Every year around Thanksgiving my mother in law makes the most delicious Pumpkin Spice Caramels. They are a great option for a little sweet treat after a big heavy Thanksgiving dinner when you just can’t handle a slice of pie. She usually leaves a big pile of them that sadly vanish too quickly! It’s so easy to walk by the dish of them and just grab a little sweet treat. I am so excited to share this recipe with you!
Can you tell from these photos that these are soft caramels? They literally melt in your mouth! Or at least that’s how I feel because they vanish so quickly. The pumpkin spice in these caramels gives them a nice spiced note to them so that they aren’t overly sweet. The good thing about that is that you can eat a lot of them without feeling that sickly sweet feeling. Or is that a bad thing!?! 😉
I took a caramel making class a few years ago where I learned how important the temperature is when making caramels. If you cook your sugar at a higher temperature (over 300 degrees), then you will end up with darker colored caramels. If you cook your sugar at a lower temperature (around 250 degrees) then you will end up with a lighter colored caramel with more of a taffy like consistency. The amount of cream added will also change the color and consistency to be lighter and softer. These caramels are cooked to 248 degrees and you add in two whole cups of heavy whipping cream. No wonder they are light and buttery in color and consistency! Keep this in mind as you are making caramels. The temperature matters!
One more note about caramel making before you dive into making them. Make sure that you get light corn syrup. This is different from high fructose corn syrup and different than dark corn syrup. “Using light corn syrup prevents the sugar from crystallizing and making the candies grainy.” Using light rather than dark changes the taste and heaviness of the caramels as well. It’s similar to using white sugar rather than brown sugar in a cake.
- 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- Lightly spray 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Leave an overhang so you can pull the caramel out easily. Set aside.
- Combine first four ingredients in a large heavy bottomed pot. Go bigger than you think you need.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. It's very important to scrape off all the sugar from the sides of the pot.
- Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking WITHOUT stirring until it reaches 248°F. This can take anywhere for 20 minutes to an hour. (Make sure you check the accuracy of your candy thermometer beforehand.)
- Remove from heat and stir in salt and pumpkin pie spice.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Let it rest for 12-24 hours before cutting into pieces.
- Wrap caramels in waxed paper to store. Can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature.