In the spirit of the new and exciting series of baking related posts coming up, I have decided to give you the readers a soft landing. If you have always bought caramel in a bottle, you will never do so again. Making my own caramel was inspired by Aanu as she is a passionate advocate of baking from scratch and home made ingredients. Aanu makes her fondant from scratch, her own chocolate sauce, vanilla extract, cinnamon extract and so much more. You guys are in for a treat, you have no idea.
Another one of her home made products is caramel and I have seen pictures. I love caramel, who doesn’t? Any flavour of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream which has a caramel component makes me stretch my hand into the supermarket freezers without even thinking sometimes. I have always watched caramel made from scratch on Food Network, but it never really struck a chord in me until a few weekends ago when I wanted to make French Toast and I decided to give it a try. Oh Lawdie, Lawdie, Lawdie. Once it had cooled down, I tasted a teaspoonful and it was sooooo good that I ended up leaning on the kitchen counter and I was consuming it in spoonfuls. It was by far the best Caramel that I have ever tasted. Luckily caramel keeps very well in the freezer (3 months), so I intend to whip it out any time I want to serve cake and ice cream to guests, or even cookies or slices of fruit. Now that Aanu will be educating us about baking, test your measuring skills with making caramel and give your confidence a little boost.
You will need
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup of Double cream – you can substitute with milk especially condensed milk
1/4 cup of unsalted Butter
1. Pour half a cup of water into a deep saucepan and blend 1 cup of sugar in a mill. This is to make the sugar granules finer. Pour the sugar into the saucepan and turn up the heat to medium.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Keep a close watch until the sugar solution turns a nice caramel colour. This took 15 – 17 minutes.
Do NOT stir the sugar solution and be very watchful. As soon as the colour starts to change to golden brown, shake the saucepan to spread the caramel evenly otherwise the centre will burn while the outer edges haven’t fully caramelised. You don’t want burnt caramel.
You should end up with this golden brown sugar syrup
2. Turn off the heat and add pour in the cream. I used a combination of 150ml double cream and 100ml milk making 1 cup. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: You have to be careful here because as soon as you add the cream it will bubble vigorously.
This is why you need to make the caramel in a pot or a deep saucepan to prevent kitchen accidents. Melting sugar is dangerously hot.
- As double/heavy cream may not be easily accessible my some of my readers, I did some research on using milk as a substitute. This is what I found. Traditionally, caramel is made with double/heavy cream because it has a much higher fat content that milk (kitchen science). If you are going to use milk, use less milk to prevent ending up with runny caramel or make a mixture of half milk and half butter to emulate the fat content of double cream.If you are also using milk, make sure it is slightly warmed in a microwave and pour it in gradually while stirring. Remember, milk has a lighter weight than cream (less fat), so you pour until you achieve a thick consistency of caramel. Any more and you end up with runny caramel which is basically sweet milk and you will be very disappointed.
3. Add the butter and whisk. You may need to put it back on low heat depending on the temperature of your kitchen – I actually used a butter substitute, which is a healthier version and it still turned out great. If you used a mixture of milk and butter, you will not need to add any more butter.
4. Once the butter has melted, add salt in pinches until you achieve the salty taste that you like. I used roughly 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.
……..and that is it. In four simple steps you end up with a gorgeous result. If you have always bought caramel from a plastic bottle, once you taste this you will never go the store bought route again. Caramel can stay refrigerated for 7 days or for 3 months in the freezer. You only need to reheat gently on very low heat – do not be tempted to boil it again.
One of many uses of salted caramel – on French Toast. I will be posting the recipe very early tomorrow morning, so that you can make Saturday morning breakfast with a difference.