salted caramel sauce
More appropriately, this post would be called “burnt salted caramel sauce” or perhaps “why you should always make caramel with white sugar”.
I prefer using cane sugar for just about everything. Part of my whole “the less refined the better” kick. And normally that’s fine. Baking, coffee, etc. And then I decided that I wanted to make a caramel sauce to spice up a chocolate gateau I was making and put to use some cream I had in the fridge with a looming expiration date. (And when I say looming, I mean it had already past.)
Despite the fact that there was one that looked fabulous from smitten kitchen, I didn’t have salted butter. Now granted, I could have just added salt, but logic doesn’t always rule in the KC kitchen, so my google search continued. Fleur de sel caramel sauce came up with a recipe from a blog called Cork and Rind.
Since Mr. KC has offered his help, I asked him to read the recipe to tell me how much sugar. No problem.
Mr. KC: “1/2 sugar”
Me: “That doesn’t help me, I need the measurement.”
Mr. KC: “1/2 sugar. That’s what it says”
Me: “1/2 of what?! Let me see that.”
And sure enough the recipe called for 1/2 sugar. I took a leap of faith/utilized common sense to deduce that it was a 1/2 cup and carried on. Note to self: Check previous recipes posted at some point to make sure ingredients are listed properly.
The real lesson came after adding the sugar and the water to the pot. A crucial part of making caramel is, well, the caramelizing process. And how does one judge that? Right, the color.
Use cane sugar and this is what you get.
Oh, what a pretty amber color you might say. Except for the fact that this was IMMEDIATELY after adding the water. The color never really changed. This was the color for the entire time. So, when one sense fails you, another picks up the slack. I spent the next 10 minutes with my nose in the air above the steaming pot, waiting for that moment when it went from smelling like nothing to smelling like caramel.
The verdict: Stick to using your eyes. While using my nose worked, it worked only in being about 10 seconds behind resulting in a very nice burnt caramel taste, but not what I was out to achieve. Either way, we still ate every scrap of it, and it complemented the chocolate gateau nicely (recipe to come).
Salted Caramel Sauce
from Cork and Rind
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup WHITE sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 (scant) teaspoon fleur de sel (or coarse kosher salt)
- Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
- Stir the water and the sugar to make sure that it dissolves evenly.
- Turn up heat to medium-high until water-sugar mixture simmers.
- Continue to stir as the sugar begins to caramelize.
- Let simmer about 10 minutes until mixture begins to turn amber.
- Watch closely and continue cooking until mixture is entirely amber brown,
- Turn heat to medium low and add in heavy cream. Be careful here, kids, the mixture bubbles up with the addition of the cream and we don’t want any more burns.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and fleur de sel or kosher salt.
- Stir evenly incorporate butter and salt.
- Pour over anything resembling dessert. Enjoy!