Gingerbread molasses caramel layered with a browned butter nougat, basically if gingerbread cake and caramel had a love child, this would be it.
These caramels are full of pecan pieces and gingerbread spice. Topped with nougat warmed up with browned butter and additional spices, it's like biting into the most epic version of a caramelized gingerbread man. This page has two recipes on it- gingerbread pecan caramel and browned butter nougat. The "jump to recipe" button takes you to the caramel recipe and the nougat recipe is directly below it.
I like to call these sticky gingerbread cake caramels because they taste like the best iced gingerbread cake around.
This takes time.
Yes, this is delicious and worth it. You will need three days for this dessert. Each layer will need to set up overnight, and you'll need an extra day to cut and wrap the caramels. If you decide to make these, please read this blog post entirely. Ask me questions, I'm happy to help! There are two recipes on this page - one for caramel and one for nougat. "Jump to recipe" takes you to the caramel recipe.
- Day 1: Gingerbread spice caramel making
- Day 2: Make browned butter nougat and layer it directly on top of the gingerbread spice caramel.
- Day 3: Cut and wrap candy.
- thick bottomed, heavy duty pot. You'll use this for both the caramel making and nougat syrup.
- candy thermometer. It's a deal breaker without one. Don't attempt it without. If your thermometer has seen better days, test it by taking the temperature of boiling water. It should be between 210-212F.
- 5 qt. planetary mixer. This is used when making the nougat layer.
- High heat spatula or wooden spoon for stirring. Regular spatulas are not meant to be used in temperatures this high and they could melt.
- 12 X 17 sheet pan with edges.
- Parchment paper
- Cooking spray
Ingredients - gingerbread molasses caramel
- Evaporated milk
- Heavy cream
- Corn syrup
- Gingerbread Spice (I use this one, there are many DIY blends online!)
Ingredients - sweet cream nougat
- Corn Syrup
- Egg Whites
- Gingerbread Spice
- LorAnn Cheesecake Flavoring (I found mine on Amazon)
- If you choose to not use this, double your vanilla amount. I do recommend the cheesecake flavor because it deepens the nougat flavor to bring out the cake like experience when eating.
Day 1: Gingerbread molasses caramel
At the heart of this caramel is a deliciously blended milk, cream, butter, and sugar. This recipe does use corn syrup because it gives the caramel a silky texture (when you bite into it, the caramel has a nice pull) as well as extending the shelf life. If you are a candy maker or sell this, the shelf life will last 3-4 months.
Pecans and the gingerbread molasses caramel
The pecans in this recipe are used to mimic the texture of a pie crust and they are added at the very end of cooking. There is A LOT of gingerbread spice in this recipe, and yes it is supposed to be that much. Do NOT add it until the very end of cooking, because it will pull in water and you won't be able to cook the correct amount of water from the caramel. It must be blended with the molasses or it will clump. Before you start adding your caramel ingredients to your pot, weigh them all out. Have them lined up and ready to go.
Day 2: Browned Butter Nougat
This is a basic nougat that uses an added flavor. If you do not want to purchase the added flavor, you can sub it out for vanilla. I do recommend considering the cheesecake flavor, because it really makes this candy "pop" and give it a whole new taste dimension. The browned butter should be done prior to starting the sugar cooking. You are really looking for warmth in this recipe, and the browned butter is apart of that. If you need help with how to brown butter, I love Barley and Sage's instructions.
Day 3: Cut and wrap
You have to wait overnight to cut these after making the nougat because the nougat needs to set up and grain. "Graining" means that the sugar is absorbing all of the extra moisture and the texture is becoming short and tender. A short texture will allow the nougat to hold it's shape when cut instead of flowing out of place. It also keeps the bite very soft and easy to chew.
What size should I make these?
The size you cut these is personal preference. I cut them in to rectangles, ¾" in width and 1.5" in length. To wrap them I use cello candy wrappers that are precut in size, but you can use parchment or wax paper that you cut at home. Cello candy wrappers can be found at any craft store that has a baking/candy making section, or on Amazon. Make sure they are at least 5" x 5" in size to allow enough space to wrap the candy.
Storage and shelf life for gingerbread molasses caramel with browned butter nougat
This candy should be kept at room temperature. It does not need to be refrigerated or frozen. It should be kept away from extreme heat. Shelf life is approximately 4 months.
