Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Seed Caramels are filled with autumn’s best flavors. Dry-roasted pumpkin seeds give them the perfect salty bite!
Of all the caramel recipes I’ve made over the years, this one ranks high. It could be my new favorite of all time. Maple syrup and bourbon give the caramels complex flavor, and pumpkin seeds deliver just the right amount of salt and crunch.
After passing these out to friends and family, someone asked if they could purchase more!
I still know people who are hesitant to delve into homemade caramel-making. There’s no magic involved, but you will need a trusty candy thermometer and a big pot. To begin, you’ll put all of the caramel ingredients in the big pot and place it over medium heat.
I’ve been using a digital probe thermometer for caramel making since 2009. I like that it has an alarm that beeps when the bubbling pot is at the right temperature. I get distracted easily and beeping things help me. Whatever version you use, place the probe in the pot while it’s still cool enough to touch.
When the butter is melted, stir everything together and then leave it alone! It will take quite a while to get things bubbling up to temperature. When the mixture starts to bubble, you can usually count on it taking 20 minutes more to reach 248-250 degrees.
While you wait for the caramel to come to temperature, butter a 13×9 baking dish, or line it with parchment like I did. I recommend the latter because you can get the candy out of the pan easier. This is also a great time to cut 5×5 squares of waxed paper. You’ll need a bunch for wrapping the caramels! I use pinking shears to cut the paper, so it has a pretty zigzag edge.
Carefully pour the cooked caramel in the pan and immediately sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds.
Chill the pan in the refrigerator until the caramel is firm. Cut the caramel slab into pieces while it’s still cold for the neatest slices.
These candies would make lovely Thanksgiving favors for dinner guests, and that’s exactly what I’m planning to do for this year’s take-home treat. I hope you’ll give them a try, and if you do, let me know what you think!
Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Seed Caramels
- 13×9 inch dish
- 1 cup 226g unsalted butter
- 2 cups 400g granulated sugar
- 1 cup 225g light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup 240ml light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup 175ml evaporated milk
- 1 2/3 cup 400nl heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup 120ml pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup 120ml bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 10 oz. bag dry roasted salted pumpkin seeds (shelled)
- Grease a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment sheets that overhang all four sides of the pan (the cooking spray will help hold the paper in place).
- In a large cooking pot, stir together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, milk, cream and maple syrup. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot or insert the probe of a digital thermometer into the mixture. Set the pot over medium heat and stir until the butter is melted and all ingredients are mixed. Bring the mixture to a bubble.
- When the mixture is consistently bubbling, allow the candy to cook without stirring for about 20 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 248-250°F. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon and salt. Be careful! The mixture will bubble and sputter with the bourbon addition. Stir well until the salt and bourbon are well incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and immediately sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds. Let cool 10 minutes and then refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours. Lift the firm caramel block out of the pan with the overhanging parchment. Cut into pieces and wrap individually in waxed paper squares.
- Candies will keep at room temperature for up to one week. Refrigerate for longevity, about 8-10 days.