You can make a perfectly good caramel without cream. Use your candy thermometer because temperature is critcal. Simply make a mixture of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), and boil until you reach a state jsut between syrup and soft-crack stage. Add a bit of salt and pour into a greased cake pan to cool. Depending on how hot you get it, the caramel will have the soft consistancy found in, say, a caramello bar, or if taken a bit higher, like in a sugar-baby, or Kraft caramel.
You might have to expeiment just a little. You can also add other flavorings. In effect, you are making something between a taffy and a caramel. But it will taste great.
You can also substitute rice-milk, soy-milk, or as posted above, non-dairy creamers for the milk or cream found in regular caramels.
A quick Google search for "non-dairy caramels" gave me a host of recipes.
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