You know it’s Christmastime when my counters are covered with containers of confections. My mom made candy when I was a kid and when I was a newlywed (and we were both newly laid off) I decided to make confection boxes for family and friends since we didn’t have money to buy presents. I think everyone enjoyed them more than any gift we could have given so the tradition stuck. I love giving something that shows I put some time into the gift, and I don’t worry about whether or not it’s something they’ll use or want.
(By the reactions I get when I deliver them I know they don’t go uneaten!)
These were a new addition last year and I absolutely love them. Something about the warm gingerbread spices just make candy taste extra “Christmasy”! 🙂
GINGERBREAD SPICED CARAMELS
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan and set aside. (line with parchment paper if desired, greasing that as well). For thicker, use a 9 inch square pan. I find a 9 by 13 inch pan is just right though.
Place the cream, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and stop stirring. Clip a candy thermometer onto the pot ant cook to 248 degrees F. (firm ball stage). This should take around 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the spices, salt, and extract.
Pour into prepared pan and cool for a couple hours.
Cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a month.
Recipe adapted from “Gingerbread” by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn