Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Bean Caramels

22 11 2009

I’ve never played with caramelized sugar before, but I’ve been curious about it for a while now. I finally just got the guts, and told myself I needed to try. Worst thing that can happen is burnt caramel, but I’m usually careful to avoid burning.

I was actually a little too careful. I took it out a little early and that resulting in a very soft caramel. Nothing jaw breaking about it at all, which is something that can happen if you leave it simmering for too long. So, I learned a little lesson about candy making, and let me tell you, if these were left a little longer, this would be an amazing candy to give as gifts!! Don’t let my mistake deter you away from this buttery goodness…I promise this caramel is just lovely. I plan on using the soft stuff in another recipe that will be pumpkin-licious!

So, you ask why pumpkin spice? Well, I’m a weird Starbucks customer. I get my Pumpkin Spice drinks with caramel drizzle, and believe me when I tell you that the combination is divine! Oh, and vanilla makes everything taste so much better, so do not skip out on the vanilla bean in this recipe!

I received these complimentary vanilla beans from Marx Foods for a vanilla bean photography contest. While my photography isn’t the best out there, I found this to be a fun challenge, and of course, I’m still hopeful for a win!

Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Bean Caramels
Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. Tahitian vanilla
  • 1 Tahitian vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Fleur de sel
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, then lightly butter the pan.
  • Place cream, butter, vanilla, vanilla bean, spices and fleur de sel in a small saucepan, bring to a boil,  then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.

This is just about the color you want to attain.

  • Remove vanilla bean and carefully stir cream mixture into the caramel (The mixture will bubble up here.) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers about 250°F on thermometer.
  • Pour into baking pan and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Then, sprinkle another pinch or two of fleur de sel over the top of the caramel for a nice salty crunch and let it cool until it’s no longer warm to the touch. Cut into 1-inch pieces (I used a pizza cutter with butter.), and then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.



4 responses

23 11 2009

These sound delicious! I’m still nervous about candy making, too. I need to bite the bullet and make some caramels.

23 11 2009

Yeah, it’s so slow at first, then it goes caramel super quickly and I was just so paranoid about making jaw breaking caramels, that I ended up taking it out a little too early. Lesson learned! 🙂

1 12 2009
Pumpkin Cheesecake « Skinny Food By Amy

[…] topped it with the caramel I made earlier that was a little too soft to be candy, and it ended up being a little too hard to be a topping […]

18 03 2010
The Nifty Foodie » Blog Archive » Pumpkin Cheesecake

[…] topped it with the caramel I made earlier that was a little too soft to be candy, and it ended up being a little too hard to be a topping […]

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