It seems the older my husband gets (he turned 50 in February), the more he’s getting a sweet tooth. It’s something I never expected. He’s never been one for sweets. Steak – yes, sweets – not so much.
But over the past few months, he’s eating more and more sweets. Which means I’m baking more.
He’s started to like having a bowl of ice cream every night, so I decided to make a batch of salted caramel. I’ve got a couple recipes, but most times it would make very thin salted caramel. Which is fine, if you want to be able to pour it, even cold from the fridge. But I was hoping for something that sets up, not hard, but a lot thicker when cold from the fridge.
This is adapted from one of the recipes I have scribbled on a scrap of paper. I’ve made it so many times now, it’s become second nature.
Firstly there are those that prefer to melt their sugar without water. I’m not there yet. I like having a little buffer of the water to ensure my sugar doesn’t burn.
I have also timed this many times (I’ve been making it a few times a week for a while now). It takes right around 15 minutes from start to finish.
First thing is to get all your ingredients measured and set up. This really is a recipe where you have to have everything ready before you even begin. There will be no running around doing other things once you start.
I use a small 1 qt. pot, try and use as small of a pot as you have.
Carefully pour your sugar into the pot, try to make sure it goes into the middle and doesn’t stick to any of the sides, then carefully pour your water around the edges. Using a silicon spatula, carefully, making sure not to get any sugar up on the sides of the pot, make sure all the sugar is wet.
Cook over medium high heat (7.5). Do not stir this mixture any more. If you are worried about sugar granules on the side of the pot, using a pastry brush dipped in water, carefully brush the sides of the pot to wash any granules down into the pot.
Once the sugar comes to a boil, boiling right to the edges, set a timer for 10 minutes. Again, no stirring.
At around the 8 minute mark, you will start to see the sugar start to slowly darken. You will also be able to smell it more. It will start to smell like burning sugar. At this point you can give the pot a gentle swirl.
At the 9 minute mark, give the pot another swirl and start to tilt the pan to check the colour. For me, consistently, it is ready at the 9:45 mark.
Once it’s dark enough for you (don’t go past 10 minutes, you will end up with burnt sugar), remove the pot from stove, and using your silicone spatula, slowly, and I do mean slowly, and steadly, pour your heavy cream into the boiling sugar, while constantly stirring. Keep going, even if you think it’s all clumping together. Go slowly, but keep pouring until all the cream is poured in.
If once all the cream is poured in, you still have a chunk of sugar that is clumped up on yor spatula, put the pot back on the heat, stirring constantly this time, for about 30 seconds to a minute. This will re-melt any hardened sugar.
Lastly, sprinkle over your salt, and mix this in.
Por into your glass jar and allow to cool for hour, then refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. (This will never last that long!).
**Tip: I place my glass jar on a folded towel to help absorb the heat from the hot caramel, to make sure my jar doesn’t crack**
(Makes approx. 1 cup)
1 cup sugar, granulated
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 slightly rounded tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. water
Measure your whipping cream (Heavy cream) and then pour your vanilla into the cream. Set aside.
Measure out your salt and set aside.
Measure your sugar into your small pot.
Pour the water carefully around the edges of the pot and then gently stir the middle of the sugar pile, to ensure all sugar gets evenly wet. (make sure not to splash onto the sides of the pot).
**Place a folded towel on your counter, along with all ingredients ready for once the sugar is cooked**.
Place your pot on the stove, cooking the sugar syrup on medium high heat (7.5) until it begins to boil (you want the bubbles going right to the edge).
Once the syrup starts to boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.
At about the 8 minute mark, the syrup will start to caramelize, and you will start to smell the sugar starting to burn. Don’t panic, give to the pot a slight swirl.
At the 9 minute mark, give the pot another swirl. At this point you can start tilting the pot to check the darkness of the caramel. I always stop at 9 minutes 45 seconds, consistently. Stop when you feel it’s dark enough. Do not go past the 10 minute mark, at this point you will have burned sugar – not tasty.
Remove the pot from the stove, and place on your counter (the folded towel), and using a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, while constantly stirring, slowly pour in your heavy cream. This must be a very slow and steady stream of cream. Do not go too fast.
Once all the cream has been added, if you notice any sugar is still hardened, place the pot back on the stove for 30 to 60 seconds, stirring constantly. This will re-melt any sugar that has hardened.
Remove from the heat again, and once the foaming has subsided and all sugar is melted, sprinkle the salt over top and stir to combine.
Carefully pour the hot caramel into your glass jar. Allow to cool for an hour to 1 1/2 hours, then place the lid on top and place in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
When re-heating the caramel, to pour over ice cream, remove the lid and heat in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, do this in 15 second intervals.
You can also use this as a filling for cakes.