The video below shows a different candy being made but it is a caramel base with nougat top. The layering process is the same.
Give me all the gingerbread
Need more gingerbread in your life? I've got you covered.
Sticky Gingerbread Pecan Caramels
- 10 quart heavy duty thick bottomed pot
- high heat spatula or wooden spoon
Milk base for caramel
- 680 grams evaporated milk 2 full 12 ounce cans
- 113 grams unsalted butter
- 360 grams heavy cream fill up one 12 ounce can once
- 3 grams baking soda
- 4 grams salt
- 3 grams liquid soy or sunflower lecithin
Sugars for caramel
- 500 grams dark brown sugar
- 600 grams corn syrup
- 100 grams molasses
- 15 grams gingerbread spice approx. 1 Tablespoon
- 300 grams pecan halves
- Line a 12 x 17" sheet pan with parchment paper, leaving enough on the sides to be able to lift the entire pan of caramel out of the pan. Set aside
- In your heavy duty pot, combine evaporated milk, butter, heavy cream, baking soda, salt, and lecithin. Turn heat to medium.
- Stirring constantly, bring the mix to 180F. When you reach 180F, turn off the heat and let it sit undisturbed for 20 minutes. Your lecithin will look brown and clumpy and your butter will be sitting on the top once you return to your pot. This is normal.
- While your milk base is resting, combine molasses and gingerbread spice until completely mixed. Set aside.
- Once your milk base has rested for 20 minutes, add in sugar and corn syrup. Turn heat to medium and bring it to a boil, stirring the whole time. This recipe requires stirring THE WHOLE TIME AND NOT STOPPING.
- When you are boiling, you may increase heat to medium high. Do not increase to high. You should still be stirring.
- When the caramel reaches 240F, add in the molasses spice mix. The temperature will drop. Bring it back to 242F.
- When you get to 242F, turn off heat and stir in pecans. Pour caramel on parchment lined paper.
- Let the caramel cool for a minimum of 4 hours before making nougat layer to top. If you are only making the caramel, cover with parchment and foil after 30 minutes. Cool overnight before cutting.
Browned Butter Gingerbread Nougat
- high heat spatula or wooden spoon
- 12 x 17 sheet pan with edges if you made the caramel, you will be using the same pan
Egg White Meringue
- 2 large egg whites
- 100 grams corn syrup
- 580 grams sugar
- 670 grams corn syrup
- 180 grams water
Graining Agents and Flavors
- 150 grams powdered sugar
- 113 grams brown butter
- 10 grams Lorann cheesecake flavor
- 10 grams vanilla extract
- 15 grams gingerbread spice
- Melt and brown the butter. Set aside.
Egg White Meringue
- In a 5 quart planetary mixing bowl, combine egg whites and 100 grams corn syrup. Mix until combined on low for ten seconds and turn off mixer. Have bowl on stand ready to go.
Syrup Slurry & Nougat Making
- In a thick bottomed pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water.
- Cook over high heat until syrup reaches 234F. When syrup hits 234F, turn your mixer to high to whip egg whites. KEEP COOKING THE SYRUP.
- Cook syrup to final temperature to 252F (while egg whites are whipping away).Turn off heat when you hit 252F.
- Slowly, slowly, slowly stream hot syrup into the whipping egg whites. This needs to be done with care to not deflate them but also to not pour hot syrup on yourself.
- Once all the syrup is added, continue whipping for four minutes on high.
- After four minutes, turn mixer to low, add powdered sugar (slowly or you will be covered)
- Add browned butter and flavors. Mix until combined enough to turn speed back to high for 30 seconds.
- Mix on high for 30 seconds.
- Turn off mixer. Layer nougat directly on top of gingerbread pecan caramel.
- Let the nougat cool to touch. Cover with parchment paper and let it sit overnight before cutting.
Cutting and Wrapping
- Once nougat has sat overnight, lift the entire slab of candy (caramel and nougat) out and put it on a cutting safe surface.
- Using a sharp, lightly oiled knife, cut into desired shape and size. I cut mine into 0.75" wide by 1.25" long
- Wrap candy pieces in cello wrap or wax paper.