Everyone has a way of preparing caramel, hence the varying recipes; you can choose any additional ingredient you wish to include or the amount of recipe to use. For instance, some people find it tasteful with minimal, no, or more salt.
When preparing the caramel, you can add salt or leave it plain, though sprinkling salt would boost the taste. But that depends on your taste and preferences. Adding some salt will bring some memorable flavor and boost the caramel taste.
You have the freedom to decide, but before you do, you need to learn the standard preparation procedure
Salted caramel can be easy to prepare, especially with the right ingredients. All you need are four ingredients for the standard preparation procedure.
- Granulated or superfine sugar: Superfine sugar will be ideal since it melts much easier at lower temperatures than granulated sugar. Any of them can work effectively, but when using granulated sugar, you need to heat it longer to ensure it melts smoothly.
- Unsalted butter: If you trust salted butter, you can go with it, but the unsalted one allows you to determine salt you need for your caramel. The unsalted option is ideal for those who do not need any salt in the caramel. If you have issues determining the amount of salt needed for your recipe, the slated option will be ideal. Also, select butter from your favorite brand to boost the desired taste.
- Double or heavy cream: The choice of cream will determine how you prepare your caramel. For instance, heavy cream will require you to heat the caramel longer due to the water content, allowing some water to evaporate so that you remain with a viscous fluid. At this stage, you can also make other caramel products such as Dulce de leche by adding milk to the mixture.
- The choice of the cream to use will also be based on the levels of butter you need. Double cream has more butter than heavy hence suitable for those who need more fats.
- Salt: the amount of salt to use will determine the taste desired. However, you should try to keep the content proportional to the amount of caramel you are making. Excess salt affects the taste; everything turns salty instead of sweet.
- Place sugar in a saucepan over the heat.
- After the saucepan is hot enough, add some sugar and allow it to melt. Once it melts, you can stir it to allow the sugar to melt uniformly. Stirring also prevents the sugar from clamping together.
- If the sugar continues to clamp despite stirring, you need to reduce the heat levels. And stir until there are no more clamps.
- Stir as you observe the color changes. When the color changes to amber, you can add the butter.
- Continue stirring until all the butter melts. At this point, the caramel will begin bubbling; hence you need to be cautious to avoid burns. Stir from afar to avoid the bubbles.
- Continue heating and stirring until you have a foamy appearance.
- Add some cream to the mixture and continue stirring; however, you should be cautious due to the excess steam that the mixture produces due to the sudden cooling effect.
- Heat for about one and a half minutes while stirring.
- Remove from the heat, add salt, and stir to mix uniformly.
Tips to note
These tips will help you make the best sauce.
- You should observe the right temperatures when preparing your caramel to avoid crystallisation. Therefore, you need to have a thermometer to help you determine the temperature needs and to ensure you maintain an ideal viscosity.
- Caramel burns can be painful and leave behind blisters on the body, especially in sensitive areas such as the face. You should carefully prepare it and take certain precautions to avoid bubbling and spluttering.
- Whether you need a thermometer will depend on your experience making caramels. If you are experienced, you can observe the color change from light golden to amber and then add butter. Alternatively, you can rely on the temperature measurements to determine when to add the butter.
- Observe the viscosity: You do not want to make a caramel that is too fluid. Hence, in the last stage, you can begin tasting for viscosity after adding the cream and allowing it to heat for some time. You test the viscosity by scooping a spoon and allowing it to cool on a plate. When it is too fluid after cooling, continue heating; when it is thick enough, you can stop cooking.
- Boosting the flavor: The flavor and sweetness depending on how deep the caramel melts and boils. If you want a mellow caramel, add the butter when the color is light amber. If you want powerful flavors, add butter when the caramel has a deep amber color. However, avoid too deep amber color since it is a sign of burns, and the caramel may be too bitter than anticipated.
- Making your caramel thicker: If you want a thicker caramel, heat for a little while, especially after adding the cream. Heat at lower temperatures to increase the viscosity and the duration you take heating. If you need a lighter or thicker caramel, use more cream.
- Storing the caramel: You need to store the cream in the refrigerator to ensure you preserve it longer. Since it contains butter and cream, it will be good to preserve it to avoid the sauce going bad. At cool temperatures, your caramel will last for three weeks.
Caramel sauce is one of the easiest recipes to make, but you have a choice to make, especially on the salt amounts, viscosity, and intensity of the flavor. Following these tips and preparation procedures will help you prepare the best sauce.