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Millie’s Caramels Blends Local Ingredients for Tasty Treats

Local caramel maker Jill McNamara takes the art of caramel-making very seriously. This 31-year-old serial entrepreneur is a successful photographer by day and creator of sweet treats by night, and well, day. McNamara has launched Millie’s Caramels with a name that pays homage to her late grandmother and creations sure to please even the most fastidious caramel lover.

Millie’s Caramels and confections are sold at the Astor House in Phoenix, Urban Table at JAM and various Farmers’ Markets around the Valley each month. More information about sales locations is available online at www.milliescaramels.com. Orders may be placed online as well.

“It’s important to me to use as many local ingredients in my creations as possible,” said McNamara. “I use local dairy, peanut butter, honey, lemons and am constantly seeking new local providers.”

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Millie’s Caramel sells an array of inventive caramel flavors including: Salted Vanilla Bean, Bourbon Pecan, Rosemary & Black Pepper, Peanut Butter & Honey, Espresso, Spicy Chili, Lemon, Maple Brown Sugar and Ginger & Toasted Coconut. Caramels are sold in packages of 8 for $9.

Millie’s also sells a line of confections including Caramel on Rosemary & Black Pepper Shortbread, Orange Zest Caramel on Orange and Almond Shortbread, Chewy Brownies with Salted Vanilla Bean Shortbread, Bourbon and Dark Chocolate “Tipsy Turtle” and a “Tropical Turtle” that features Ginger Caramel, Dark Chocolate and Toasted Coconut. Confections are sold in packages of 4 for $14.

“My passion is to make traditional caramels a little more modern and fun with intriguing flavor combinations,” said McNamara.

Chocolate Chip Caramel-Filled Cookies 

1 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp whole ground vanilla bean
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 18 piece bag of Millie’s Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt, and set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and light, then add sugars and beat until creamy, about three minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla to combine.

3. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of the bowl. Once mixed, stir in the chocolate chips by hand with a wooden spoon.

4. Scoop up a tablespoon of dough and flatten into a disc. Cut a piece of caramel in half and press both pieces together gently to slightly flatten. Put on top of the first bit of dough, then top with a second flattened tablespoon of dough. Gently press the dough ball to seal around the caramel.

5. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, or until the centers are set and the edges are golden and lightly crisped. Allow the cookies to cool in the pan about 2 minutes before moving to wire racks to finish cooling.

Founded in 2013 by Jill McNamara Millie’s Caramels is a local confectionary that sells variety of caramels and baked goods at shops and farmers’ markets across the Valley. For more information or to order online, visit www.milliescaramels.com.