These Caramel Heavenlies are both crispy-crunchy and ooey-gooey. Truly heavenly.
My mom was a great role model for gifting from the kitchen. As soon as Thanksgiving was behind us, she would start the annual holiday baking.
And she didn’t make just a couple batches of goodies. Depending on the year, I’m guessing Mom made six to ten different kinds of fun sweets for our Christmas season festivities.
Some were family recipes, such as Grandma Klein’s Chocolate Caramels or Great Grandma Braun’s Sugar Cookies. Others were new finds that caught Mom’s eye, from magazines or cookbooks. She was always up for a fresh recipe. And this is something I appreciate now more than ever. I was taught to preserve the traditions of our past, but to also keep looking ahead.
I hope you like these Caramel Heavenlies as much as I do. This is one of my mom’s favorite recipes!
* This post was originally published December 2010. Some of the photos and some of the text were updated December 2016.
Planning a day of cookie making with three young (and very helpful, I might add) girls was no small task for Mom. The evening before, she would mix up the dough so it could chill, set out all the other baking necessities, and possibly say a prayer or two, asking for patience the following day.
Then, the next morning, the fun began.
Rolling out dough, spreading frosting, and sprinkling colorful sugars, we were a chatty, happy lot. Oftentimes, a cousin or neighbor kid would join in, and it was all the merrier.
And when the fun was done, Mom would pack it all up. The shoe boxes she had been saving would get wrapped up in pretty Christmas paper, lined with colorful tissue. Then the boxes were filled to the tippy-top with a variety of the indulgences we had just produced.
Some of these boxes were given to our teachers on the last day of school before Christmas break. The yum was joyfully received, as teachers often expressed not having the time for their own holiday baking.
Other boxes were mailed off to Dave and John, my college cousins. I’m certain it was a bright moment in their halls of knowledge, to be given these boxes of cheer. I’m also pretty sure those boxes were heavy with homemade mini peanut butter cups, a favorite of theirs.
And the rest was placed in plastic containers and packed away in the seemingly bottomless chest freezer, ready for all sorts of holiday goodie platters for sharing.
My mom’s kitchen gifting has made a very positive impact on me. It has let me see the joy in both the giving and receiving of homemade gifts, and has me sharing sweet treats with friends, co-workers, our daughters’ teachers, and elderly neighbors.
Baking up cheer and sharing it with special people in our lives is a wonderful way to savor the holidays. To know that you’ve brightened someone’s day with a simple gift from your own hands is priceless.
And I have a recipe to help you do just that.
This recipe for Caramel Heavenlies is one Mom made for the first time this year, and one that is sure to stay in my recipe box for years to come. It’s quite simple, with only eight ingredients.
Whole graham crackers and marshmallows make up the base, with a cinnamon-loaded caramel spooned over it. After a sprinkling of almonds and coconut, it’s baked until golden. The result is both crispy-crunchy and ooey-gooey.
And truly heavenly, just as its title proclaims.
Yield: 30 cookies
- 12 graham cracker rectangles
- 3 c. mini marshmallows
- 3/4 c. unsalted butter, chopped
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 c. sliced almonds
- 1 c. flaked coconut
- flaky sea salt
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line a 15″ x 10″ pan with parchment paper or foil. Grease foil, if using. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Spoon over the graham crackers, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with almonds and coconut, and then a bit of flaky sea salt.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Use foil or parchment to lift uncut bars from pan. Cut into 3″ squares and then cut each square in half diagonally, making triangular pieces. A pizza cutter wheel works great for this.
Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week, or freeze for a few months.
Adapted slightly (Mom increased the marshmallows) from Midwest Living.
This post was originally published December 2010. Some of the photos and some of the text were updated December 2016. This post first appeared as a guest post at LoveFeast Table for their Holiday Cookie Exchange.