Autumn Recipes

Recipe: Bourbon Caramels, Halloween Candy for Grown-ups

A sweet suggestion for an adult-oriented Halloween

By Russell van Kraayenburg October 31, 2014

Halloween is here and that means just one thing—it's time to eat more candy on one day than you would normally contemplate eating in an entire year. And if you're over 21, you get access to another kind of indulgence: booze. Our suggestion for an adult-oriented Halloween? Marry the two and make bourbon-flavored caramels.

Caramel is actually fairly simple to make at home, as long as you have a large enough pot and a candy thermometer. Temperature is vital to making caramel. Too hot and you'll end up with teeth-shattering rock candy. Too cold and you'll end up with syrup.

If you're not a fan of bourbon, you can substitute it with just about any liquor or flavoring you can think of. Teetotaler? Try a teaspoon of vanilla for a classic caramel candy.

Bourbon Caramels


  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. corn syrup
  • 8 oz. unsalted butter, shopped
  • 1 1/2 c. cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 oz. bourbon


  1. Place the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream, and salt in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Place a candy thermometer in the pot to monitor the temperature of the caram. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat slightly to maintain a boil. Boil until the caramel reaches 255°F, the firm ball stage.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon, standing back (it could splash), stirring vigerously until mixed in.
  3. Pour the caramel into an 8-inch square cake pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. 
  4. Sprinkle with salt and let cool before cutting.

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