Sugar goes through a heating process until it caramelizes to make caramel candy. Although you cannot make real caramel without sugar, you can substitute your typical sucrose table sugar for sweeteners that have lower glycemic levels and fewer calories. The glycemic index of a sugar determines how quickly it affects your blood sugar levels. Low glycemic foods reduce stress on your digestive system. Agave or maltitol sweetener can serve as a substitute for sugar in a caramel recipe. Agave comes from a cactus plant, while maltitol is a sugar alcohol made from starch. Both have the ability to caramelize when heated, and have lower glycemic levels and calories.
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Heat 1 tbsp. of margarine in a saucepan over medium heat until it melts.
Add ¾ cup of agave to the saucepan. Stir ¼ cup of cream evenly into the agave mixture. Season with a pinch of salt.
Cook the caramel mixture for 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring continuously. Continue to heat your mixture if it is too thin until it reaches the consistency you desire.
Pour your caramel mixture into a glass baking dish and set it aside to cool. Your caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.
Measure out equal portions of whipping cream and maltitol. Put the cream and maltitol into your saucepan.
Heat the mixture on medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the saucepan so that you can monitor the temperature.
Stir your caramel constantly for about 20 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove to use for recipes such as candied apples, or let it cool and thicken.