caramel · diva · Maillard reaction · salted caramel · sugar · sugar work · the other diva

The other diva

Yeast is quite a diva, however, today we will be focusing on the other diva, caramel.  For anyone who has ever worked with sugar, you know it can be like waiting for paint to dry.  You can’t rush it because it can burn.  So, you have to let it do its thing on its own schedule.
Basically, there are two ways to make caramel sauce from scratch.  There’s the wet method and the dry method.  In the wet method, you add water to the sugar to aid in melting it.  In the dry method, you’re melting the sugar on its own.  Most often, I use the dry method.
First and foremost, make sure you have all the ingredients ready and make sure you have the time to make the caramel.  Both are important because once that sugar melts, things move really quickly and you can easily burn the caramel.
img_1228Using a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat.  Once the sugar melts, start whisking it.The sugar will clump up, don’t worry and keep whisking!  It will keep melting.  Once it’s all melted, you can stop whisking.  Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the caramel.  It should be 350 F and be a dark amber color.  Keep an eye on it, because this is the point where the caramel can burn.
When the sugar reaches 350 F and becomes a deep amber color, add the butter carefully, a few img_1241pieces at a time, whisking it into the sauce.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. It will bubble up and can splatter to be careful not to get burned.  Trust me, it is not fun getting burned by melted sugar.  Whisk the cream to incorporate.  Add in the sea salt flakes and mix to combine.  Allow the caramel sauce to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.  Then pour it into a container or jar or whatever you have (I had a Pyrex gravy container so I used that) and cool to room temperature.
It sounds pretty straightforward, right?  But it can be a challenge.  I remember the first img_1243time I attempted to make caramel; it was a disaster!  But, I kept trying and trying until I was able to master it.

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