These easy to make orange flavored CBD caramels have a soft and chewy texture and an unforgettable flavor. I don’t care what anyone says, caramel is the most addictive substance on earth. The combination of the simple ingredients, butter and sugar with perhaps a little salt, is difficult to resist. Consider yourself warned and carefully monitor your intake of these delicious goodies lest you overdo it.
Ingredient Notes for Orange CBD Caramels
I used Joy Organics Orange Flavored Tincture (pictured in photo above) to medicate my recipe. You could also use your favorite unflavored CBD tincture and add a drop or two or Orangic Orange Essential oil to the recipe and get similar results.
I love Joy Organics flavored tinctures because they do use all-natural essential oils with no artificial anything. (I like Joy Organics CBD Products in general for a variety of reasons that I explain in this post.) But if you are an essential oil fan, know you can get a similar result by adding a drop or two of essential oil to recipes along with unflavored CBD tincture. (I am personally a fan of Rocky Mountain Essential Oils.)
You can use light or dark corn syrup in this recipe. Either way it will still taste great, but using dark corn syrup will give a slightly richer caramel flavor and deeper brown color.
When it comes to butter, the recipe will work with any type, but nothing beats a good quality grass-fed butter like Kerrygold, especially in a recipe like this that only takes a few simple ingredients. Since salt and caramel mix beautifully, it doesn’t matter much if your butter is salted or unsalted.
Temperature and Other Marijuana Caramel Making Tips and Troubleshooting
While caramels are not difficult to make, accurate temperature monitoring is essential! This is not so much about fear of burning off your CBD, the temperatures we need to reach are under the danger zone. But it is crucial in order to reach the right candy consistency. For instance, in this recipe where I wanted a soft and chewy caramel, it is important that the boiling syrup reaches a temperature of 245 degrees F. Anything less than that and my candy will likely be runny and not set. Anything more than that it will be firmer and chewier. I like to call caramels of this type "filling pullers" as they tending to really stick to teeth. Let it go another degree or two and you will have a harder consistency, more like toffee. All will be delicious, but if you want a certain consistency, you NEED a candy thermometer!
I had one friend who claimed she used a thermometer and still could not get her caramel's consistency right. I said that's probably because the thermometer was off. Temperature is crucial, so here's how to test your candy thermometer's accuracy before beginning:
- Bring some water to a boil. The thermometer should read 212 degrees F. If your thermometer is off, adjust your recipe temperature up or down accordingly.
Keep Your CBD Caramels Smooth
The other problem that can occur with caramels is the sugar crystallizing. Minimize this by stirring in ingredients carefully so as not to splash on the sides of the pot, where the sugar will be more apt to crystallize. Once all the ingredients are in and incorporated, put a lid on the pot and cook for about a minute, the moisture buildup this will create will help minimize sugar crystallization as well. After a minute, remove the lid and attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot.
Once the ingredients are combined and boiling there is no need to stir again until the mixture comes to the proper temperature. When pouring the caramel mixture into the prepared pan, pour it out but do not scrape the bottom of the pan (or put this on a separate plate as the "cook's reward"). This will also help keep the texture smooth as you can get burnt or crystallized bits on the bottom of the pan, still tasty, but they will interfere with texture.
Prepare with Parchment
Be sure to prepare the pan you will be pouring the hot caramel syrup into by lining it with parchment paper. I saw some internet instructions for making caramels that advised using aluminum foil for this task. Don't do it, it sticks! Trust me I learned the hard way. Parchment paper, on the other hand, worked beautifully and peels right off the candy. The other alternative is to use a silicone pan, which requires no special prep, just pour in the hot caramel mixture and allow to cool.
The more moisture in the air, the more difficult it will be to keep the caramels from getting runny with time. Sometimes this can be a good thing, as in the case of caramels that I let too cook too long that were too chewy to eat. After a few days in the moist seaside San Diego air, their texture was perfect. But a softer caramel would have gone to mush. If you live in a humid climate, keep your caramels under wrap.
Notes on Dosage for CBD Caramels
As with any cannabis recipe, please adjust the dosage to your needs. The most challenging part of cooking with CBD (as with THC) is dosing, but since CBD is non-psychoactive, the effects of too much CBD will not be as intense as too much THC, if they are felt at all.
Too much CBD has no known side effects, nonetheless, too much is not necessarily the most effective therapeutic dose.
According to Martin Lee, director of Project CBD (the web’s best source for credible CBD information) in many cases, less is more. He says that when mixed with THC, far lower doses of CBD are needed, often as little as 2.5 mgs. However, those using a pure CBD isolate or distillate will require a far higher dose.
In all cases, CBD works best in the presence of some THC and the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in whole plant medicine. Some of you reading, however, may not have this option, depending on where you live and what the current laws allow concerning cannabis. The second best option is a full-spectrum high CBD hemp product like those made by Joy Organics.
Everyone’s CBD needs are different and while one person may do well on a low dose of 2.5 milligrams, others will need much more, even up to a gram or more.
Lee suggests taking several small doses over the course of several days instead of one large dose, and then noting how you feel. He also cautions that cannabis is biphasic, meaning that low and high doses can produce opposite effects, so take things slowly to discover your optimal dose range.
As written, each of the 24 candies in this recipe will have about 3 mgs CBD, if you used Joy Organics Orange CBD Tincture. Check the label on your CBD oil to figure the dosage on your candies.
Storing and Wrapping Cannabis Caramels
I store my extra caramels, well wrapped, in the low humidity section of the fridge. They are stable at room temperature but if the temps are warm, they can get too soft. Also, be aware that humidity can affect caramels and make them watery, so the higher the humidity, keep them well under wraps in an airtight container.
These candies are very giftable. I like to wrap the caramels individually. You can cut small squares of waxed paper for this task, or there are a wide variety of precut waxed paper as well as cellophane candy wrappers available. Some are even festively printed like the ones in the photo below. This link will take you to Amazon's wide assortment of candy wrappers. I personally favor waxed paper over cellophane for caramels, but both types of candy wrappers will work.
CBD Caramels: Soft and Chewy Orange CBD Caramels
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup corn syrup light or dark
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 droppers Joy Organics Orange CBD Tincture
- 2 drops organic orange essential oil mixed into your favorite unflavored CBD tincture, see note above
- Lightly oil a 5 -inch X 9 -inch loaf pan, and line the bottom and at least halfway up the sides with parchment paper. Alternately use a silicone loaf pan with no prep needed (see notes above).
- Place half and half in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add butter and heat until butter is melted. Gently stir to combine well.
- Gently stir in corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, and salt until combined. Place lid on the pot and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove lid and attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 245 degrees F then immediately remove from heat and quickly stir in CBD tincture (or tincture and drops of essential oil). Pour mixture into the prepared pan.
- Let stand until cool (place in fridge to hasten the process). Then use parchment paper to remove caramels from pan. Cut into 4 long rows by 6 short rows to make 24 individual candies.
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