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Gingerbread Caramels

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Gingerbread Caramels photo
(c) 2012 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Gingerbread Caramels have all the flavors of classic gingerbread, in caramel candy form. Molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and a heap of other spices give these soft and chewy caramels a warm and homey taste, perfect for the autumn and winter months.

Yield: 2 pounds caramels

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided use
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Preparation:

1. Line an 8x8 pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place the heavy cream and 2 ounces of the butter in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. As soon as it boils, remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a tight-fitting lid to keep it warm. Set it aside for now.

3. Combine the corn syrup, molasses, water, and sugar in a 4-quart saucepan and place the pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover the pan with a lid and let it boil for 4 minutes, so the condensation will wash the sugar crystals from the side of the pan.

4. Remove the lid and insert a candy thermometer. Continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it reaches 300° Fahrenheit (149°C) on the candy thermometer. Once at 300°F, carefully pour the warm cream into the hot sugar syrup. The mixture will bubble and splatter a great deal, and the temperature will drop.

5. Cook the caramel, stirring frequently, until it reaches 250°F. This will give you a soft, chewy caramel. If you prefer firmer caramels, cook the candy to 255°F.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 ounces of butter, the salt, the vanilla extract, and all of the spices. Stir until everything is well-mixed, then pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the pan set at room temperature or in the refrigerator until the caramel is firm.

7. Once firm, lift it from the pan using the foil as handles, and cut it into small squares with a sharp chef's knife. Wrap the caramels individually in waxed paper or cellophane, to help them keep their shape and prevent them from sticking together. Store Gingerbread Caramels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

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