, the mixture does boil up and over if your pan is too small, I know). Stir over med-low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat, bring to the boil and boil without stirring for about 20-25 minutes or until the temperature reaches 122 C/ 250F on a candy thermometer.

Remove from the heat, add coconut and swirl the pan to roughly distribute. Pour mixture into the foil-lined tin leaving behind any dark solids in the bottom of the pan. Set aside for 4 hours or until set.

Lift the caramel from the tin using the aluminum foil for help. Use a oiled knife to cut into small logs. If the caramel is still really sticky (like it gets on a hot summers day in Perth!) simply pop it in the fridge to firm up slightly for 10-20 minutes before cutting. I cut mine into roughly 2.5 cm x 2cm logs. Wrap in cellophane. If you live somewhere hot, store in the fridge until serving/giving away.

Recipe linked to:
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-free

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  • Reply
    paula @ podand3peas
    December 21, 2011 at 2:43 am

    my favs were the other way around, malt and coconut first !! and if there was a box of roses chocs around then the fudge ones were mine, all mine 🙂

    happy christmas to you and your gang x

  • Reply
    vicki greetis
    December 21, 2011 at 5:02 am


  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 5:14 am

    haha yes Paula the fudge chocolate were mine too 😉

  • Reply
    Laura Friendly
    December 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Sounds delicious! A soy creamer might do the trick (to make these delights dairy-free as well). I may have to give these a go!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    How much fun. I book marked it for future use. We're heading out of town in a couple of days to head home for Christmas, and in the effort to not pack a bunch of stuff on the plane we really had to make tough decisions. Not making the caramel this very minute is a TOUGH decision!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    They look fabulous, I can just imagine the yummy texture with the coconut. Have a fabulous Christmas, Alli x

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Food Doodles
    December 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Mmm, these look incredible! I love making caramels but never put coconut in mine. I can't wait to try 😀

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    December 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Yummo! Perfect for nibbling on while the kids are in bed- cause I don't want to share!
    Merry Christmas sweetie!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Same to you everyone! xx
    Laura @ Laura friendly, we don't have soy creamer here in Aussie that I know of. I've never seen it before, but do let me know if you make these with it and it works out 🙂

  • Reply
    Cass @foodmyfriend
    December 22, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I bet those teachers were happy! I've been making nougat, cookies and gingerbread houses. PHEW, Christmas is a busy time!

  • Reply
    Being Julia
    December 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    When do you find the time?

  • Reply
    December 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Egg Cream Mackintoshes all the way! I always hated malt, but Harrogate was the worst of all (I think we pronounced it "haggerty" because we couldn't quite say the word properly). Mint and coconut were quite acceptable 🙂

    Lucky teachers – I'm sure the caramels will be appreciated. I love how old-fashioned they look in their twists of cellophane.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2011 at 12:54 am

    @being Julia~ I'm actually not sure! I've been staying up WAY too late at night lately…

  • Reply
    Kat Smith
    December 23, 2011 at 3:44 am

    It certainly was a delicious bag of goodies!!! Thanks so much for going to all the effort you did 🙂 I wiss certainly miss Ada next year 🙁 Merry Christmas to you and yours xo


  • Reply
    December 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Haha loved your little added comment Kat 😉 was meant to be will not miss though! Glad it's not just me that spells things wrong. Merry Christmas xx

  • Reply
    Janet NZ
    December 24, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Mackintoshes! I had almost forgotten about those!!
    Have a lovely Christmas Emm – I hope Santa is kind to you all XO

  • Reply
    Jennifer (Delicieux)
    December 25, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Ahhh the memories. I loved those Mackintosh lollies. We were allowed to have them at Christmas each year. I loved the malt and the mint ones.

    Your coconut caramels look so deliciously perfect. Such a beautiful treat for the teachers.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Mmmm Mackintosh toffee's the Bathgates sprinkle them through the presents under the tree yum! I made your recipe along with peppermint bark and my own cherry almond choc bars as giftee's they are going down a treat into many a tum as I type :)xx

  • Reply
    December 27, 2011 at 12:40 am

    You are the best Emma Galloway, one day when I'm an old lady, in the not too distant future, am hoping to try a recipe or two a week. At this stage just still drooling!!Hope you guys have had a great Christmas with your mango trees.Love to you all…..

  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Looks so good! I love your site! You have great recipes. My son can't have dairy/gluten… I would love to have you visit me at Shay

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