Sunday, November 4, 2018

Salted Dry Caramel

It was back in 2011, during my first year of blogging, that I first attempted to make a caramel sauce.
Back then I didn’t know the difference between wet and dry caramel. After attempting a few
different recipes and failing hard (have you ever seized sugar before? It’s not pretty), I found success
in an unlikely place – a recipe that ended up being a mash up of Martha Stewart’s favourite caramel
recipe… and Jimmy Fallon’s. This recipe has served me well - I’ve used it as a topping for lattes, ice
cream Sundays, cupcakes, and even popcorn on one occasion. Though my trusted Frankenstein of
recipes calls for the candy thermometer I can never find, and burns quicker than the window to use a
ripe avocado, it has been my go to recipe for all things caramel for the past 7 years. That was until I
discovered the beauty of dry caramel this summer. What is the difference between wet and dry caramel? I’m glad you asked.

‘Wet’ caramel is made with a combination of water and sugar , which is then boiled down until all of
the water evaporates, prolonging the caramelization process, and creating a myriad of complex
caramel flavours. It’s also prone to seizing if you don’t do it correctly (I’m looking at you past Jax).
‘Dry’ caramel on the other hand, requires heating the sugar dry, without the use of water. This
method is faster, and doesn’t require a candy thermometer since everything is happening so quickly,
and it’s easy to spot the second the caramel is ready. I find the flavour for this style of caramel can be
much more intense, and it’s just pure, melted sugar. So while wet and dry caramels are indeed
basically the same (caramelized sugar) they have different flavor profiles, and require slightly
different cooking methods. Both can be used in many of the same applications, though dry caramel
becomes much firmer as it cools than wet caramel does (think scooping vs drizzling). Whichever
style of caramel you prefer, this is a great recipe to keep on hand for the upcoming holiday season.

130g (1/2 cup) whipping cream
270g (1 1/8 cup) sugar
200g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) butter
3/4 tsp fleur de sel or salt

Heat cream until scalding. Set aside.

Place 1/4 of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.

Gently melt the sugar, swirling the saucepan around as needed.

Do not stir. Once the sugar is almost melted, sprinkle another quarter of the sugar into the saucepan, swirling again as needed. Repeat twice more until all of the sugar is completely melted and has turned amber in colour.

Remove from heat and slowly pour in the hot whipping cream. Be sure to pour slowly as the mixture will bubble up. Using a heatproof spatula or spoon, mix the caramel until smooth.

Mix in the butter and fluer de sel into the hot caramel until all of the butter is melted and incorporated. For extra smooth caramel, use an immersion blender. 

Transfer into jars, let cool, and refrigerate until set. 

Salted caramel will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.


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