Russian Caramel

Is it too soon for me to mention the C word? No, not the rude C word. I mean Christmas! I think it’s about to get all Christmassy around here very, very soon and I can’t wait. I heard the first Christmas song of the season on the radio the other day. A little early you might say, but everyone one in my office loved it! Christmas decorations are just going up in the shops and mince pies and Christmas puddings have popped up on more than a few shelves around town.

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Because Halloween wasn’t a thing when I was growing up in ’90s Australia, and Thanksgiving is an American tradition, I’m jingling all the way towards Christmas right now. There are no holiday obstacles standing in my way; I’ve jumped on the highway straight to Christmas. Yippeee!

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Today’s recipe makes a perfect Christmas gift, but is also great to nibble on throughout the holiday season. It’s called Russian Caramel and it sounds fancy, but it’s actually pretty easy. I’ll admit that I failed at making this recipe three out of five times, but not because the recipe is hard. The first two times were because my mum had given me some dodgy info regarding the type of sugar I needed to use. The third time I failed was just because I was so afraid after my first two failures that I undercooked it quite significantly. Once I got my sugar type and timings right though, it was a cinch!

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Despite the name, Russian Caramel seems to actually be an Australian recipe. I can’t find much on the history of it, but all the recipes online are on Aussie sites, so I’m leaning in that direction. I would describe it is as a grainy, crumbly fudge. It’s not meant to be chewy like taffy and it’s not meant to be soft like fudge, but it’s not meant to be tooth-breakingly hard like toffee either. It’s the perfect medium. It’s definitely hard to touch, but crumbles in your mouth. I made some for Iain’s parents, who are Scottish, and they said it tasted just like something called ‘tablet.’ I’ve never had tablet before, but the recipes do look similar, so to all my Scottish friends, it is similar to tablet!

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Wrap a few squares up in little cellophane parcels and you’ve got a perfect, budget-friendly holiday gift for friends, family and neighbours to enjoy. Or you can hide it away in a dark corner of your cupboard, far from any little hungry fingers, and keep it as a treat for only you to enjoy.

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Russian Caramel | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Russian Caramel

  • Servings: 36 squares
  • Print

Prep Time: 5 minutes + cooling
Cooking Time: 20 minutes


15g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 (397g) can condensed milk


  1. Grease or line a 21cm square cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once boiling, continue cooking over low heat for 17-20 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is dark golden brown, clinging to your wooden spoon and coming away from the sides of the pan. It may start to cling to your spoon and come away sooner, but keep cooking until the colour darkens, otherwise you will end up with chewy lollies/sweets/candy.
  3. Pour into prepared pan. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then use a knife to score into 6 rows of 6 pieces. Leave overnight to set fully, then remove from pan and snap along scored lines to break into pieces.



  1. These look yummy! I’ve never heard of Russian caramels (or “tablet”) before, but I’m sure it’ll be fun to make. I was just wondering to myself this morning when it will be socially acceptable for me to start listening to Christmas music – glad I’m not the only one already wanting to get into the holiday spirit!

  2. Michelle - Flour and Aprons · · Reply

    Sounds Aussie – we’ll claim it!! Love anything caramel.

  3. Is it so vital to have the caster sugar?

    1. Hi Gill, I’ve tried this recipe with brown sugar and it didn’t work at all. I’d say granulated/white sugar would probably produce pretty similar results, though I haven’t tried it personally. I’d love to hear how you go if you do try it.

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