Amazing Cinnamon Caramels

If I told you that upon finding one of these cinnamon caramels that had somehow fallen behind the nutella jar in my pantry (don’t ask why I was that close to the nutella jar) two weeks after I had made them and without thinking I picked up that beautiful, and slightly wrinkly, caramel and ate it without a second thought and savored the gloriousness of it’s buttery, cinnamony, chewy deliciousness…well, if I told you that, would it adequately convince you of how insanely delicious these babies are or simply gross you out?

If it’s the latter, just pretend like you didn’t just read that first paragraph.

Amazing Cinnamon Caramels

Seriously, I’ve never had anything quite like these. They are honestly the most delectable little caramels in all the land. You get the rich chewiness of the caramel with the slight heat of the cinnamon. It’s like a cinnamon bear but a hundred times better. Dip it in chocolate? A cinnamon bear on some serious steroids.

My friend Lisa told me about these last year in the comments of my black licorice caramels (also amazing) and I waited all year to try them so I didn’t ostracize myself and lose all my friends by doing something weird like making caramels in June. I’ve made up for the lack of cinnamon caramels in my life by making at least four batches in the last several weeks.

Amazing Cinnamon Caramels

They are severely delicious on their own but you might as well try a few dipped in chocolate. It’s a simple process that will elicit fabulous results. I’ve unloaded lots of pounds of cinnamon caramels on lots of people lately and they are getting lots of rave review. One bite and there’s an element of “hmmm, what is this pleasantly and weirdly sweet hot caramel thing I just bit into” followed by a “oh, yeah, baby, cinnamon and caramel; I’m hooked.” You know, those kind of rave reviews.

If you are wanting a step-by-step tutorial for the caramel, follow the pictures in this recipe (it’s the same recipe except for omitting the vanilla and adding the cinnamon and red coloring at the end). I’m pretty sure if you’re looking for the holiday recipe to win you fame and fortune (or at the very least, lots of friends), it’s going to be these. Don’t wait like I did, make ’em soon.

Also, stay tuned tomorrow for two video tips that will make dipping anything and everything in chocolate easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Amazing Cinnamon Caramels

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Two Years Ago: White Chipper Chocolate Cookies
Three Years Ago: Chile Lime Popcorn

Cinnamon Caramels {Chocolate Dipped If You Dare}

Yield: Makes 3 or so dozen caramels, depending on the size you cut them

Cinnamon Caramels {Chocolate Dipped If You Dare}

If you want to avoid using red food coloring, you can leave it out - the food coloring doesn't make it taste any more or less cinnamony. I use the Wilton no-taste red food coloring gel. About the cinnamon flavor, I used this extract that I bought (has great reviews) on Amazon since I couldn't find it at my small local grocery store. Using the amount in the recipe, the caramels are pleasantly cinnamony without being spicy or hot. Add more cinnamon extract if you want to amp up the cinnamon flavor. Also, if you are using cinnamon oil instead of cinnamon extract, add with care - it's much, much more potent than cinnamon extract.

Here's a quick video tip on tempering/melting chocolate and another on dipping things in chocolate like a pro.

FYI: My preferred brand of chocolate is Ghirardelli.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided (meaning, you'll add half at the beginning and half later)
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon extract
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring gel (see note above)

