Caramel 101

Caramel 101


Yields1 Serving

If you’ve ever struggled with caramel, crystalising it in the pan or burning it, then this guide will take you through making the perfect caramel at home, step by step.

First, we will compare a wet and a dry caramel, which are the best caramels for decorations, such as caramel spirals or for a croquembouche.

Then we look at my favourite caramel sauce which stays perfectly liquid at room temperature, before finishing with chewy caramel sweets.


 


 

Ingredients


Wet Caramel
 25 g Water
 200 g Caster Sugar
Dry Caramel
 200 g Caster Sugar
Liquid Caramel (Glucose)
 175 g Double/Heavy Cream
 45 g Whole Milk
 135 g Liquid GlucoseDivided into two separate quantities - 90g + 45g
 80 g Caster Sugar
 60 g Unsalted Butter, Cubed + Cold
 Flaked Sea SaltOptional
Chewy Caramel Sweets
 125 g Double/Heavy Cream
 250 g Caster Sugar
 50 g Liquid Glucose
 160 g Unsalted Butter, Cubed + Room Temperature
 Flaked Sea Salt
Equipment

Method


Wet Caramel
1

Into a small saucepan, add the water, followed by the sugar.

2

Place the pan on a medium low heat, and allow the mixture to bubble away. Do not stir it.

3

Once the caramel is beginning to turn a light golden colour all over, you can begin to whisk it and continue cooking until you have a golden colour. The caramel can now be removed from the heat to cool and thicken slightly and then it will be ready to use for decorations such as caramel spirals or for a croquembouche.

4

The wet caramel will caramelise quite quickly, especially from the residual heat in the pan once you remove it from the hob. So it can be best to remove it from the heat when it is a lighter golden colour then continue to cook it off the heat, or really lower the temperature once you start to whisk it.

5

If you need to cool the pan quickly and stop it from caramelising, dunk the pan in some ice water.

Dry Caramel
6

They key to a dry caramel is adding the sugar in small increments. You can use this technique to make as much or as little caramel as you want.

7

Add a thin layer of sugar to the bottom of a small saucepan - roughly 20/30g. Shake the pan slightly to disperse it and flatten it across the bottom of the pan.

8

Place it on a medium low heat and do not stir it.

9

Once the outer edges of the caramel have started to melt and have turned a light golden colour, use a rubber spatula to gently press the hot caramel from the edges, towards the centre, in order to melt the sugar in the middle. The hot melted caramel should very quickly melt the undissolved sugar.

10

Once all the sugar has dissolved, add your next part of sugar, again only a small amount. Sprinkle it into the centre of the melted sugar, and use the spatula again, to gently press the hot caramel from the edges, towards the centre, in order to melt the sugar in the middle.

11

Once dissolved, keep repeating this process. The sugar will begin to darken the further you get through the process and at this point, the 'fresh' sugar can be stirred in very quickly as it will melt immediately. Keep adding sugar until you have your required amount of caramel and you are happy with the golden colour.

12

The caramel can now be removed from the heat to cool and thicken slightly and then it will be ready to use for decorations such as caramel spirals or for a croquembouche.

Liquid Caramel (Caramel Sauce)
13

Into a small saucepan, add the milk, cream & glucose (45g). Place this onto a medium low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the glucose. This mixture needs to be hot but not boiling, when we add it to the caramel mixture.

14

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, add the glucose (90g) and the sugar. Place this onto a medium heat. Wait for the glucose to start to boil before using a rubber spatula to stir it together.

15

As you stir, the sugar lumps will dissolve. Continue to cook it to a deep caramel colour.

16

Immediately pour in the hot cream in a steady stream and whisk it constantly. Then add the butter and continue to whisk over a medium low heat.

17

Once the butter has dissolved, continue to cook it for 1 minute.

18

Remove it from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve, into a tall jug.

19

Add in a heavy pinch of sea salt flakes if you want salted caramel, and then blend with a hand blender to emulsify.

20

The hot caramel can be used immediately or stored at room temperature with cling film on the surface.

21

It can also be refrigerated - it will thicken a bit more but still be pipeable. If you need a looser consistency, simply place it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it and stir it together until smooth.

Chewy Caramels
22

Lightly grease a 6x6" square frame and place this onto a silcon mat - you can also pour the mixture into another mold/shape.

23

Into a small saucepan, add the cream and place it over a medium low heat so that is is steaming (stir it occasionally)

24

Meanwhile, add the glucose and sugar to a medium saucepan. Place this over a medium heat, and wait for the glucose to start to bubble.

25

Once bubbling, stir the mixture with a rubber spatula. The sugar will be lumpy initially but will dissolve as you cook it.

26

Cook the caramel, until it reaches 200-210C on a digital thermometer. The higher the temperature, the darker the caramel will be.

27

Immediately pour in the hot cream and whisk this through.

28

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cubed butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is all dissolved in.

29

Place it back on the heat and cook it until it reaches 120C on a digital thermometer. This is an important temperature in order to achieve the chewy flexible texture.

