Gingerbread Caramels – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

These gingerbread caramels are absolutely amazing! All the flavors of gingerbread wrapped in a creamy, chewy, chewy, homemade caramel.

These gingerbread caramels just scream HOLIDAY. And CHRISTMAS. And cozy evenings in flannel pajamas. And DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THE WHOLE BATCH OR THERE WILL BE TROUBLE.

The gingerbread flavors combined with the creamy caramel are absolutely divine. Step by step caramel making tutorial below!

Two gingerbread caramels stacked with the bite taken out of the top caramel.

How to make gingerbread caramels

I know that making candy and caramel at home can be intimidating. But I promise you with all my heart that this recipe is doable!

I’ve given a lot of details on how to make homemade caramels like a rock star in this definitive guide to homemade caramels, but I’ll walk you through the steps here too!

The basis of these gingerbread caramels is my favorite caramel recipe. It’s the only one I still do. I love the method (never burns!) and I love love love the taste.

The recipe begins with boiling the sugar, corn syrup, and water until the mixture turns a light amber color.

The most important thing when making caramels at home is to make sure no sugar crystals get stuck to the sides of the pan (if they fall back into the caramel mixture, the batch may crystallize).

This is easily avoided by brushing the sides of the pan occasionally and as needed with a pastry brush dipped in water. It only takes a few swipes – no need to babysit or worry too much about it!

Once the sugar mixture has reached 325 degrees F, add the warm cream, butter, and salt. It will bubble and splash! And the temperature drops a little. Completely normal!

At this point, the notable addition for gingerbread caramels is to add molasses as well. Regular, unsulphured molasses only (no blackstrap).

The molasses adds a delicious depth of flavor and color.

Pour molasses into the sugar mixture in the pan.

Bring the caramel mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. In the beginning, the bubbles are frothy and thin.

Bubbling golden caramel in saucepan.

As the caramel cooks, the color will darken and the bubbles will get bigger.

Pot filled with amber hot caramel.

Towards the end, the caramel will be thick and swirly and large bubbles will burst on the surface.

Bubbling pan of hot caramel.

The perfect temperature for homemade caramels

Cook the caramel to 244-246 degrees F.

However, the exact temperature actually depends on several factors:

  • Your thermometer (and whether it is accurate / has been calibrated)
  • Your altitude (I live at 2,400 feet altitude)

Here is a post with details on how to calibrate your thermometer and also details on how altitude affects the boiling point of water and what that means for thermometers and candy making. Please read this information and the comments for some helpful information!

Taking the time to calibrate your thermometer will dramatically improve the outcome of your homemade caramels!

I’ve long since abandoned traditional candy thermometers in favor of using an instant-read thermometer with a pan clip to secure it to the side of the pot (or sometimes I just grab it and dip it in the caramel when I know it’s getting close ).

I have this Thermoworks Thermopop thermometer. It’s inexpensive and very accurate.

Thermometer reads 244 degrees.

gingerbread spices

In addition to molasses, this recipe relies on the following ground spices to give these caramels the perfect gingerbread flavor:

  • Ginger
  • Cinammon
  • pimento
  • cloves

Since the spices tend to clump together when stirred into the hot caramel at the end, after many test batches I discovered a handy trick to make sure that doesn’t happen!

Mix the spices with the vanilla extract in a small bowl. This creates a pasty mixture that blends beautifully with the caramel.

No clumping means a very happy Mel!

Pour vanilla and spices into hot caramel.

How to cut homemade caramels

Once the caramels have cooled in the pan, it’s time to cut and wrap!

The easiest and best way to cut homemade caramels is using a table knife {aff. Shortcut}. I carefully peel the whole slab of caramel out of the pan and onto a cutting board.

The caramels can be quickly cut into squares with the table knife.

A gingerbread caramel square on decorated wooden board.

Best wraps for caramels

Gone are the days of cutting wax paper into squares. These pre-cut cellophane wrappers {aff. Shortcut} are a game changer!

