Gingerbread Caramel Recipe

Candies, Christmas Recipes, Dessert, Holiday Recipes, Seasonal Recipes, Winter Recipes | 11 comments

I love Salted Caramels and I love Gingerbread Cookies. Those are two very necessary Christmas flavors for me. Last week I had the thought that I should combine the two flavors into a new caramel recipe. I bring you: Gingerbread Caramels.

When I first learned how to make caramels a couple of years ago, I was very intimidated. I had many failed batches. Some were too soft to hold their shape as caramels while others were more like hard candy.

In a moment of frustration, I googled something like “why are my caramels turning out like hard candy” or “high altitude caramel,” I finally discovered that I needed to adjust my final temperature due to living at higher than sea level elevation. 

What a difference that made! Now I could make soft, chewy caramels in my own home.

Altitude Adjustments for Homemade Caramels

1. First you will need to find out what your local altitude is. We’ll use my location as an example. We are just over 5,000 ft. elevation.

2. For every 1,000 feet above sea level you will subtract 2 degrees from the target temperature of the recipe. 5,000 divided by 1,000 is 5. I will take 2 degrees off 5 times. Final result 5 x 2 = 10.

3. Subtract the number of degrees you calculated previously from the recipe’s original temperature. In this recipe, the target temperature is 248 degrees F. 248 – 10 degrees for altitude adjustment = 238 degrees F: my new high altitude adjusted temperature for this recipe.

Gingerbread Caramel Recipe

My personal preference is to take the boiling gingerbread caramel mixture off the stove when I see that the thermometer reads 1 or 2 degrees lower than the recipe temperature to ensure that I don’t accidentally in those last few seconds go from chewy caramels to hard candy.

These Gingerbread flavored caramels were a success and hit. My kids love them and my sister says they are addicting. After making a repeat batch to test the recipe again I gifted half of it to friends and Madeline’s Kindergarten teacher to get it out of our house before we ate them all ourselves.

The kids are already asking when we can make them again. As a mother, I always feel that that question is my greatest measure of success.

More Christmas Candy Recipes:

Gingerbread Caramels

Yield: one 9x9 inch pan

Print Save Recipe


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or fleur de sel


Line bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment. (Related: Kitchen Tip: Lining Pans with Parchment)

Bring cream and butter to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

Pre-measure the spices and salt out into a small bowl. Pre-measure the vanilla into another small bowl. You will need to access these ingredients very quickly at the end of the recipe.

Combine the sugar, molasses, and water in a 4 to 5-quart heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until all of the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is a deep amber color.

Turn heat to low. Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up). Return heat to medium to medium-high and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel temperature registers no higher than 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately whisk in the vanilla, salt and spices. Pour into baking pan.

Once the mixture has cooled slightly but is still tacky to the touch, sprinkle the tops very lightly with additional sea salt, if desired. Then, allow the caramels to completely cool before cutting. Remove caramels from pan and cut into 1 inch pieces.


Before you start this project you will also need find out what your elevation is and adjust the temperatures accordingly. For every 1,000 feet above sea level, you will need to subtract 2 degrees. For example, I live at 5,000 ft. above sea level, so I subtract a total of 10 degrees from the target temperature indicated in the recipe.

This recipe does not call for blackstrap molasses.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Kristen - December 10, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Those look so good!


  • 2
    Robin - December 10, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    Now that’s a dessert I can eat. Yes, gingerbread and caramel. Great gift idea.


  • 3
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel - December 10, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    I want these right now! Gingerbread is my faaaavorite this time of year.


  • 4
    Allison - December 11, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    Yes!!! These sound like holiday perfection and I MUST make them this weekend. Perfect recipe!


  • 5
    what katie's baking - December 11, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

    making caramel is hard… this is very helpful and this recipe is awesome!


  • 6
    Jen @ Savory Simple - December 11, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    These sound SO good. I am loving your photos!


  • 7
    Heather - December 18, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    I used blackstrap molasses and the biterness really overwhelmed all of the other flavors in my caramel :( I decided to top them off with some ginger chips to try and bring back some of the ginger flavor, and they just ended up smelling like church incense. I would definitely suggest using a milder molasses!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — December 19th, 2012 @ 10:17 AM

      As the recipe did not indicate that you should use blackstrap molasses, that would be the unfortunate side affect.

  • 8
    Carrie - December 04, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

    I made these last year and found that they were even better covered in chocolate! They were a huge hit in my house. I was just searching for the recipe to make them again this year. Can’t wait!


  • 9
    Heidi - December 14, 2013 @ 9:51 am

    These are so yummy! We loved them! I have been trying to find a treat for my friend who has celiac’s and a bunch of other allergies and these are perfect! Thank you!


  • 10
    Jeff - October 28, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

    These were great! Made with Steen’s Ribbon Cane Syrup for a milder taste. Covered in milk chocolate.


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