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Caramel for Cookies

Use this recipe to make Congo Bars, Golden Popcorn Squares, and Pecan Caramel Shortbread. It can easily be halved or doubled.

  • Yield: Makes 3 3/4 cups
Caramel for Cookies

Source: Holiday Cookies 2001, Special Issue 2001


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Combine sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and 1/3 cup water in a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan, with sides at least 3 inches high. Place over high heat. Let cook, without stirring, until sugar begins to melt and turn golden, 2 to 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until all sugar is melted, deep golden, and a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees.(hard-crack stage). While stirring, carefully pour cream slowly down the side of the pan (stand back slightly from the stove, as the cream may cause the caramel to sputter). When cream is incorporated, remove from heat; transfer to a heat-proof bowl. Use immediately.

Reviews (3)

  • dorrity 12 May, 2011

    As an aside, these aren't the traditional Congo Bars (which are a version of a Blondie bar) but rather use graham crackers for the base. To make them really extraordinary, try making your own graham crackers to use in this recipe. It really makes all the difference.

  • JBest78 18 Feb, 2008

    Although I haven't made these, I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It would seem that if the caramel recipe is saying to cook it to hard-crack stage and then the popcorn square recipe instructs to bake for 20 minutes that it would be hard as a rock. Perhaps someone from MSL needs to give some advice on this.

  • ajperry 13 Dec, 2007

    Please help! I've tried this recipe unsuccessfully 5 times for the "golden popcorn squares" - it comes out hard as a rock

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