I got it from America's Test Kitchen. I found The Feed*, which has a bunch of one-minute tips, for things like making caramel and stretching pizza dough.
For those unfamiliar, America's Test Kitchen is ...
a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.
- 1 C sugar
- 2 TBL water
- 2 TBL corn syrup
- 1/8 tsp lemon juice
Combine everything in a bowl, and microwave 5 to 8 minutes, until it's a tan color.
The video says the range is because different microwaves have different strengths. I let mine go for five minutes, and then decided it wasn't tan enough, and let it go another minute. That, as you'll see, was a mistake.
Let it cool.
Obviously, be careful removing the bowl from the microwave. It'll be REALLY hot, and melted sugar burns, and doesn't come off your skin easily. Here are some safety tips from the master, David Lebovitz:
- * Caramel is very, very hot. And very sticky. Keep a deep bowl of water with lots of ice in it nearby if you’re a newbie: if some caramel lands on your hand, plunge it right into the ice water immediately. And wear an oven mitt just to be sure when handling hot pots.
- * Wear oven mitts and a long sleeve shirt. Caramel is hot and can splatter, especially when adding other ingredients to is
- * Use a sturdy large pot or pan that won’t overflow
- * Keep a deep bowl of icy water nearby to plunge your hand in if caramelized sugar lands on it
- * If you have glasses, wear them
And.. it's burnt. To the trash. Do you see the sacrifices I make for you people? Luckily, this is so easy, I can make it again.
Before I do, a couple of lessons learned:
- Make this in a non-stick bowl, if possible. It's caramel, and so really sticky.
- Have a plan for the caramel. Make it into a sauce, or toffee, or eat it with a spoon. But my original plan to pour the results into a bottle to keep in the fridge wouldn't have worked (it would get really thick, and stick to the bottle). Instead, I'll make a sauce (like this one, fromTracey's Culinary Adventures), and then pour that in a bottle. Unfortunately, I didn't find that link until after I burnt my first batch.
So the revised steps:
To the above ingredients, add 1/2 C heavy cream and 1 TBL butter, and maybe a pinch kosher salt. And the new instructions:
1. Mix everything except the cream, butter and salt.
2. Microwave 5-8 minutes // Cook until it's all liquid, and it's a tan color (it'll darken as it cools)
3. While that's cooking, heat the cream (it won't foam as much this way)
4. Let caramel cool on the counter for 5 minutes
5. Let the caramel cool/darken, until it's the right color. Then slowly add the warm cream, and then the butter. Mix well.
I may have blanked out and set the microwave for only 4:30, but after several minutes, it clearly wasn't dark enough, so I nuked it for 3 30-second bursts. And after that? It was pretty dark (and yeah, I was worried I'd ruined another batch), but I stuck to the plan.
I added the warm milk (SLOWLY!), and it foamed up. I wanted to get a picture, but figured it was more important to stir it and not let it overflow onto the counter.
Keep adding a little at a time and stirring. Eventually the milk and caramel will be the same temp and it won't foam. Then add the butter and stir until it's absorbed. let it cool (hey! I said let it cool.. you'll burn your tongue).
*Check out this homemade beer ice cream recipe from the feed.. definitely coming soon to a freezer near you.