These spiced caramels are probably easier to make than you might imagine but taste incredibly impressive. Salty-sweet, chewy yet creamy, and perfectly spiced with garam masala–they make a stunning gift, too.
These spiced caramels are sinfully easy to make but really impressive when finished. The garam masala and vanilla bean add depth of flavor, and of course, the salty-sweet combo is delicious. Homemade confections are so much fun when you’re entertaining.–Aliya LeeKong
LC OGM Note
OGM. No, we don’t mean OMG. We mean OGM. As in, “Oh, garam masala.” Because that’s what’s responsible for the sweetly earthy loveliness in these moan-inducing spiced caramels. It’s one of those things where once you tasted it, you’re overwhelmed. If you’ll excuse us, we have sticky fingers, so we’re going to stop gushing (and awkwardly typing) and go back to indulging.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into cubes, plus more for the pan
- 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- Flaky or coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (or, for thinner caramels, a 9-by-13-inch baking dish) with foil or parchment paper and butter the foil or paper.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream, butter, vanilla bean and seeds, table salt, and garam masala to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully fish out the vanilla bean.
- In a large saucepan, heat the honey and sugar over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 280°F (138°C), stirring just in the beginning with a heatproof spatula. Brush down the sugar on the sides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush.
- When the sugar mixture reaches the designated temperature, carefully strain the heavy cream mixture into it. Stand back, as the ingredients will bubble and spatter. Continue to cook until it reaches 250°F (121°C).
- Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and cool at room temperature for a half hour. Transfer to the fridge, uncovered, for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Transfer the cooled caramel to a cutting board, using the foil or paper to help release the caramel from the pan. Sprinkle the slab of caramel with the salt. Cut as desired. (If it’s been in the fridge longer than 2 hours, you may need to let it come closer to room temperature before you’ll be able to cut them. Store the caramels individually wrapped or spaced apart (they tend to stick together!) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Oh. My. Goodness. I made this spiced caramels recipe thinking they’d make a lovely gift for friends and family at the holidays, but there weren’t enough—we couldn’t stop eating them! These are perfectly spiced, sweetened, and salted—the balance of flavors is perfection. I don’t know that a 9-by-5-inch pan is really the best vessel for these. I found better cooling times and cuts in a 9-by-13-inch pan, but I think it really depends on how you plan to store them. We did long rectangular cuts and rolled them in candy foil, which we then stuck inside an airtight jar. The rolling took a long time, but it wasn’t difficult. These caramels were easy to make, easy to roll, and will be a staple in our household once we get past our current sugar rush!
Originally published November 28, 2014