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Gingerbread Caramels

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Heady with ginger, clove, and nutmeg, these gingerbread caramels make sweet stocking stuffers and party favors. See Caramel-Filled Cones for the how-to. Caramels should be individually wrapped in cellophane or waxed paper to prevent them from sticking to one another.

  • Yield: Makes about 12 1/2 dozen

Photography: Sang An

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2007

Ingredients

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 4 cups (2 pints) heavy cream
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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. Cut into 1-by-1 1/4-inch pieces. Wrap each in cellophane or waxed paper.

Cook's Notes

Caramels can be stored up to 1 month in airtight containers.

Reviews Add a comment

  • cmtorie
    27 DEC, 2016
    I have made this every year since it was published, love it! Makes amazing gifts. I have none of the problems I've read here. I've used parchment that I cut, then this year (thanks Amazon) I ordered cellophane caramel wrappers. Both worked like a dream. I've never had mine be brittle...but that can only be because you have over cooked it. Be sure to calibrate your candy thermometer and make sure it isn't sitting directly on the bottom of the pan. As for the clumping spices, sprinkle don't dump.
    Reply
  • helvetica123
    20 DEC, 2012
    This recipe didn't work that great for me. When I went to stir in the spices, they all clumped up like crazy and I had to whisk like a maniac, and still the finished product had clumps of ground clove in it, gross! Next time I would stir the spices in sooner.
    Reply
  • kyz23
    22 DEC, 2010
    I just made these today and they are AMAZING!!! So yummy! Mine are still pretty soft but they taste so good! I dont know if i'll actually have any left to wrap because we keep picking at them!!! So easy to make as well and very unique!
    Reply
  • Rosie2000
    14 NOV, 2010
    This will be the third Christmas I will have made these for gifts. Everyone raves about them, and they are already asking if I plan on sharing this year!
    Reply
  • blondchef
    14 DEC, 2008
    This recipe is a nice holiday variation on the standard caramel candy. I was concerned when reading the directions that you should let it cool overnight. I cut the candy after about an hour because I could tell that overnight it would be hard as a rock. It took much longer than 20 minutes to reach 248. I've given to many friends as gifts and have received rave reviews. I also used regular salted butter, then cut back the added salt to just under 1/2 tsp. I used kitchen shears sprayed with PAM to make cutting a breeze. Very time consuming to wrap though. It made about 200 caramels 1"x3/4" in size.
    Reply
  • bonnoslobbo
    5 DEC, 2008
    YES, test your candy thermometer! After getting two batches of peanut brittle too dark, I tested mine (using the boiling water method described above) and found it was SEVEN degrees off! Made the adjustment for the next two batches and they were perfect. I wouldn't even TRY candy making without a thermometer. I've had too many failures!
    Reply
  • MS10498747
    18 NOV, 2008
    Use a really BIG pot when cooking. My largest was not big enough and I had to pour some out and cook separately. These were done in 20-25 minutes and while seemingly hard in the pan and when cutting, they are the perfect texture when eating. However, next time I will double the spices and perhaps add a touch of cayenne for pep(as I do with my gingersnaps!). These caramels do not have a strong gingerbread flavor to me. They are tasty, though!
    Reply
  • MS10498747
    18 NOV, 2008
    Use a really BIG pot when cooking. My largest was not big enough and I had to pour some out and cook separately. These were done in 20-25 minutes and while seemingly hard in the pan and when cutting, they are the perfect texture when eating. However, next time I will double the spices and perhaps add a touch of cayenne for pep(as I do with my gingersnaps!). These caramels do not have a strong gingerbread flavor to me. They are tasty, though!
    Reply
  • MS10498747
    18 NOV, 2008
    Use a really BIG POT when you make these - my largest was not big enough. Mine cooked in about 25 minutes and while they seem hard in the pan when cutting, they are perfect for chewing. Do not be deceived! However, the next time I make them I will double the spices and maybe add a touch of cayenne for zing (I do that with my gingersnaps). These don't have a strong gingerbread flavor to me - but still delicious!
    Reply
  • Digigirl
    7 AUG, 2008
    Mine worked as per the recipe, about 20-25 minutes to reach 248 degrees. I think it needs a couple more degrees, because it is a little too soft. Be sure to stir the spices in VERY well - I dumped in
    Reply