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I have mentioned this recipe in the hopes that someone out there has had any luck with it. I've made this recipe twice, each time the flavor of the hot caramel was simply amazing. I couldn't wait to dip it in my favorite dark chocolate to make a neat, self contained caramel-pecan turtle with maple highlights. Unfortunately, by the next day the caramel had completely crystallized and tasted horrible. I've scoured the web looking for alternative versions of this recipe with little luck.

This recipe doesn't use corn syrup like other caramels, and it turns out corn syrup is much more resistant to crystallization than regular sugars. Perhaps substituting dark corn syrup for some of the brown sugar would help? I was extra careful to wash the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water the second time I made this, but sadly, the outcome was the same.


1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon, unsalted butter, softened
1 cup roughly chopped pecans

Oil the foil lined baking dish.
Using safflower oil and a paper towel, generously oil a 9x13 baking dish lined with foil.

Make the caramel.
Combine the maple syrup, cream and sugar and heat over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Wash down the sides of the pan several times with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallazation (do this a lot?). Once the mixture reaches 242° F (117° C) remove from heat and the butter and stir in the pecans. Pour into prepared baking dish. Let cool completely and pray for no crystals.

Click any image below to enlarge
  1. Comment from Karen R 
    9:04 AM   05-Mar-2007
    Mmm...sounds yummy. I love real caramels. I have a professional cookbook here that suggest adding a small amount of acid to the mixture can help prevent those nasty crystals. A bit of lemon juice or cream of tartar (3/4 tsp.) added in the beginning is suggested, along with leaving a lid on initially, before it begins to color. The steam should help prevent crystals. Hope this helps.
    1. Response from Brian
      5:04 PM   05-Mar-2007
      Hi Karen, that's good information worth trying. The maple, pecan and brown sugar combination of this recipe is pretty amazing. I've got one strike left, so maybe this year I'll make it again.
  1. Comment from bonnie 
    4:38 AM   27-Nov-2007
    I make caramels every year and they are wonderful. Actually, I make them in the microwave, and they never crystallize. However, when I make turtles with the caramel mixture, they always crystallize. When I read that your pecan caramels crystallize, I wonder if the pecans have something to do with it? Don't have any answers, but it is an interesting thought. Good luck this year.
  1. Comment from Jennifer 
    6:39 PM   26-Oct-2008
    Try the recipe at the following link. I'm going to try a batch tomorrow. Good luck! http://www.joyofbaking.com/candy/MaplePecanCaramels.html
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