Friday, March 19, 2010

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce

The first (and second and third) time I tried to make homemade caramel sauce, it didn't turn out quite right. And so I've had this fear of melting sugar...I mean, how much simpler can you get? It's just sugar and water and heavy cream and I think the water is optional, and you don't even need a candy thermometer. Yet, it's a bit tricky. Stir too much and the caramel crystallizes. Gritty caramel? No, thanks. Cook too little and it's sweet and tasteless, like eating raw sugar. Cook too much and it'll taste burned, almost bitter.
Caramel Sauce
But getting it just right...well it's perfection...especially atop some vanilla ice cream or combined with hazelnuts and drizzled over Emily Luchetti's Chocolate Truffle and Vanilla Pastry Cream Tart. So if at first you don't succeed...try, try again.

Caramel Sauce
adapted from Classic Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.

(Tip: While the sugar is boiling, keep handy a bowl of water and a clean pastry brush. As you see crystals forming up the sides of the pan, dip the brush in water and brush down the sides of the pan to dissolve the crystals.)

Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a golden amber color. You can gently swirl the pan occasionally to prevent hot spots that could burn, but don't stir or you'll get that gritty caramel sauce I was talking about.

(Tip: as the sugar is cooking and changing color, place a few drops on a clean, white plate to see the color more accurately. The sugar mixture will look darker in a stainless pan and you may end up under-cooking the caramel. Stop cooking when the drop of caramel on the white plate is a nice medium amber color.)

Remove from the heat and let the bubbles subside for a few seconds. Stir in the cream, very slowly and carefully. The caramel will bubble up when you add the cream so take extra caution as boiling sugar is very hot and could burn you. Serve the sauce warm or refrigerate for later use.

13 comments:

  1. I just made caramel sauce (salted caramel sauce actually!) - it;s so much better than the store bought stuff right - that is if the sugar doesn't burn!
    http://ourchocolateshavings.blogspot.com/2010/03/chocolate-fondants-with-salted-caramel.html

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  2. I love making caramel sauce more than eating it haha. Isn't that weird? Your sauce looks beautiful.

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  3. Your sauce looks fantastic, every time I try and make caramel it end up all burnt and. Oh well here I go again, wish me luck!

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  4. Anything with caramel involved has me there - so I love the idea of having this gorgeous sauce safely available at all times! Plus I love the photo of the drizzling sauce - yum.

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  5. I just found your blog and I LOVE it! Everything looks so delicious. Im not a huge fan of caramel but I will be using your lemon-lime bar recipe for a passover tart. I'll let you know how it turns out. Here my blog link : www.ourforkingblog.blogspot.com

    Ill be back!

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  6. Loooooooove caramel!!!!!!!! And your pictures are lovely!

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  7. Oh yum! Let's have a sundae party for birthdays this year!

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  8. This looks incredibly good. I've had a few turns with caramel, and a couple of them have ended up on the bitter/burnt side. I think I have to try this recipe, though.

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  9. You take the most gorgeous photos. That looks delectable.

    p.s. don't forget to enter my Peruvian Feather Earring GIVEAWAY at itssimepllove.blogspot.com

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  10. Looks perfect, MM! Caramel is my favorite flavor, especially when paired with chocolate....

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  11. Yum! I will have to try this recipe!

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  12. Homemade always are the most delicious! I have always believed in that.

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