Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramels

October  4, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Sophia Pappas. Food Stylist: Lauren Lapenna.
  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes about 50 caramels
Author Notes

I know it's easy to hate on pumpkin spice lattes, but let's be real—we all secretly love the combo of warm spices with bitter coffee. There’s actually no pumpkin in pumpkin spice. (Whoa!) It’s just the spices traditionally added to pumpkin pie, like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. And even if you aren’t a fan of the drink, it’s humanly impossible to resist these cozy, chewy caramels.

Making caramel doesn't have to be scary. Just keep these pointers in mind. Get the right hardware: Use a heavy-bottomed pot that's high and tight. A wider pot makes it harder for the sugar to melt evenly, with more surface area for unwanted crystallization (aka messed-up caramel). Know when to stir: In the beginning, stir with a fork to dissolve any sugar clumps and to force yourself to make small movements. This will minimize the amount of syrup that gets splashed on the walls of the pot, which could lead to crystallization. Keep it covered: Once the sugar mostly dissolves, put a lid on it! The steam from the syrup will condense on the lid and roll down the walls of the pan, washing away any rogue sugar crystals without the need for a pastry brush or any work on your part.

Treat this recipe as a guide to learn more about caramel. Then go off script! Steep different aromatics in the cream to change up the flavor: sage or thyme, black tea or lavender, bay leaf or ancho chile. Add ½ cup more cream to make a caramel sauce instead. Cook the caramel to 250°F to 255°F for the perfect consistency to coat apples. Try different toppings, like chopped nuts, dried rose petals, or cocoa powder.

Let me know in the comments what caramel flavors you want in your life. Wanna keep it classic? Try my Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel recipe here.
Sohla El-Waylly

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramels
  • 1 cup (227 grams) heavy cream, plus more if needed
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, split in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, cracked into large pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups (297 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (68 grams) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons freeze-dried instant coffee or espresso granules
  1. In a medium saucepan (preferably one with straight sides and a tight-fitting lid), combine the cream, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover and turn off the heat. Let steep in the fridge for at least 8 hours or, preferably, up to 3 days.
  2. Strain the spiced cream into a measuring cup and top off with more cream if needed to yield 1 cup. Discard the solids. Wash and dry the saucepan.
  3. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter and line the bottom and two sides with one long piece of parchment paper, smoothing the parchment flush to the pan.
  4. In the cleaned saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and ½ cup water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring with a fork, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook until just beginning to brown (it’s okay to peek every so often), 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Once the mixture is beginning to brown, remove the lid and cook, swirling the pan as needed to cook evenly, until completely golden, like honey, 1 to 2 more minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat. Carefully pour in the spiced cream and butter (be careful, it will sputter and steam). Return to medium-high heat, clip on a candy thermometer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reads between 245°F and 250°F, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the thermometer, and stir in the salt.
  8. Pour the caramel into the prepared dish and smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula or spoon. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour, until set but still slightly soft and flexible. (This is the best time to add toppings without them sinking in.)
  9. In a spice grinder, blitz the freeze-dried coffee until fine. Using a fine-mesh strainer, dust the surface of the caramel with coffee powder.
  10. Run an offset spatula along the edges to loosen the caramel. Use the side parchment overhang to lift the caramel and transfer to a cutting board.
  11. Using a sharp, greased knife, cut the caramel in half lengthwise. Starting at the long side, roll up each portion into a 13-inch log (not unlike a really long hot dog). Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until cold and firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into ½ inch pieces. (If the caramel feels too hard to slice, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften slightly.) Wrap each caramel in parchment or wax paper (or stack in an airtight container with parchment between each layer) and store in the refrigerator or a cool place for up to 1 month.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • roxannejoncas
  • Suzy
  • Alex
  • precious1
Sohla El-Waylly is a Food52 Resident, sharing new riffable recipes every month that'll help you get creative in the kitchen. Watch her cook on YouTube in her new series, Off-Script With Sohla. Before she started developing fun recipes for home cooks, she worked as a chef in N.Y.C. and L.A., briefly owning a restaurant in Brooklyn with her husband and fellow chef, Ham El-Waylly. She lives in the East Village with Ham, their two dogs, and cat. Find out what else she's up to on Instagram @sohlae

4 Reviews

Suzy October 16, 2022
I've made this recipe twice, once the way she made them, rolled to get the coffee swirl and the next time I made them in silicone square molds. I recommend the mold as it is less messy and easier to wrap for gifting.
Alex November 26, 2021
It took way way longer for my caramel to get up to temperature. Once it did it seemed perfect though - they are cooling now. Also, that part of the directions is a little unclear - is this suggesting it takes 2-4 minutes to get up to temp or is it saying once you get to temp hold the caramel there for 2-4 minutes?
precious1 October 18, 2021
I thought I did everything right, but my caramel turned out super greasy. I used high quality European butter, weighed all ingredients and was careful not to add too much butter to the pan lining. Still, after cutting when I gently pressed the rolls together for better shape, fat seeped out. The caramels are still super tasty. I might try again using less butter.
roxannejoncas October 13, 2021
This recipe was great! I had a hard time finding corn/glucose syrup in Germany, so I made my usual Sucre à la crème recipe but with infused pumpkin spice creme—Delicious! 🎃 Maybe next time popcorn flavour 🍿(Hopefully it won't be too subtle of a flavour.)