After seeing a recipe for Gingerbread Caramels on the back of a recipe that my grandma sent me, I decided to give homemade caramels a try. Unfortunately thr recipe my grandma sent me wasn’t one she intended for me to try as part of the directions were cut off. I found a similar recipe by doing a quick internet search. (It’s amazing how people shared/found new recipes before the invention of the internet.)
I call these caramels ‘Christmas Caramels’ because I can’t decided if they are more gingerbread-like than pumpkin-like or vice versa. They’re spiced. You get the picture.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Caramels recipe.
- 2 c. (1 pint) heavy cream
- 1 c. light corn syrup
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 6 T. (3/4 stick) salted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 c. molasses
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 scant tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- Lightly coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on short sides; spray paper.
- In a large pot over high heat, bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and molasses to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, salt, and spices. Immediately pour onto prepared sheet, without scraping pot. Let stand, uncovered, 24 hours at room temperature (do not move pan).
- Generously coat a large cutting board with cooking spray. Lifting it by the parchment overhang, invert caramel onto the cutting board; use a sharp knife to loosen parchment, and remove.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the slab of caramel into 1 inch-long strips. Cut the strips into approximately two-inch rectangles (or about the size that would allow you to roll/fold the caramel once or twice). Roll/fold the caramel one or two times and then smooth the edges together so that the caramel looks uniform.
- Wrap each caramel in cellophane or waxed paper. Caramels can be stored up to 1 month in airtight containers.
The easiest part about this recipe is boiling the caramel mixture – a task I thought would be daunting at first. I’ve never successfully used a candy thermometer but had no problem doing so this time.
The most tedious part about this recipe was folding the caramel pieces (second only to wrapping them in wax paper). Because of the vegetable oil sprayed on the parchment paper, the little devils kept slipping out of my hands. One squirted from my hands and landed at my neck on the zipper of my sweatshirt!
I found the best way to wrap these was too cut strips of waxed paper about four or five inches long, then cutting the strips in half. Roll up a piece of caramel by placing the caramel pice at one end of the wide side of paper and roll all the way to the other end. With one finger on the seam of the wax paper, twist one end of the waxed paper at the base of the caramel to close. (If you don’t hold the seam down the paper will twist to one side while you twist the ends.) Flip the caramel around and twist the opposite side at the base of the caramel.