Caramel… Oh caramel…
Homemade caramel is probably one of the most delicious sauces you can make at home. If you have never made or never had homemade caramel, you are seriously missing out. I just recently started making caramel and I am pretty angry at myself for depriving my tastes buds all these years.
However, caramel is not easy to make, probably one of the hardest techniques I have ever had to master! So, I am dedicating my first post to making caramel. After 8 attempts I think I have finally perfected the infamous caramel sauce. I can now officially say that I am a caramel master! Ok… Maybe… Kind of.
Caramel is hard to make, but once you have the technique down it’s quite simple. It took me 8 times, in the span of 3 days and I almost gave up this food blog. I mean seriously, if I can’t make a caramel sauce, how can I write a food blog? Yes, that serious!
Before my first failed attempt I decided to make caramel for my mini cheesecakes. So I proceeded to mix the BROWN sugar (yea, I know, what was I thinking?), butter, 2% milk (seriously?), vanilla extract and cinnamon (don’t ask, I was being adventurous). And I failed… Second Attempt milk curdled, Third, sugar burned, fourth, sugar burned again and.. enough, my head hurts from reminiscing on my attempts.
After my 8th attempt I realized I needed to change my technique as well as my recipe.
So here we go…
Sugar, water, butter or margarine, heavy cream and sea salt
I took the 2/3 cup of water and microwaved it for 2 minutes. Then, poured the 1 cup of sugar inside the cup with HOT water. I let the ingredients just sit for a few minutes and let the sugar dissolve a little bit. I then carefully and gently (GENTLY!), poured the mixture inside a deep heavy bottom saucepan and turned the heat to medium-high on the stove.
Make sure, you do not splash any liquid or sugar on the sides of the pan or else it could ruin the caramel when you turn on the heat and let it boil. If you do, take a slightly wet pastry brush and wipe the sides of the pan, making sure all of the sugar and liquid is wiped off the sides of the saucepan. You don’t want crystallization!
The mixture will then start to boil. After the water is boiling off you take the wet pastry brush, again, and wipe the sides of the saucepan, getting rid of all those sugars and liquids that danced off the boiling liquid. Wipe all the way down, almost to the boiling sugar, but don’t touch it!
Once, you start to get lazy bubbles (5-6 minutes of boiling) then you need to carefully watch the liquid and check the color change of the sugar caramelizing. While waiting, do not stir, because that will cause the sugar to splash on the sides of the pan.
Take a white plate and place a few drops on the plate to check for the desired color. I took the saucepan off the stove after the third color and the color of the caramel was still changing. The end result was the fourth color (the color I wanted) and that was after I took it off the stove! So you can imagine how fast caramel burns once you get to the desired color. So I suggest taking the saucepan off the stove once you “almost” reach the color of the caramel you want, because it will change within a blink of an eye.
Once you get the desired color, take the sauce pan off the stove and add the heavy cream while whisking at the same time. Then add the butter, a tablespoon at a time and the sea salt.
Oh and make sure to wear an oven mitt while you are whisking or you will burn your hand from the steam… Like me. Yeah, it’s not fun…
Once everything is mixed, pour the sauce into a cooling dish, let it cool and ENJOY!
The caramel sauce was amazing. It took everything in me not to eat spoonfuls of it!
Caramel Sauce Recipe:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1/8 Teaspoon sea salt (if unsalted butter add 1 tsp sea salt)
Microwave the water for 2 minutes and combine with the sugar. Let mixture sit for a few minutes. Microwave the heavy cream for 1 minute and set aside. Gently pour the mixture into a heavy bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. Increase the heat to medium-high heat and bring to a boil without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until syrup is deep in amber color, about 5-6 minutes. Remove sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the butter or margarine a tablespoon at a time and the salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish to cool and refrigerate.
*Note: The caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Reheat before serving.
Please feel free to let me know if you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did or if you have any other suggestions.