Caramel making has that danger element to it as the molten mixture bubbles and boils in the pot. When it first comes to a boil, it seems as if it might boil right over which is a little terrifying but keep stirring and it will all be fine. The first time I made these they were good, but not spicy enough, and I had pockets of spice that weren't incorporated so I've remedied this by stirring the spices together beforehand and then mixing them in thoroughly once it comes to temperature.
I can say with confidence that these are some of the best caramels I've ever had.
For about 12 dozen:
- 2 pints heavy cream
- 2 cups light corn syrup
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Coat a 12x17 rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line it with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang on the short sides of the sheet. Lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray.
In a large pot over high heat, add the heavy cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and molasses, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high, stirring frequently, allowing it to reach a temperature of 248 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, stir together the salt and spices in a small bowl. As soon as the caramel reaches 248 degrees, take it off the heat and stir in the spices and vanilla carefully as it might spatter a bit. Stir the caramel continuously for 30 seconds to incorporate the spices into it, making sure there aren't any pockets of spice hiding. Pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet. Martha says not to scrape the pot--I scrape the pot and things always turn out fine. Allow the caramel to set for 24 hours without moving it.
Place a large cutting board over the baking sheet and flip it over. Peel the parchment off of the caramel and discard. With a large sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch wide strips and then cut each strip into bite-sized pieces. Cut wax paper into approximately 3x3 squares and wrap each caramel in it. The caramels will keep for at least a month.