30

Remove it from the heat and whisk through a good pinch of flaked sea salt, and then pour it into the lightly greased square frame.

31

Let it set at room temperature for 2-3 hours before cutting into chewy caramels.

Ingredients

Wet Caramel
 25 g Water
 200 g Caster Sugar
Dry Caramel
 200 g Caster Sugar
Liquid Caramel (Glucose)
 175 g Double/Heavy Cream
 45 g Whole Milk
 135 g Liquid GlucoseDivided into two separate quantities - 90g + 45g
 80 g Caster Sugar
 60 g Unsalted Butter, Cubed + Cold
 Flaked Sea SaltOptional
Chewy Caramel Sweets
 125 g Double/Heavy Cream
 250 g Caster Sugar
 50 g Liquid Glucose
 160 g Unsalted Butter, Cubed + Room Temperature
 Flaked Sea Salt
Equipment

Directions

Wet Caramel
1

Into a small saucepan, add the water, followed by the sugar.

2

Place the pan on a medium low heat, and allow the mixture to bubble away. Do not stir it.

3

Once the caramel is beginning to turn a light golden colour all over, you can begin to whisk it and continue cooking until you have a golden colour. The caramel can now be removed from the heat to cool and thicken slightly and then it will be ready to use for decorations such as caramel spirals or for a croquembouche.

4

The wet caramel will caramelise quite quickly, especially from the residual heat in the pan once you remove it from the hob. So it can be best to remove it from the heat when it is a lighter golden colour then continue to cook it off the heat, or really lower the temperature once you start to whisk it.

5

If you need to cool the pan quickly and stop it from caramelising, dunk the pan in some ice water.

Dry Caramel
6

They key to a dry caramel is adding the sugar in small increments. You can use this technique to make as much or as little caramel as you want.

7

Add a thin layer of sugar to the bottom of a small saucepan - roughly 20/30g. Shake the pan slightly to disperse it and flatten it across the bottom of the pan.

8

Place it on a medium low heat and do not stir it.

9

Once the outer edges of the caramel have started to melt and have turned a light golden colour, use a rubber spatula to gently press the hot caramel from the edges, towards the centre, in order to melt the sugar in the middle. The hot melted caramel should very quickly melt the undissolved sugar.

10

Once all the sugar has dissolved, add your next part of sugar, again only a small amount. Sprinkle it into the centre of the melted sugar, and use the spatula again, to gently press the hot caramel from the edges, towards the centre, in order to melt the sugar in the middle.

11

Once dissolved, keep repeating this process. The sugar will begin to darken the further you get through the process and at this point, the 'fresh' sugar can be stirred in very quickly as it will melt immediately. Keep adding sugar until you have your required amount of caramel and you are happy with the golden colour.

12

The caramel can now be removed from the heat to cool and thicken slightly and then it will be ready to use for decorations such as caramel spirals or for a croquembouche.

Liquid Caramel (Caramel Sauce)
13

Into a small saucepan, add the milk, cream & glucose (45g). Place this onto a medium low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the glucose. This mixture needs to be hot but not boiling, when we add it to the caramel mixture.

14

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, add the glucose (90g) and the sugar. Place this onto a medium heat. Wait for the glucose to start to boil before using a rubber spatula to stir it together.

15

As you stir, the sugar lumps will dissolve. Continue to cook it to a deep caramel colour.

16

Immediately pour in the hot cream in a steady stream and whisk it constantly. Then add the butter and continue to whisk over a medium low heat.

17

Once the butter has dissolved, continue to cook it for 1 minute.

18

Remove it from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve, into a tall jug.

19

Add in a heavy pinch of sea salt flakes if you want salted caramel, and then blend with a hand blender to emulsify.

20

The hot caramel can be used immediately or stored at room temperature with cling film on the surface.

21

It can also be refrigerated - it will thicken a bit more but still be pipeable. If you need a looser consistency, simply place it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it and stir it together until smooth.

Chewy Caramels
22

Lightly grease a 6x6" square frame and place this onto a silcon mat - you can also pour the mixture into another mold/shape.

23

Into a small saucepan, add the cream and place it over a medium low heat so that is is steaming (stir it occasionally)

24

Meanwhile, add the glucose and sugar to a medium saucepan. Place this over a medium heat, and wait for the glucose to start to bubble.

25

Once bubbling, stir the mixture with a rubber spatula. The sugar will be lumpy initially but will dissolve as you cook it.

26

Cook the caramel, until it reaches 200-210C on a digital thermometer. The higher the temperature, the darker the caramel will be.

27

Immediately pour in the hot cream and whisk this through.

28

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cubed butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is all dissolved in.

29

Place it back on the heat and cook it until it reaches 120C on a digital thermometer. This is an important temperature in order to achieve the chewy flexible texture.

30

Remove it from the heat and whisk through a good pinch of flaked sea salt, and then pour it into the lightly greased square frame.

31

Let it set at room temperature for 2-3 hours before cutting into chewy caramels.

Caramel 101