Just in case caramels weren’t good enough on their own I decided to go ahead and make them with one of my favourite Christmas flavours – gingerbread. I had never made caramels before and found them to be easy enough. The recipe below is from one of my favourite websites The Kitchn.com, they provide excellent instructions to make soft caramels and also offer ideas for alternations to the recipe
The caramels I made turned out really really well and makes about 32.
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
You’ll also need
8×8 baking dish (or similar size)
Instant-read thermometer or candy thermometer
Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment so that excess paper hangs over the edges. Spray the parchment and the sides of the pan with nonstick spray.
Over medium heat, warm the cream, butter, and salt in the 2-quart saucepan until
the butter melts. Remove from heat, but keep the pan close by.
In the larger 4-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and water. Stir until the sugar is evenly moistened and you form a thick grainy paste. Wipe down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush so there are no sugar crystals above the surface of the sugar mixture. Clip the instant-read thermometer to the side of the pan so that the heat sensor is immersed in the sugar. Do not stir the sugar after this point.
Note: The large saucepan is necessary because the sugar will bubble up and triple in size when you add the cream. Do not substitute a smaller pan.
Place the pot with the sugar mixture over medium to medium-high heat. Let the sugar syrup come to a boil without stirring. At first, you will see small bubbles around the edge of the pan, which will eventually move inward. Around 250°F, the sugar syrup will turn transparent and boil rapidly. Around 320°F, the syrup will darken slightly and smell caramel-like. You can proceed to the next step any time after the syrup reaches 250°F and before it reaches 325°F.
Note: If your instant-read thermometer isn’t quite submerged into the sugar, you may need to tilt the pan to get an accurate reading. Simply tilt the pan by the handle until the thermometer is submerged a few inches in the sugar syrup. If the syrup hasn’t reached 250°, wipe down the sides with a pastry brush again. If it has, there’s no need.
Turn off the heat under the sugar syrup. Slowly pour the warm cream and butter mixture into the sugar syrup while whisking the sugar syrup gently. The sugar syrup will bubble up and triple in size. Stop whisking once all the milk and butter mixture has been added.
Return the pan to medium to medium-high heat. Let the caramel come to a boil without stirring. It will start off as a soft buttery yellow and eventually darken to reddish-brown caramel. Remove from heat when the caramel reaches 245°F to 250°F.
Quickly whisk in the vanilla long with the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg into the caramel.
Immediately pour the caramels into the mold. Do not scrape the pan (there are sometimes hard burnt bits on the bottom). Knock the filled pan against the counter a few times to help air bubbles work their way out.
Leave the caramels somewhere out of the way to set, for at least two hours or (ideally) overnight. Once the caramels have cooled to room temperature, you can cover the pan.
When the caramels have set, lift them out of the pan by the parchment paper flaps and onto a cutting board. Cut the caramels into candies with a very sharp knife. If the caramels stick to your knife, spray your knife with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut squares of wax paper a little longer than your caramels. Wrap each caramel in wax paper and twist the ends closed. Caramels will keep at room temperature for about two weeks.