Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Caramel Sauce – Plain or Salted

It’s important to cook the sugar until it’s the right color, because that browning of the sugar is what gives caramel it’s flavor. However, in my experience, it’s very, very easy to go overboard in no time at all.

This picture (sorry for the blur) shows you what color your sugar should be when you remove it from the heat. This will take about 8 minutes, but its important to remember that every stove is different, so it may take slightly less, or slightly longer; the important thing is just to watch the color.

Any lighter than the photo above, and you won’t get that caramel-y flavor, but if you go any darker at all, it will taste very burnt. Trust me on this. Some cookbooks or websites will tell you to go darker, until there is almost a reddish tint to the sugar, but don’t do it. Remember, this is experience talking.

Also, making candy is dangerous. There is nothing worse than a candy burn…again, trust me on this. Be very, very careful when handling hot sugar. There is a point in making this sauce when you should be prepared for hot spluttering and steam.

When adding the cream (or any liquid) to hot sugar, it will expand very rapidly, foaming, spluttering, and generating a lot of hot steam. For this step, place the hot sugar on a stable surface, wear an oven mitt on the hand pouring the cream, and use a long wooden spoon for stirring, so that your hand isn’t close to the candy or steam.

Other than those important notes, this is a really simple, very worthwhile recipe.

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon corn syrup (or agave syrup), optional
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, crushed (optional)

Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Without stirring, bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the ingredients in the pan occasionally. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches an amber color, About 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and very carefully (the mixture will quickly expand and sputter) add the cream in a slow steady stream, being sure to stir constantly. Once combined, add the salt and butter and continue stirring until both are completely melted and combined. Cool to room temperature before using.

Recipe by Darla