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Caramel Sauce

Four ago I started college at San Francisco State University and I was SO excited to move out and start college. It turned out that I was only excited with the concept of moving out and starting college. I was completely absolutely fine while packing up my entire room for the very first time; my family has never moved and I had never moved rooms in the house. But then the night before I actually moved into the dorms I had a complete breakdown. I didn’t want to leave; I was terrified of moving into a strange city and living with a strange person. I knew the girl I was going to be living with was a ballerina with the San Francisco Ballet Company and was a psych major WHAT ON EARTH would we have in common?

Who would have thought four years later I’d be taking this picture?We’re now best friends and skip and skip and sprint through Disneyland like cracked-out five year olds. She took the Winnie the Pooh photo from the last post. We are each others boys-are-dumb calls and shenanigans calls.

Since I wanted to make caramel sauce because I’m determined to like the stuff, but needed an outlet for it in case I decided I still didn’t like it I sent her a text earlier this week. Her response? “If I could be dipped in vat of caramel I would be.” Well then. I think that’s a yes.

Back when Liz and I were in the dorms we didn’t really hangout with anyone on our floor, I have no idea what they thought of us. Liz had a boyfriend in Berkeley that she spent weekends with when she wasn’t dancing, I generally went home on weekends or was out dancing (I used to do/teach vintage dances like Lindy Hop and Rotary Waltz) so we really weren’t around. So one time a bunch of people on our floor were hanging out in the dorm across from ours when Liz came back from wherever and they all started saying things like “omg, there’s one of the girls from <whatever dorm number we were>” to which Liz whipped around and said “I maybe elusive, but I’m not deaf! I can HEAR you!” She has always been very good with off the cuff remarks.

Which is what I should have named this post – the caramel was very elusive perfect since it was going to Liz. But I didn’t want to scare anyone from making this caramel because it really isn’t that tough. I just kept trying to do it without the proper equipment. I have also found out, I’m terrible at discerning colors like amber, deep amber and caramel colored. I kept burning the caramel and there is sadly no way to mask the flavor of burnt caramel. So I think I ended making this about four or five times before it came out correctly.

The recipe says to cook the sugar until 380 degrees which for whatever reason was WAY too high. The caramel was black black black. So I thought my thermometer wasn’t calibrated correctly. So after I cleaned the pot I put plain water in it and put the thermometer back in so I could see what temperature the water boiled at. You should do this before any candy making but I wasn’t thinking.  The water boiled at 212, so I’m not sure why 380 wasn’t working for me. I cooked the sugar to somewhere around 320 and it worked out perfectly.

The caramel was delicious, while I don’t think I’m in Liz’s boat about wanting to be dipped in a vat of it, but I no longer turn my nose up at it. It’s thick, creamy and I kept thinking it was slightly savory. Its definitely not as sweet as hot fudge sauce, which ironically  I like. It was super quick to make, so if you do want to be dipped in a vat of caramel keep this recipe on hand because you’ll definitely save a lot of money by making your own rather than constantly buying it.

Caramel Sauce

From My Baking Addiction

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 liquid cup water
1 vanilla bean cut in half, insides scraped and everything added to the cold cream
1/2 liquid cup heavy cream, heated until warm
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt

In a heavy saucepan that is at least 5 cup capacity add sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir sugar until everything is completely mixed. Clip on your thermometer making sure that the tip is IN the sugar mixture.

Over medium low heat, stir the mixture until the sugar completely dissolves. Once the mixture starts bubbling along the sides stop stirring. Allow it to boil (you can gently swirl the pot in order to distribute the color) until 380 degrees (I found that I needed a MUCH lower temperature – about 320ish) or until the color is a deep amber color. Immediately remove from heat.

Add in the hot vanilla infused cream (remember to remove the bean before adding!). The sugar will bubble up, so don’t have your head right over the pot. Stir to combine. If any of the stuff from the bottom of the pot don’t mix in completely return to a low heat and stir until they dissolve. Add in the butter and salt. Stir until the butter is completely melted. The caramel may be streaky – just keep stirring! It’ll get better as it cools.

Store for three days at room temp or 3 months in the fridge.

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