11 Tips for making amazing caramel sauce every time!

caramel sauce

If you are a beginner baker or do a lot of baking, you have probably come across a recipe that calls for caramel sauce. As delicious as this ingredient is, I never have it in my pantry. It is deliciously creamy and flavorful but quite easy to make.

There are a few mistakes that can make this a daunting task. Here are my tips for making an amazing caramel sauce.

 1.  A well-lit kitchen  is your friend

When cooking sugar without a candy thermometer or by color, do so in a well-lit kitchen. In a dimly lit kitchen, your sugar may look lighter or darker than it is. Also, use a lighter-colored pan so you can see how dark your sugar is getting accurately.

2.    Use a deep heavy-bottomed pot

When cooking sugar, you need a thick pot or heavy-bottomed pans. The reason for this is that the thick pans provide a more even heat distribution. Even heating of the sugar will prevent some parts of the pot from burning faster and ruining your recipe. These pots also have heatproof handles that will let you handle them with ease.

A deep saucepot is also essential.  This will ensure that your caramel does not boil over and burn you.

3.    Read the recipe fully

Caramel is easy to make when you follow the recipe and instructions. Before you start making a caramel sauce, read the instructions and understand the ‘why’ questions. Why should I not stir the boiling sugar? Why should I boil the sugar covered with the pot lid for a little while?

4.    Lay out all your ingredients before you begin

Before you begin cooking sugar, you should measure and set out all your ingredients. Walking away for a few seconds to go get something could result in burnt sugar. Set out all your ingredients close by for easy access.

5.    Newbie? The Wet caramel method is better

There are two methods for making a  caramel sauce, the dry and the wet method. The dry method involves heating the sugar in the pot until it liquefies. This method is faster and the risk of burning your sugar is higher.

 The wet method though involves adding water to the sugar and cooking it. The longer cooking periods causes a better development of flavor. When the water evaporates, the liquid sugar remains.

The wet method of making caramel helps to ensure even cooking and a better flavor.  Beginner bakers tend to have more success with this method.

6.    Low heat is better                           

When cooking sugar, low heat is better. This is because sugar can burn quickly. If you cook your sugar on a low flame, your sugar has a longer cooking time and you will be able to watch the rate at which the sugar browns.  When you are more experienced at cooking sugar, you can do so at a higher heat and have an idea of how fast it takes to make caramel. 

7.    Have a wet brush on hand

If you have gotten some sugar crystals on the sides of the pan, brush the sides of the pan with a wet brush. As the water runs down, it will wash down sugar crystals and cause it to dissolve.

8.    Salt, liquor or flavoring for depth of flavor

Caramel sauce usually contains sugar, butter and milk or heavy cream. To improve the flavor of this sweet treat, add a little salt. If you drink alcohol, a tablespoon or two of rum or brandy can add some dimension to the flavor profile of your caramel sauce. 

Flavoring your caramel sauce also helps it pair better with some desserts.  Add a tablespoon of coconut rum to your caramel sauce for a glaze or drizzle that will compliment a coffee cake beautifully.

9.    Burnt Sugar = Fresh Start

If you burnt your sugar, do not continue with the caramel making process. The result of making a caramel sauce with burnt sugar will be bitter and very inedible. If you burn your sugar, put your pan in the sink, fill it with water and put it back on the stove for a few minutes.

Before you begin the process again, wash your pan properly and get off any burnt residue. It could ruin your next batch of caramel.

10.    Add a little acid or different type of sugar to stop re-crystallization after your caramel is cooked.

A little lemon juice or cream of tartar are some acids that you can use stop the re-crystallization process.  You can replace some sugar with glucose or corn syrup to prevent the sugar from crystallizing while or after cooking.

11. My caramel sauce is too thick when cool, what do i do?

Too thick caramel sauce occurs when you cook your sugar too long. This could also happen in recipes that require you put your caramel sauce back on the heat for a few seconds after adding your butter and cream. To solve this problem, heat up some milk or cream but do not boil it and add your caramel sauce to the milk/ cream. Stir the caramel sauce and milk/ cream till it is fully incorporated and take it off the heat. 

These tips are beneficial in perfecting how to make a caramel sauce. However, one essential tip is to be SAFE. Liquid sugar is incredibly hot and is dangerous when mixed with room temperature liquids.  Do not handle your sauce pot carelessly when making caramel.

If you have some tips for making caramel sauce, leave it it in the comment section, i love reading your contributions.

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