Year two of the blog will bring a new culinary challenge. I’m going back to the basics and am challenging myself to actually use the cookbooks I have. The internet makes it so easy to be inundated by recipes, that we often forget about the ones sitting right under our noses in our beloved cookbooks. My new challenge is to try at least one new recipe a month from each of my cookbooks. Feel free to join the challenge, either with the books I choose or using the cookbooks on your own shelves.
Since I had some
time and thought the idea of having extra salted caramel sauce around the house
sounded genius, I decided to make homemade salted caramel sauce for my Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
I’ve made salted caramel a couple times in the past (for my Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie) but I’ve
never done the dry sugar method. I was a little nervous so I added some water
to the 2 cups of sugar for my first batch.
I don’t recommend doing this. I
accidentally added way too much water and the caramel never came together as a sauce. It was chunks of caramel floating in a water bath. If you are going to add some water, only add a tablespoon or two to moisten the sugar.
I started over
and followed the Brown Eyed Baker instructions as they were.
My sugar started browning right away (before it even started to melt) which made me nervous that it was going to burn. I think this happened because my pan was already hot when I started (from my first batch). Probably best to start with a cooled pan. In the end everything was ok, but it wasn’t as smooth as I wanted (since
the sugar didn’t initially melt all the way).
To fix this, I continued to simmer the sauce until the sugar had melted
and I had a smoother caramel.
Carmel Sauce (yields ~3 cups):
tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy
cream, at room temperature
fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)
1. Add the
sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy saucepan. Heat the
sugar over medium-high heat, stirring it as it begins to melt (I don’t recommend
a whisk at this point because the sugar gets stuck when it's still in clump form). The sugar may begin to form clumps, but these will melt down as it
continues to cook. Once all the sugar has melted, swirl the pan occasionally
while you carefully wait for it to brown.
2. Make sure
to watch your sugar closely as it can turn from a lovely caramel color to burnt
very quickly, and then there is no saving it. Once the sugar has reached a deep
amber color (~350 degrees if you have a candy thermometer) add the butter all
at once. The caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Don't be afraid. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is
the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be
careful because the mixture will bubble. Whisk until all of the
cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel
and whisk to incorporate.
Sugar melting and bubbling.
Sugar, butter and cream.
Making caramel is fairly simple as long as you feel comfortable with the process. This recipe did work for me, but I think next time I will use the caramel recipe from Joy the Baker below. This caramel ends up a little thinner so keep that in mind when you are thinking about the end result you are looking for.
tablespoons light corn syrup
tablespoons unsalted butter
Add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring
once or twice. Bring to a boil and allow
to brown. Once sugar has browned to a
medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately add heavy cream and
butter. Mixture will boil and foam. Stir well.
Add salt and stir well to incorporate.