Recipes for both soft caramel candies and caramel sauce combine butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla. The ingredients for caramel candies are boiled to 244 degrees Fahrenheit and then cooled, whereas ingredients for caramel sauce are cooked until they thicken into the desired consistency.
Traditional soft caramel candies require butter, milk, heavy whipping cream, light corn syrup and vanilla, as well as white and brown sugar. The cook combines all ingredients except for vanilla into a heavy 4-quart sauce pan and then heats the pan on a medium setting. The cook then stirs occasionally, cooking until the butter melts and the mixture boils, and removes the pan as soon as the mixture reaches 244 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, the cook stirs in vanilla, spreads the mixture into a buttered 9- by 13-inch pan and allows the candy to cool. Finally, he cuts the mixture into squares, wraps them in plastic and stores them in the refrigerator.
Martha Stewart offers a simple caramel sauce recipe that calls for light brown sugar, unsalted butter, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt. The cook simply mixes the ingredients in a small sauce pan and cooks them over medium heat, stirring the mixture frequently and allowing it to thicken into the preferred consistency. This sauce goes well on ice cream, cakes and other confections.