Pumpkin Spice Caramels

November 27, 2013 — Leave a comment


These caramels turned out even better than I had imagined. They are smooth and chewy. The pumpkin purée and spices give them a rich flavor that is perfect for autumn. I love the roasted flavor of the pepitas. They were so delicious that I had to give them away to avoid the temptation of eating too many. 

Candy making can be a little tricky. It seems like there are so many opportunities for failure. I did some research on making a caramel recipe that is as foolproof as possible. I found some helpful posts on a few websites. This post by the Kitchn was really helpful. It gives a lot of tips for making perfect caramel. I followed their guidance and cooked the initial sugar mixture to a higher temperature, 305 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out this post by Inspired Taste for more good information about caramel making.


Pumpkin Spice Caramels

Adapted from Food52


  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Roast the pumpkin seeds until they darken in color and begin to pop.
  2. Prepare an 8″ square glass baking dish by lining the bottom and two sides with parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides. Place the pepitas in the bottom of your baking dish.
  3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, pumpkin puree, vanilla and spices and warm it over low heat. You’ll want these ingredients to be warm when you add them to the sugar. If you add them while they are cold, the caramel could seize.
  4. Add the sugar and syrups to a large saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat. As the mixture is heating, resist the urge to stir it. Your caramel will be smoother this way. To avoid grainy caramel, make sure that all the grains of sugar have dissolved. To do this, dip a pastry brush in water and wipe along the inside of the saucepan.
  5. Continue heating the sugar until it reaches 305 degrees Fahrenheit. When it arrives at temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the pumpkin, spice and cream mixture. It will bubble up but keep stirring.
  6. Put the pan back over the heat and heat until your candy thermometer reads 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir the mixture while you heat it, especially as it reaches 225 degrees. This will take 15-20 minutes but watch it carefully as the temperature tends to rise more quickly at the end.
  7. Stir in the butter and lemon juice. Keep stirring until the butter is completely melted. Pour the caramel into your baking dish and let it set for at least two hours.
  8. I was able to remove my caramel from the baking dish by dipping it in a warm water bath and loosening the edges with a warm knife. Use a warm knife to slice the caramel. Store the caramel in an airtight container. I ended up with 49 pieces. 



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