Directions

  1. Butter an 8X8-inch pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, salt, corn syrup, sugar and 1 cup of the cream. Over low heat, warm the ingredients until the butter is melted. Gently stirring during this part is ok to help combine the ingredients - just take care not to stir too vigorously and splash the liquid high up on the sides of the pan; also, take care to use low heat for this step. Too high of heat can cause the ingredients to melt unevenly and cause the butter to separate.
  3. Once the ingredients are warmed and melted, increase the heat to medium-low (I keep my stovetop dial between a 3 and 4 the entire time; each stove is different so just keep an eye on the heat). Because these are no-stir caramels, too high of heat will burn the ingredients on the bottom. Moderate the heat of your stove so that the mixture maintains a simmer without burning. If you turn down the heat and the caramel stops simmering, simply increase the heat little by little until a good simmer is reached and then leave it there. You'll be good to go.
  4. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 236 degrees F. Pour in the remaining 1 cup cream. Gently swirl the caramel once or twice with a wooden spoon or spatula to incorporate.
  5. Again, bring the mixture to a simmer (don't adjust the heat to sharply - I keep mine set the same as before) and cook until the thermometer registers 245 degrees F.
  6. Off the heat, carefully stir in the cinnamon and red food coloring.
  7. Immediately pour the caramel into the prepared pan - don't scrape the sides, just tip the pan until no more drizzles out. Let the pan of caramels cool completely at room temperature before cutting into pieces.
  8. To dip into chocolate, melt milk, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate in the microwave on 50% power for 1-minute increments or in a double boiler on the stove. Simply drop a caramel into the chocolate, lift out once full covered with a fork, tap on the side of the bowl to let the excess chocolate drip off and then carefully slide onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once the chocolate has set, you can drizzle additional chocolate over the top for a nice pattern.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/cinnamon-caramels-chocolate-dipped-if-you-dare/

Recipe Source: adapted from my favorite foolproof, no-stir caramel recipe after my friend Lisa C. gave me the fabulous idea

57 Responses to Cinnamon Caramels {Chocolate Dipped If You Dare}

  1. Sheila says:

    What a creative and different idea! They look and sound delicious. And you would definitely get the “wow factor” placing these on the table at Christmas. You produce such excellent results, Mel. These look like they are right out of a Sarris box.

  2. Susanj says:

    These look amazing! I love cinnamon bears and can’t wait to try these out soon.
    Your chocolate dipped ones look beautiful.

  3. Wow, Mel! You never cease to amaze me! These sound so fantastic, that I know I can’t let this week pass without making them! They have crawled into my brain space, and I have to make them to get them out!

  4. Heather P. says:

    Oh, these sound divine! I will be making these soon! Thanks for always sharing such wonderful recipes 🙂

  5. Wow, I can’t get over the bright red color of these! I’d totally have to dip all of mine in chocolate!

  6. I’ve never tried a cinnamon caramel…and certainly not one that’s hot red! What an unexpected color surprise when you bite into them! These look wonderful and your chocolate dipping is about as close to perfection as you can get…really beautiful!

  7. Lauren says:

    I have tried a couple of your caramel recipes, and they have all turned out great! I am curious though – if you had a ‘the best’ category for caramels, which would make the cut? I am having trouble keeping track of them all 🙂 in a good way!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lauren – I’ve fallen in love with the no-stir recipe I posted a few weeks back and think that’s the best one to go with (these cinnamon caramels are an adaptation of it).

      • Danielle says:

        Hi Mel!
        I am really wanting to make all of your caramels this year and dip them in chocolate at a dipping party I’m having. Do you think there is an easy way to use just one of the recipes as a base and then add the different flavorings at the end? Thank you! You are the best!

  8. Wow! These caramels look so beautiful! I haven’t mastered making caramels before but seeing this recipe motivates me to make some. Beautiful color for the holidays.

  9. Peggy says:

    Back in the day, I used to make tons of rock candy and I used oils for the flavoring which I purchased at the drug store. I’m sure you can get them at specialty candy stores too. Drug store is closer.

    Since they are more intense than an extract, I wonder what the substitution would be?

  10. Lindsey R says:

    After a search for knowledge, it looks like you would divide the amount of extract by four to get the amount of oil needed. 3 tsp divide by 4, so guess work 3/4 tsp of cinnamon oil. I am planning on making today if kids don’t change my plans. Let you curious folk know how it turns out. Or not!

  11. Peggy says:

    Thanks so much! I hate to buy a big ol’ bottle of something if I only need a bit.

  12. sarita says:

    I’m making these right now! It’s not the first time I’ve rushed to the store to buy ingredients after reading one of your recipes. It looks like there is a small linear design on top of the red caramels that aren’t dipped in chocolate. How did you create that? Thanks, Mel!

  13. Wow, I would love those! I love cinnamon candies, those sound amazing. Also, I can’t wait for your chocolate dipping tips – I’m always absolutely in awe of how perfect your dipped treats look!

  14. Lindsey R says:

    Okay, I tried this with cinnamon oil. I have LorAnn Oils brand. I started out with 3/4 tsp and after sampling added another 3/4 tsp to caramel while it was still hot. So total of 1 1/2 tsp. I am not sure, but I suspect LorAnn brand is less potent than other brands out there. You can always start small, throw a spoonful of caramel in cold water, sample, and add more if needed before the caramel sets. Good luck oil fans!

  15. Natalie says:

    Oh my goodness, how I wish that I was one of your nearby friends who you shared these with!! 🙂 They look amazing!!

  16. Amy W. says:

    I am so bummed after a trip to the store tonight left me without cinnamon extract or oil!! I am going to have to keep searching because I think these are going to be my next happy place… 😉 thanks, Mel! You’re a doll!

  17. Paris says:

    Do you think I could get away with using a different extract flavor, like strawberry, and it still coming out okay?

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm, you’d definitely have to experiment. I’m not familiar with other fruity extracts and how they would play with the caramel flavor.

  18. Jamie says:

    You are officially my hero! Chocolate covered cinnamon bears are my weakness and since moving overseas I have been craving them like crazy, I have a feeling these will definitely hit the spot! Thanks for sharing, and for changing my life 😉

  19. Amy W. says:

    I haven’t ever attempted making caramels before, but Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has the most incredible raspberry caramels… And my favorite shake flavor is strawberry caramel- so, I think that a fruity extract with these would be fabulous! Thanks for the idea, Paris!

  20. Annalisa says:

    Do you have a candy thermometer that you recommend? I feel like I go through a new one every year during the holidays! I can’t wait to make these!!

  21. Esther says:

    These look fabulous! I’m going to make them for my grandmother for Christmas. Question: Can I use liquid food coloring?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried it with liquid food coloring but I’m guessing it will work – you’ll need to add it until it gets to the right color (not sure how much to tell you, sorry!).

  22. Chris says:

    I’ve made lemon caramels before and they are good too.

  23. Peggy says:

    Wouldn’t fruity flavors be similar to flavored tootsie rolls? I loved the grape flavor.

  24. Wow, these are so unique!! I love this idea!! That spicy cinnamon is my fave. These are awesome for the holidays but they’d also be great for Valentine’s day!!

  25. Grace says:

    do you have to adjust the temperature for altitude at all when making candy/caramels?
    thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Grace! There are several websites online instructing to do a boiling water test with your candy thermometer and adult for altitude. I think this may help if you live at extreme altitudes but I’ve lived as close as 100 sea level and now at about 2,700 feet and I don’t adjust at all. If your caramels and other candies are turning out overcooked and you live at high altitude it’s probably worth doing the boiling water test and adjusting.

  26. Sarah says:

    Hi! I love reading your blog and am trying out these cinnamon caramels as I write this. I have a question – how would you store these? And do you know how long they’ll last before getting hard? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sarah – I store them in a tupperware-type container separating the layers with sheets of parchment paper and covering really well. I actually had a batch of these sit out on my counter for over three weeks (long story, I was planning on shooting a video showing how to dip them and kept pushing them off). Disgustingly, Brian, my husband, ate one after all that time and convinced me to try a piece and I was surprised they still tasted ok. Definitely not like the first couple days but still decent. Basically, I think you can store them well-covered for up to a week and be fine.

  27. alyssa says:

    so since living back east for almost two years, I (along with my cute hubby) have MISSED chocolate covered cinnamon bears that Winco sells in the bulk section. Eat some for me/us. I’m heading to the store to seek out cinnamon extract. The brand that you recommended is currently out of stock on Amazon, darn!!
    thanks for another great recipe!

