Homemade Caramel really is wonderful no matter how you use it~ wether by the spoonful, as a sauce, as a filling, or in frosting it is delicous! Homemade caramel is quick and easy once you get the process down. Cooking sugar tends to be a little tricky at first but once mastered you'll be whipping this up it at home often.
This is the first of a three part series to make these
delicious Caramel Apple Cupcakes!
Part One: Making Wonderfully Homemade Caramel Sauce
Part Two: Making Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Part Three: Making Green Apple & Caramel Filled Chocolates!
I hope you stay tuned for all three, and try them out at home!
Time to make caramel!
Full Recipe at end of this post. Printer Friendly Recipe Here!
Start with a few simple ingredients. Water, sugar, butter and heavy cream.
Remember how I said cooking sugar can be somewhat tricky?! Well I admit I've made caramel quite a few times before but made some very basic mistakes while making this at home. Mistake #1.. notice the size of my pan compared to the quantity of sugar inside. Once the sugar is cooked and cream is added the hot sugar will boil very rapidly up the sides of the pan. Sugar is very hot, so start with a pan at least triple the volume of sugar to be sure it won't boil over.
Melt the sugar over low heat with the water.
Stir gently until the mixture is clear.
Stop stirring at this point and let the sugar cook.
Like anything boiling, sugar is extremely hot. The sugar and water will begin to boil when the water reaches 212F from there on out the water evaporates and the sugar's temperature will keep rising. Candy recipes call for cooking sugar to various degrees of 'cookedness'.... for sugar to caramelize it must be brought up to around 340F.
All that to say be very careful, it is VERY HOT!
While letting the sugar boil, if you notice any sugar crystalizing to the sides of the pan take a small pastry brush and dab the sides with water. The sugar will losen and fall back into the pot.
The sugar will start turning colors from clear to light amber.
Never walk away from a pot of boiling sugar!
It only takes about 2-4 minutes of boiling to reach caramel stage.
This is about where you want to be for caramel sauce, just a light amber color.
Mistake #2: It still looked a little light to me so I kept cooking the sugar.
...and kept cooking... probably would have been ok had I stopped here.
It looked so good I couldn't resist letting it go just a few more seconds until I got
..here. Too dark, I went ahead anyways thinking I'd be able to get away with it... once it reaches this you can't get away with it! The finished sauce was very bitter and expectedly burnt tasting.
But for your sake I'll show you the rest of the steps anyways before I had to start over.
Once the sugar reaches a LIGHT amber color :)
remove it from the heat and add a few tablespoons of butter at a time.
Notice how much it boils up, again hence needing a much bigger pot.
Add all the butter whisking constantly.
Do this immediately after removing sugar from the stove.
Next add in the cream, again the sugar will bubble up vigorously,
once it calms down whisk until smooth.
Keep whisking for about 30 seconds then transfer to a heat proof glass bowl.
MMmmm the sauce is almost done, but notice we're still over 200F degrees,
keep fingers out!
Cool for at least 30 minutes or until room temperature.
Then enjoy any way you like!
I ended up making a fresh batch once I tested my very burnt caramel.
Notice the difference in very bad tasting caramel with very very good tasting caramel.
It took a little extra effort but it's well worth it for the richness it adds to just about anything.
Stay tuned to LaLa Cake for Part Two: Making Caramel Apple Cupcakes! Coming Soon!
Makes about 2 cups
Cook Time: 10 minutes Prep and Cool Time: 20 minutes
2 cups White Sugar
3/4 cup Water
8 tbl Butter, cut into 4-5 pieces
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan (at least 4-6 quarts)
mix sugar and water.
2. Melt sugar on stove over a medium flame stirring constantly
until sugar granules melt. While stirring take care
not to splash sugar onto sides of pan,
as this will burn before remaining sugar is cooked.
If you do get sugar on the sides of the pan brush
a little water over the sides of the pan with a pastry brush.
3. Once sugar granules are melted stop stirring.
Continue to cook until a light amber color.
(Sugar will be very hot)
4. Remove from heat and place on a heat proof pad.
Very carefully whisk in butter a few pieces at a time.
Sugar will bubble up considerably (hence why the large pot is needed).
5. After all the butter is mixed in add the heavy cream carefully as sugar
will bubble up rapidly again. Stir until smooth.
Transfer to a heat proof glass bowl and allow to cool for
1 hour at room temperature.
(Sugar will still be around 200F after adding butter and cream)
Use for ice-cream topping or make into caramel frosting.
Caramel will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Reheat in microwave for 5-10 seconds as needed..