After my recent failed attempts to make caramel sauce, I thought it was wise to take a time out before giving it another go. That lasted all of four days. And then, armed with a five pound bag of Domino’s finest granulated, I was back at it.
BAH Fun Fact – I used to work at the redeveloped Proctor and Gamble site (Tide Point, good times), right next to Baltimore’s iconic Domino’s plant. From my building, I could watch tankers pull in and unload the sugar for processing. And you know what, the smell is dreadful. For real. You’d imagine that it would be the best smell in the world, light and wispy like cotton candy. Instead, it smells heavy and dark, like molasses. Getting away from that was one thing I did not mind about changing jobs.
Like I said, I had a score to settle with caramel sauce. So once again, I mixed water and sugar, added heat, and let chemistry do its thing. And would you believe that before too long we were headed down the same path that ended up in crystallized sugar fused to my Calphalon? I noticed that the bottom of the pot felt grainy all of the sudden. And sugar crystals were clearly forming in the bubbling syrup. There’s something about 240 degrees that is a breaking point for me. If I can get past it, I’m ok. But so far, that’s been easier said than done.
What’s a home cook to do when she sees that her not yet caramel sauce is about to go past the point of no return? If you’re me, you throw caution to the wind, say to hell with ratios, and add enough water to the pot to get everything back to a lovely liquid state. And you start boiling all over again.
I think this was more a save than an actual win because double boiling the syrup couldn’t have really helped matters and the final sauce was grainy. But I already received confirmation from The Mistah that he’s up to the challenge of using up Caramel 3.0 so that I can get working on Caramel 4.0. What can I say, he’s willing to take one for the team when he has to.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, heated to luke warm in microwave (30 seconds)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
BAH Note: Alice at Sweet Savory Life says to stir straight away and continue until the syrup begins to change color. I feel like that may have contributed to my troubles, but then again, I had the same problem when I didn’t stir. So I can neither confirm nor deny that you should stir throughout the cooking process. This recipe has you add butter to the sauce. I don’t remember doing that the last time I successfully made caramel sauce. But who am I to say no to a pat or two of butter?
Combine sugar and water in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium-high until the sugar melts and the syrup begins to turn an amber-brownish color. This will be approximately 350 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat, stir immediately, and pour in 1/2 cup of the warmed heavy cream and add the butter. The mixture will bubble violently at first. Keep stirring, carefully, until the sauce relaxes. Add the remaining cream and rum, if using, and stir until the sauce is smooth.
Transfer the sauce to a heatproof container and allow it to cool for about an hour before refrigerating. SSL recommends slightly covering the container with plastic wrap as the sauce cools.
Once cool, use immediately or refrigerate. Refrigerated sauce can be rewarmed in the microwave.