salted pumpkin and pepita caramels recipe
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ⅔ cup unsalted pepitas
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or mix of ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon allspice, and pinch of nutmeg)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cups light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup good maple syrup
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel or good kosher salt
  1. Dry toast the pepitas in a skillet until they start to pop. Set aside.
  2. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square pan with parchment, creating a sling with overhanging edges with the parchment. Butter the parchment on the sides of the pan. Evenly spread out the toasted pepitas on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.
  3. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices. Warm the mixture, but do NOT boil. Set aside.
  4. In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted, then allow to boil until it reaches 244 degrees F (which is at the end range of the soft ball point on a candy thermometer).
  5. Very carefully add the cream and pumpkin mixture, it will boil up, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees F as registered on a candy thermometer. Don't leave the kitchen! This can take awhile but may escalate quickly. Watch the bubbling carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 230 degrees F to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan.
  6. As soon as it reaches 240 degrees F, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. When I did this, the thermometer still rose to 242 degrees F -- that's okay. Just make sure as soon as the temp hits 240 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat. Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a hot knife to cut them into 1-inch squares (I actually halved these squares) and wrapping them individually in waxed paper. NOTE: I made these in a very warm kitchen, so cutting was easy but a little gooey. Placing them in the fridge for about 15 minutes made for cleaner cuts.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at