Sweet Caramel Sauce
Caramel was always something I thought would be impossible to make. Quite frankly, I was intimidated by making any sort of dessert topping or garnish because I just figured something that came out of a can for $1.29 was better. While I'll certainly agree that canned icing and toppings are easier, I don't think I can agree that they're better. Even so, I looked up a caramel recipe and was absolutely stunned at how simple it was. It's just water, sugar, and heavy cream. I'd always heard people rant about how hard it is to melt andcaramelize sugar, but with an evenly-heating pan, it's not hard at all! If you have a little bravery, a little patience, and are interested, here's what you'll need:
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Small sauce pan (works best if you have one that heats evenly on the sides and bottom)
Whisk (ball whisk if you have one)
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
In a small sauce pan, add the sugar.
Pour in a half cup of cold water, and turn the stove on medium-low heat.
Stir the sugar around every so often until the sugar has completely dissolved into the water. Leave the heat on medium-low until the mixture starts to bubble.
While you're waiting, get out the heavy cream and measure out a cup.
Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn up the heat to medium-high. You're going to let it bubble like this for about ten minutes. If during this stage you see crystals forming on the edge of the pan, you can use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to remove them. If the crystals build up, you run the risk of having them spread across the top of your mixture, which has the potential to ruin the caramel.
It'll literally look like this almost the whole ten minutes and you might think nothing is happening. Be sure to watch the sugar closely around the ten minute mark. All of a sudden, the sugar goes from almost totally clear to deep amber very quickly.
See? We didn't even have time to take a "interim browning" picture! As soon as your mixture turns a color something in the neighborhood of this amber, remove it from the heat immediately. Honestly, this might be a little on the darker side, but it was still tasty.
Right after you've removed the pan from the heat, slowly pour in the pre-measured heavy cream. Be careful though! It's going to sizzle and steam a LOT. Don't get a steam burn! Have your whisk ready in the pan as soon as you start pouring. When I poured the first bit in, I waited about 3 seconds before I started stirring and the cream had already begun to harden. Luckily it melted down again, but it's best to avoid all hardening possibilities. 🙂
Stir constantly until the cream has been fully incorporated into the sugar mixture. Do your best to make sure nothing stuck ot the bottom and that the caramel is smooth.
Return the pan to a very low heat and stir it around for about a minute. This just helps the caramel smooth out and set. Turn off the stove, remove the pan from the heat again, and let it cool.
Now it's time to congratulate yourself on a job well done! Making caramel isn't hard, but it sure does make you pay attention. Let us know if you have some success with this recipe...as always, happy baking!
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Posted in Food Post Date 01/08/2017