What will you learn in this article?
- What is Caramel?
- Is Caramel Vegan?
- 100% Vegan Sugar Brands!
- How to make Easy Vegan Caramel at Home?
- The REAL DEAL Vegan Caramel Slice/ Millionaires Shortbread – NO Nuts or dates (Caramel Recipe)
Caramel and Veganism
When we all begin our vegan journey, excited to enhance our overall health and lifestyle, there are obvious foods that we cut off.
Particularly anything that contains meat or involves the killing or exploitation of animals.
However, as we gain more discipline, we move to things we may have taken for granted in the past.
We raise questions like, “Is Caramel Vegan?”
This snippet from Google trends justify the growing curiosity among vegans :
The short answer is in general NO.
The average caramels tend to be loaded with butter and heavy cream.
It is not uncommon for the average mass-produced product to also contain a lot of additives, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients with unrecognizable names that may contain dairy.
Given that the full-blown vegan does not do dairy it can be a nightmare.
Well before you click back and give up there is good news however and it is the only reason we have taken time to do a comprehensive article.
Toward the end of this article, you would be able to make vegan caramel.
However, as vegans chose to be aware of what they eat we will need to define in simpler terms what caramel is.
We will also include a list of vegan brands that will help you to make your own vegan caramel sauce at home.
WHAT IS CARAMEL?
You have probably seen it as a crème mouthwatering layer sometimes fused with chocolate to laminate a crispy wafer bar.
Perhaps sometimes as a golden-brown liquid drizzled on top of a layered cake, toffee apples, and ultimately as a cornerstone ingredient for many treats you may have enjoyed before becoming vegan.
Caramel is basically sugar that has been cooked until it browns, or ‘caramelizes.’
When the sugar heats up, it eventually melts and darkens into a semi-bronze syrup. The result of this is the development of complex flavors.
So in essence, what may begin as a light-and-white, sweet-tasting, crystalline substance eventually morphs into an increasingly savory, thick-and-black liquid (with many stops along the way).
IS CARAMEL VEGAN?
Now that we have established that caramel is molten sugar, the question, “is caramel vegan” should rather be posed as “is sugar vegan?”.
In general, a lot of regular household sugar is not vegan, although we are beginning to see alternatives on the market.
In general, in order for white sugar to adapt its color, it has to undergo a complex industrial refinery process that tends to involve the usage of bone char.
This means that although it is certainly not directly an animal product, it’s not vegan. The bone char may involve the exploitation of animals.
This also applies to brown sugar, powdered sugar and extends to raw sugar. They are all derivatives of refined white sugar.
The good news however is some sugar manufacturers are certified vegan, it may be ideal to check the PETA website for those brands.
However, for your convenience, I have decided to make a list of some vegan sugar brands you may look at so that you never miss out on the brilliance of caramel whilst taking this vegan journey.
WHICH SUGAR BRANDS ARE 100% VEGAN
Trader Joe’s has always been known to provide PETA-certified vegan products like dairy-free dark chocolate, sunflower seed butter cups, and chili & lime-flavored rolled corn tortilla chips. Check out the prices here.
All of these tasty treats are a living demonstration to confirm that food doesn’t need the flesh, milk, or any other part of an animal in order to taste good or be nutritious.
This brand offers a spectrum of vegan-friendly sugars from your basic cane and powered varieties to scan and coconut palm sugar. Check out the prices here.
No bone char, just natural sweetness. Their coarse turbinado sugar has a natural amber color and works perfectly on cobblers, crisps, Bettys, grunts, and streusels. The name is certainly self-explanatory. Check out the prices here.
This is a Germany-based corporation, however, thanks to online retailers you can order it from practically any geographic location. Check out the prices here.
Florida Crystals vegan sugar is a raw sugar company that makes standard white and brown sugars, but we tend to reach for their vegan brand. This coarse, golden brown sugar adds a hint of molasses and is perfect stirred into tea or baked goods. Check out the prices here.
HOW TO MAKE AN EASY VEGAN CARAMEL AT HOME?
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 2 whole dates (pitted // finely chopped) 1 1/4 cup coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, DIVIDED
- 3/4 cup of a PETA certified sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
Add the arrowroot starch, dates, and 3/4 cup coconut cream or milk to a blender. (180 ml // as the recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size // it will be about 2/3 the total amount).
Blend on high until creamy and smooth. If it has difficulty blending, add more coconut milk or cream.
As an alternative, if you don’t have a small enough blender, you may get away with whisking coconut cream and arrowroot starch together, and finely chop/smash your dates and add them in.
To a small saucepan, add coconut sugar or any PETA-certified vegan sugar.
Pour the mixture on top. Heat everything over moderate heat and whisk or stir as it gradually settles to a low simmer.
If the caramel is visibly glossy and deep golden brown, it is ready.
It does not have to boil and only needs to cook for 2-4 minutes total.
Remove saucepan from heat and add remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml // as the recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) coconut milk or cream as well as salt and (optional) vanilla. Stir to combine.
Taste it and adjust flavor as needed, do not hesitate to add a pinch of salt for saltiness or vanilla for that aromatic flavor it gives and perhaps coconut cream for a lighter color and more coconut flavor.
Allow it time to slightly cool down. You may then transfer it to your favored glass jar to let it completely cool before covering it.
Store it in a refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Feel free to reheat in a microwave or place the jar in a saucepan with 2-3 inches of simmering water until warmed through.
However, the sauce is also pourable and delicious directly from the refrigerator!
Please note that if for some reason your caramel sauce isn’t smooth and creamy and has little date pieces, once it’s cooled completely, you can add it to a high-speed blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. I didn’t find this necessary, but it will depend on the equipment you use.
The REAL DEAL Vegan Caramel Slice/ Millionaires Shortbread – NO Nuts or dates
Here is the video to make it easy for you:
For information on other foods you are not sure about in your vegan journey please check our list of articles so that you can know which foods are vegan and which foods are not.