  28. Leslie says:

    What kind of candy thermometer do you use? I’m shopping for one but don’t want to end up with one that doesn’t work well.

  29. Suzanne says:

    Just in case anyone is wondering, white chocolate covered cinnamon bears are to die for and I can only imagine these would be amazing white 🙂

  30. nicolehawkesford says:

    I tried making these but my caramel would not set anywhere near enough to cut blocks from them or to be able to dip in chocolate. Any ideas what went wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Nicole – it sounds like the caramel was undercooked. Did you use a cooking thermometer? If so, it may need to be calibrated to see if it cooks a bit too low.

  31. Becca says:

    Super loved these!! I’m a super cinnamon and caramel fan! So I used my straight up cinnamon bark essential oil, (since I live in Hawaii and absolutely couldn’t find either of those other options @the store) anyway, I think I used about 5 drops maybe? I did a couple, dropped some caramel in cold water so I could taste it and then added a few more. Just thought I’d add in case a curious reader had some on hand.
    They turned out super delicious!! Thanks Mel!

  32. fmandds says:

    Have you ever tried doubling the recipe? I want to make enough to share with 75 employees but was hoping to get away with not making batch after batch.

    • Mel says:

      Yes! I double the recipe all the time. It takes longer to come to temperature (and be sure to use a really large pot so it doesn’t overflow at the beginning stages when it foams and bubbles more); but otherwise works great.

  33. trish says:

    Abount how long does it take to make these, start to finish?

    • Mel says:

      If you are aggressive with the heat (just be careful not to burn) probably 45 minutes to an hour. If you are playing it safe with low heat, maybe upwards of 2 hours (not counting time to let the caramels cool).

  34. Pauline says:

    I found the extract at Sur La Table.

  35. Janelle says:

    Hi Mel,
    I made these this afternoon and like Nicole, mine are not setting up. Like they are still kinda runny 3 hours later. How long does it take for yours to set up? I’m sure I cooked them to 245* but maybe my candy thermometer is off. I suppose it would never work to recook it?? I did think the taste was delicious! I added one dram of LorAnn cinnamon oil and it seemed about right.

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never recooked caramel, Janelle – I’m afraid it might separate on you (that sometimes happens when caramel undergoes drastic temperature changes). It sounds like your thermometer may be off. At 245 degrees, they definitely won’t be runny. Have you tried putting your thermometer in a pot of boiling water to see where it’s at temperature-wise?

  36. Peggy says:

    Have you ever measured to see how much liquid was in the pour? I’d like to make it half chocolate (nom, nom, nom) and half cinnamon.

    I do have a large Pyrex measuring cup and thought about putting the chopped chocolate at the bottom and pouring half over it.

    I also broke my candy thermometer but am planning on using my digital meat one instead!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Peggy, I’ve never measured, I’m sorry. A single batch doesn’t make an overly big batch – if it were me, I’d probably double and do half cinnamon, half chocolate.

  37. Andie says:

    My family went nuts over these! Soooo good! I made them the first time with 1 tsp of Americolor Super Red, which was waaaay too much. We all had red mouths for hours! The second time, I did about 1/3 tsp of the same coloring, and the caramels were still red but not stain-your-tongue-and-gums-all-night-long red!

  38. Cami says:

    I made these last week and they were sooooo good! I used one dram of Lorann cinnamon oil and it was just enough cinnamon flavor. If you like a hotter cinnamon flavor, I would use a little more than one dram. I even cut some marshmallows in half and dipped them in the caramel and then wrapped them when they were cool. Super yummy! My family loved them. I’m going to make these again for Valentine’s day and dip them in chocolate. Thanks for the recipe!

  39. Jessica says:

    These are awesome, can’t wait to make them again.

  40. Jess says:

    These are so good. We made them last Christmas, and loved them so much that we made them again for Valentine’s Day. I’m excited to make/eat them again!

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