Combine coconut milk, syrup, sugar, vanilla, and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer, whisking every couple minutes until this happens, then turn the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer for 12 minutes. Continue to whisk every couple minutes as it simmers. The sauce will thicken slightly during this time but will remain rather liquidy.
Line the bottoms and sides of a 7"x5" glass dish such as a Pyrex container with parchment paper. Pour the caramel into the parchment-lined dish and smooth. Follow the directions below depending on whether you want to make caramel chews or caramel fudge.
For Caramel Chews:pan> Freeze for at least 4 hours until semi-firm. The caramel should be soft enough that you can roll it into a ball in your hands without it sticking to your hands. Roll it into a traditional log shape for the most appealing look. If wrapping in parchment paper, wrap loosely and freeze until ready to serve. Instruct any recipients to do the same or the caramel with soften too much to unwrap nicely. pan>
For Caramel Fudge (my favorite!): Freeze overnight to allow the fudge to firm up completely. Slice into squares (it's rich, so the smaller the better) and serve directly from the freezer. pan>
Store in the freezer until ready to serve for best texture.