They spin (and stay) better than the pre-cut parchment or wax paper sleeves.

Gingerbread caramel wrapped in clear cellophane wrap.

Amazing gingerbread caramels

I don’t bring new caramel flavors into my life by accident. Deciding if a caramel flavor is going to make the cut is a pretty serious process (and I’ve made and rejected many other caramel flavors over the years – Razzleberry I’m looking at you #tasteslikecoughsyrup #gag #nothanks)!

And I can honestly say that these gingerbread caramels have rocketed to the top of my favorite caramel list of all time.

You’re so good.

Warm and cozy, the gingerbread flavors are delicious without being overpowering. They have the perfect caramel flavor this time of year. I love her so much and I hope you do too!

Several gingerbread caramels on white parchment paper with bite out of the top caramel.

A year ago: Overnight Bacon Croissant Breakfast Casserole
Two years ago: Cranberry coffee cake with warm vanilla sauce
Three years ago: Make-Ahead Overnight Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Four years ago: Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee
Five years ago: Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Blossom Cookies
six years ago: Crème Brûlée French Toast Bake Overnight
Seven years ago: Soft eggnog sugar cookies with whipped eggnog frosting
Eight years ago: Amazing Scottish Shortbread
nine years ago: Orange Zested Cranberry White Chocolate Bliss Bars
Ten years ago: Chocolate Shortbread Fingers

Four gingerbread caramels on white parchment paper.

Gingerbread caramels

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon Cinammon
  • teaspoon ground allspice
  • teaspoon Ground carnations
  • cups (530 G) granulated sugar
  • ½ Cup light corn syrup
  • ½ Cup water
  • ½ Cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 6 tablespoon (85 G) butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I use salted butter)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt (use 1/4 teaspoon for table salt)
  • Butter the bottom and sides (even in the corners!) of an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. (Alternatively, you can line parchment paper and butter the parchment—this might make it easier to pull the caramel sheets out of the pan after they’ve cooled to cut and wrap.) Set aside.

  • Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave until steaming. keep warm

  • In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Put aside.

  • For the fudge, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan (at least 5 or 6 liters), being careful not to spill the mixture up the sides of the saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan if you’re using it.

  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, WITHOUT STIRRING or moving the pan. When it starts to boil, fill a cup with water and use a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan to avoid grains of sugar sticking to the sides of the pan (you probably won’t need to repeat this). pages have been cleaned well). This will prevent the caramel mixture from crystallizing in later steps.

  • Cook until the boiling sugar turns a light amber color and registers 325 degrees F on the thermometer, about 15-20 minutes.

  • Slowly and carefully pour the warm cream into the caramel. It’s fizzy and produces lots of vapor! Add molasses, butter and salt. The mixture will bubble up during this step, but will subside after a few minutes.

  • Begin stirring the caramel with a heatproof rubber spatula, being careful to scrape across the bottom of the pan (but avoid scraping the sides of the pan too much). Continue cooking, stirring constantly and slowly, until the mixture is sufficient 244-246 degrees F, about 10-20 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately.

  • Remove from heat, scrape the vanilla and spice mixture into the caramel and stir gently until well combined.

  • Pour the caramel mixture into the prepared pan. Allow the caramels to cool completely at room temperature.

  • Cut the caramel into squares with a sharp knife or scraper. Wrap the caramels and store in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Elevation: I live at about 2,400 feet elevation. This recipe was tested at this altitude. You may need to adjust the temperature and/or reading from your thermometer based on the altitude you live at. Here is an article that talks more about calibrating confectionery thermometers and adjusting the height.
Gingerbread Flavor: For a more pronounced gingerbread flavor, the spices can be doubled.

Portion: 1 caramel, Calories: 86kcal, Carbohydrates: 13G, Protein: 0.2G, Fat: 4G, Saturated Fatty Acids: 3G, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 14mg, Fiber: 0.01G, Sugar: 13G

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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