Cardamom-Vanilla Caramels

By • January 13, 2010 9 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a variation on the plain vanilla caramels I have been making for years. The best quality ingredients (organic cream, fresh butter, Tahitian vanilla) really do make a difference here. I am obsessed with cardamom and find that it makes these delectable, buttery sweets even more heavenly. Plan to give some of these away or you'll be sorry...gluttonforlife

Serves makes about 250

Cardamom-Infused Cream

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 18 green cardamom pods
  1. Crush cardamom pods with the side of a large, heavy knife.
  2. Combine crushed pods with cream in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep overnight before straining out pods.


  • 4 cups cardamom-infused cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 pound salted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • sea salt, I like Maldon or grey fleur de sel
  1. Spray a half-sheet pan with vegetable-oil spray. Set aside in a spot where it will not be moved.
  2. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine cream and sweetened condensed milk; set aside.
  3. In a heavy 6- to 8-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup, 1 cup water, sugar, cardamom and salt. Clip on candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring with a wooden spoon, 8 to 12 minutes. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals.
  4. Stop stirring, reduce heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250 degrees (hard-ball stage), 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, cook cream mixture over low heat until it is just warm. Do not boil. When sugar reaches 250 degrees, slowly stir in butter and warmed cream mixture, keeping mixture boiling at all times. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage), 55 to 75 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Immediately pour into prepared pan without scraping pot. Once it cools and firms a bit (about 15 minutes) sprinkle the entire surface with a thin layer of salt, very lightly pressing it in with your fingertips. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours without moving.
  6. To cut, unmold caramel from pan onto large cutting board. Cut into 1-by-1 1/4-inch pieces, or other shapes. Wrap each in cellophane or waxed paper.

More Great Recipes: Candy|Desserts|Corn

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Comments (9) Questions (0)


9 months ago Andrea Young

I am a committed cook and will do ridiculous things in order to make a perfect recipe. However, I may have to draw the line at standing at the stove and stirring a pot constantly for 75 minutes straight. Did I read that right? (in Step 4)


over 4 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Yum. Yum. Yum. Love it


almost 5 years ago Madame Sel

Do you have a trick for cutting these? I just made some caramels and had such a hard time cutting them. I used a hot knife but it was still a pain.


almost 5 years ago gluttonforlife

No trick, just a sharp knife and some elbow grease. They should be fairly pliable; if yours are super hard, you may be cooking them too long...


over 5 years ago hope.thurman

This is such a great use of cardamom. During Christmas time, I made granola using cardamom and I've been obsessed with the spice ever since. I'm from northern california originally and there's a bakery called Miette that has fabulous caramels that I eat nonstop. I've got to try these!


over 5 years ago dymnyno

I am definately trying this recipe! (I can't remember what my New Year's resolution was...certainly not giving up sweets)...maybe for lent


over 5 years ago gluttonforlife

Go for it! They are truly DIVINE.


over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm obsessed lately with cardamom too. I'm definitely going to try your version of caramels next time I make them.


over 5 years ago gluttonforlife

Be sure you taste the cream after steeping to make sure it has a pretty strong flavor of cardamom; if not, you can steep longer and/or add a bit more of the ground spice.