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Caramel/Caramelized Sugar [MERGED TOPIC]


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I make a dry caramel for flan. Also, the advice above is good... you need to let your flan rest for a few hours before unmolding, otherwise the caramel will not be saucy enough to come out with the flan (it will just remain attached to your flan pan).

 

Something I have not seen anyone mention, be careful while making your caramel syrup, that sugar is hot!. If it lands on your skin it will burn and stick to your skin. Keep a bowl of ice water near while making caramel and if you get any hot sugar / caramel on your skin, plunge it in the ice water.

 

Here is a link to some good caramel information from David Lebovitz http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/01/how-to-make-the/

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Just thought I'd add that the "trick" with a dry caramel is not to add all the sugar at once. Start with a small amount, let it melt, and then add the rest of the sugar slowly, stirring it into the melted stuff. This way you will avoid burns.

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I was about to make a flan this afternoon, and, in reviewing some recipes for making the caramel sauce, I came across a few that suggested adding lemon juice to the sugar mixture.  What's the purpose of doing that?

 ... Shel


 

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Any general suggestions for making a caramel sauce?  Thanks!

Well while we're at it, it's probably worth mentioning that the flavour you get from your caramel will depend on the temperature you take your sugar to, which corresponds to the colour of caramel. The darker the caramel the stronger the flavour, and the more bitter it is. A lighter caramel will have a milder flavour and can taste more sweet.

As I have gotten older I have really appreciated the richness of a dark caramel that is almost burnt, and for me that's the fun and challenging part of making a caramel - getting the sugar as far as possible without burning it. I'm happy to put my hand up and say that even though making a caramel is simple, making a caramel that is rich and dark and exactly the right colour is not trivial. Luckily sugar is cheap, I've burned more than a few sauces before... definitely takes practise. I usually see a bit of smoke.

While it sounds like you are making creme caramels, you can also make a lovely caramel sauce using just sugar, cream and milk. I use a ratio of 4:4:3 for sugar, cream and milk (400g sugar, 400g cream, 300g milk). Make a caramel and pour in the cream and milk. It will bubble up like crazy and you have to be careful not to get a steam burn, but after it settles down you stir it to dissolve it all together and you'll have a delicious caramel sauce.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 9 months later...

Hi!  What is the secret to getting sugar to the hard crack stage with it turning too dark?  I've tried it several times, and each time, when it starts to reach the required temperature (300F), it gets decidedly dark.  Am I doing something wrong? 

-Audrey

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1) Make sure your thermometer is calibrated and correct. Do not use a temp gun on sugar, it won't work correctly. (even if it did, you're mostly getting surface temps, which are not enough information)

 

2) Increase temperature slowly, and pull the pan off the fire just as it hits temperature, and shock the pan as quickly as possible. Have your bowl of ice water prepped before starting to cook the sugar. (this may also be useful in case of an accidental sugar burn to the skin)

 

3) Use a pan sized to fit the amount of sugar you are cooking -don't let the sugar be too thin, like 2oz in a 12" pan is too large of a pan.

 

4) Use a fairly heavy pan, not as heavy as cast iron though, but, also one with good conductive properties. This IS the time to use an expensive copper pot. Make sure the pan is well made, and level. -A cheap warped pan will not heat evenly. You want something that heats evenly and well, but will also cool quickly in the ice water bath.

 

5) Make sure the pot is clean. I have a sugar-work pot that I wrap in clingfilm after washing and drying so that it does not accumulate dust or microscopic oil droplets from the air in the kitchen. Every once in a while, I boil the whole pot inside of large stockpot to make sure that it's really, really clean. Once it's wrapped in clingfilm, I hide the pot so that no one can find it and possibly unwrap it and stick their (grubby) fingers inside.

 

Hope this helps!

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Thank you Lisa Shock.  That post is a saver for sure.  I'll have the ice water at hand from now on.  And I like the clingfilm idea.  My candy pots are mine only and no one will ever/has ever/>:(  used them except for me. 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Thank you, Lisa and Chocolat.  I think I did everything wrong.  The pan wasn't spic and span, I am always in a hurry, so I rushed it a bit, and I didn't do the cold water thing because I wanted to make a caramel cage, so I needed the syrup to stay liquid for at least a few minutes. 

I am going to take your suggestions and try it again.  I wonder how they make lollipops completely clear.

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4 hours ago, Bakerchic said:

 I didn't do the cold water thing because I wanted to make a caramel cage, so I needed the syrup to stay liquid for at least a few minutes. 

 

 

You can dip the pan in cold water to stop the cooking and re-warm as needed to keep it liquid.  For a cage, having the caramel somewhat cool will make it thicker and easier to work with - when it's really hot it's too runny.

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Well, it worked like a charm!  I scrubbed the pot and rinsed it with vinegar, used 1/3 corn syrup and 2/3 sugar, simmered it slowly and watched it carefully.  I don't know if my thermometer is calibrated, so I did the cold water test.  It was hard crack at 300, but it was still only the palest amber.  I was able to get it to about 315 without getting too dark.  I was making cracker jacks, so I let it proceed to the deep caramel stage and it might have been 325. 

Thank you, again! 

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