Caramel sauce is simply delicious, so if you don’t want to spend your time in the kitchen making it from scratch, try this homemade recipe that tastes as good as the store bought ones. Let’s start How To Make Caramel….
History – Caramel comes from French “caramelle”, meaning “little cake”. The old French name was “carramella”. It is mentioned in Italian mediaeval cookbooks as early as 1390. Earlier, the term “caramella” (meaning “little candy”) was used in Mediaeval Latin to describe a sugar-coated delicacy. The Spanish had a similar confection known as “dulce de leche”, or milk candy.
What is caramel?
Caramel, also called “burnt sugar”, is a sugar based confection made by caramelising dissolved sugar. It is used in candies and desserts. Most kitchens have a candy or oil thermometer to help you achieve the proper heat level. The proper temperature of the syrup determines whether the caramel will be hard and brittle or soft and chewy; this depends on the type of candy being made.
In cooking, caramel is a sweetener used in cuisines around the world. It has been used as a sauce associated with desserts, puddings and other sweet dishes in both classical and modern cuisine. In the United States, it is often used as a topping for ice cream or cake. The same term (such as “caramel”) can also refer to caramelised sugar candies or sauces.
Types of caramel:
There are generally 2 types of caramel based on their consistency: soft caramel or hard caramel. Soft caramel is usually cooked to a higher temperature (about 300°F) and poured onto a silpat or wax paper. Hard caramel is cooked to a lower temperature (about 240°F) and allowed to cool for about 30 minutes before being chopped into pieces. Both can be made in the microwave, but the softer version requires more attention because it starts melting at about 330 °F; monitoring with a thermometer will tell you when the syrup has reached the appropriate temperature.
How does it become creamy?
The hot sugar is cooked over low heat in water (a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water) allowing it to dissolve. If the liquid gets too hot, add a little more cold water. Don’t use metal at this stage! The caramel will get stuck on and make a huge mess.
The liquid is stirred occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, then allowed to boil until it reaches 286°F (138°C). At that point, it will start bubbling and turn into a light golden colour.
Remove from heat, and place on a flat surface to cool. It will set as it cools. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks or frozen for up to 3 months without loss of quality.
How do I know when the caramel is ready to turn off the heat?
Testing the caramel as it is cooking, using a candy thermometer or a microwave oven, will allow you to determine when the syrup has reached the right temperature. You can also test the finished product by dropping a small amount of the hot syrup into a glass of cold milk. If it pours into thin ribbons, then your caramel is ready.
How To Make Caramel
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water or liquid glucose (available at specialty bakeries)
Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, without stirring until the mixture turns amber. This will take a few minutes. If you use a candy thermometer, it will be about 320F degrees when it is ready. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (It will vary by brand, so for me it took about 20 to 25 minutes)
Repeat the process until all of the sugar is caramelised, stirring frequently. Be careful not to scorch the sugar or your sauce will get too thick. When caramel has cooled, store in an airtight container. The sauce may be frozen for storage and reheating.
Once caramel is made, you can keep it in an airtight container; it should stay good for a long time. You can also freeze it but make sure to mix the sauce first or else the crystals will form.
*Keep an eye on the mixture, because the sugar may burn easily!
*You can use a brown bag to line the saucepan and make it easier to clean up.
*Try adding a couple tablespoons of brandy or whiskey.
*Substitute maple syrup for liquid glucose.
*When using it as a dessert topping, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe so it will not be too sweet. If you are making candy that requires higher heat, you can double or triple the topping recipe.
Be careful when making this recipe because the sugar will get extremely HOT! Use a pot holder or an oven mitt to hold the handle of the pan, and never leave it unattended on the stove.
Note: The first step of this recipe is similar to the one mentioned above. The main difference is that you are going to turn down the heat, and not let it boil over as you stir it.
How do I make caramel without a candy thermometer?
You can make caramel without a candy thermometer by using the cold plate test, which was an old-fashioned way of telling if your caramel was ready for making candy. This is how:
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and place a cold plate in it; the plate should be cool to the touch when you add it. Stir frequently. When you see bubbles forming at the edge of the pan, add some of the syrup until you see steam on the plate. If there is not enough to create steam, turn off heat, wait 30 seconds and repeat until steam appears. Continue cooking for about another 5 minutes or until it boils again and does not bubble up on its own.
Cooking with milk increases the overall sweetness and sweetness level of the sauce. Cooking with butter gives caramel a more savoury flavour while cooking with oil reduces milk fat and makes your caramel come out savoury as well.
How to Store Caramel Sauce
Sauce that is made from melted and cooled caramel can be stored in a jar or airtight container. It will last for up to one year before rancidity occurs. Because the caramel can separate, a good idea is to pour the sauce into an airtight container beforehand. Pour the sauce out while making it, so it’s thicker and easier to work with. A simple and tasty way to combine caramel sauce with a sweet drink, when mixed together with ice cream or yoghurt, is sorbet. Here is an easy recipe: pour yoghurt into the bowl and then pour hot caramel sauce over it. It’s best to melt the caramel in a microwave oven so it doesn’t burn. Let the mixture cool for fifteen minutes and then add sugar to your liking. A good idea is to put some whipped cream on top of the ice cream for a delicious treat!
What should I use caramel sauce on?
Caramel is best enjoyed with a variety of desserts and foods. It is also used in some cookies, cheesecakes, cakes, candies and pies. The sauce is often combined with desserts such as ice cream and ice-cream cones. It can be used in different types of candies, such as a caramel apple, and for making frosting for cakes. It can be used on top of hot chocolate or in caramel apples. This versatile sweet can also be used to make brownies and cheesecake.
The sauce also goes well with many dishes like meatloaf, fried chicken wings and Irish stew.
If you love caramel and want a sweet treat, you should try this recipe, it is definitely a keeper!
The following are the easy and simple recipes for caramel sauce: