These Autumn Caramels are like a little bite of fall! They're the perfect caramel texture--soft, chewy, and lusciously buttery without sticking in your teeth. They also have a wonderful balance of spices that makes me think of all of my favorite autumn desserts.
How do they achieve this fall flavor? Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice are all infused into the cream that goes into the caramels. So rather than having a sharp, overwhelming flavor, these caramels have a mellow spiciness that permeates every bite. If you don't have the whole spices called for in the recipe, you can add a pinch of the ground spices to the cream instead. They tend to be stronger, so start with 1/4 tsp of each so that you don't end up with caramels that are too spicy.
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves, crushed
- 1 whole allspice, crushed
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 16 fl oz (2 cups) heavy cream
- 4 fl oz (1/2 cup) sweetened condensed milk
- 16 fl oz (2 cups) light corn syrup
- 4 fl oz (1/2 cup) water
- 14 oz (2 cups) granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) softened butter, cut into small cubes
1. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cream, and condensed milk in a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm and become infused with the flavor of the spices, but do not bring it to a boil.
3. In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, granulated sugar, and salt over medium-high heat.
Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy.
4. Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 degrees F (121 C).
5. Add the softened butter chunks to the caramel, then pour the warm milk-cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the caramel. The temperature of the caramel should go down about 30 degrees.
6. Continue to cook the caramel, stirring frequently so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244 F (118 C), and the caramel is a beautiful golden brown color.
7. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour it into the prepared pan. Do not scrape any candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture, or in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
8. When you are ready to cut the caramel, lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating 1” squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary.
9. To serve, I recommend you individually wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting. Alternately, you can dip them in chocolate once they are cut.
10. Store the caramels at room temperature for up to two weeks.