Gift-giving season is here, and so is goodie season! Add these Homemade Cardamom-Orange Soft Caramels to your list as a great, homemade gift to pass out during the season (or keep them all to yourself)!
Expectation Alert: These soft caramels are nothing like the candy you pick up at the grocery store, individually wrapped in plastic. Not that there’s anything wrong with them – I love those, too. But these candies are very soft. Soft, and delicious!
The flavors are a bit unexpected but still perfect for the winter season. I’m a cardamom lover, and the added spice mixed with orange is a delight.
I love that these caramels can be wrapped and boxed or bagged to pass out to friends and family during the season. What is nicer than receiving a homemade gift during the holidays? Especially on that tastes so good!
I brought these goodies home to my family over Thanksgiving and they were a hit! I alerted people that these candies are soft, but it didn’t seem to deter anyone.
The recipe I used as my base was from The Kitchn. I tried using a Martha Stewart caramels recipe (twice), but it just did not work. My caramels never firmed up.
You may need to spray your hands lightly with the nonstick cooking spray when you cut and wrap the candy. I cut the candy into narrow rectangles, and ended up rolling them a bit in my hands to form a Tootsie Roll-like shape.
The Kitchn notes in their recipe that you can try to experiment with the quantity of cream you use (less may deliver firmer caramels), but I kept mine as-is. I am definitely making these again, and will try using less cream next time – I have a lot of gifts to deliver this year (sorry for the spoiler, friends).
I hope you’ll give Homemade Cardamom-Orange Soft Caramels a try this season. They are a fun treat with a homemade touch.
Looking for more holiday goodies to keep or give away? Try one of these recipes:
Spicy Pine Nut Brittle
Buttermilk Fudge with Orange & Rosemary
Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Sea Salt
These candies are soft and delicious! They make a great option for gift giving this season!
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- Parchment paper for the pan, and to use to wrap the candy
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with the parchment paper. Make sure there is some hanging over the edges.
- Lightly spray the parchment with the nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small pan, combine the butter, cream, and salt over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat, but keep it near you.
- In a large saucepan (without any heat), combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and cardamom. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until it forms a grainy paste.
- Use a wet pastry brush to wipe any remaining sugar from the sides of the pan (above the mixture level).
- Add a candy thermometer to the large pan. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Do not stir the mixture, but let it come to a boil.
- When the thermometer reaches 300 degrees F., turn off the heat and whisk in the cream mixture.
- Turn the heat back on to medium-high and bring it to a boil, again without stirring. The mixture will turn from a buttery color to a darker color.
- When the temperature reaches 250 degrees F., remove the pan from the heat and quickly whisk in the orange oil.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Don’t scrape the last of the mixture from the pan into the baking dish, as there will be some hard pieces at the bottom.
- Allow the mixture to sit for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
- Remove from the pan using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut the candy into thin rows down, and across, to the size you like. I cut mine into rectangular pieces.
- Cut pieces of parchment paper into squares, longer than the candy. Roll them up in the paper and twist the edges.
- Keep the candy in an airtight container.
These candies are very soft. I recommend wrapping these candies in parchment paper instead of waxed paper to prevent the candy from sticking to the paper.