Monday, May 16, 2011

#18 Salted Caramel

Well, this one has been a long time coming. My coworker, Lizsl, has been requesting it ever since I started making ice cream because it's one of her favorite flavors OF ALL TIME.

The first thing I had to do was figure out how to make caramel. I've never done that before, although I've seen it being made a few times. So I enlisted the assistance of a superstar cook, Travis, who makes awesome caramel popcorn, but it turns out the caramel he makes for the popcorn is corn syrup based rather than sugar based, so we scoured the internet for a real sugar-based caramel recipe that could be transformed into tasty delicious ice cream!

Earlier in the day I found a salted caramel recipe that I liked, but it was for a more chewy type of caramel candy. The recipe is here: I might try to make these one day, perhaps for someone's birthday in December.

We found a caramel sauce recipe on the same website. I'm not the best baker, but with the help of I think I might just be able bake some tasty treats some day! Her site looks awesome. There's so many yummy-looking recipes on there. Check it out!

Here's the caramel sauce recipe:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

AND (my addition) 1 1/2 teaspoons course sea salt

1. Put sugar in saucepan.
2. Cover with water, medium heat, bring to boil, do not stir or disturb.
After about 10 minutes a golden amber color should appear. Well, this didn't happen for me. Instead the sugar began to crystallize. It was very traumatic, like in Return to Oz when you touch the forbidden desert and turn to sand! Only not exactly. We were about to scratch the batch when I had a bout of intuitive inspiration and poured some more water into it and turned up the heat. The sugar crystals dissolved and the golden amber color appeared almost instantly!
4. Add the cream and whisk away! I used the whisking attachment on the immersion blender. This also helped to dissolve the remaining sugar crystals.
After it's well mixed (smooth and silky) then add the vanilla and sea salt.
6. Take off the heat. The sauce thickens as it cools. It cools faster in the refrigerator.

I think this recipe made about 2 cups of caramel sauce.

For the ice cream I used 1 1/2 cups of the salted caramel sauce as the base and then added 3 cups of half & half. Yes, I'm trying half & half this time instead of heavy cream. Just because.

I sprinkled a few course sea salt crystals on top of the ice cream after it had frozen, which added a little extra salty kick. Although I might recommend serving this ice cream with a little sea salt on the side so the devourer can add as much or as a little salt as they desire. This ice cream truly captures the essence of the salted caramel flavor.

According to Lizsl there's only one word that describes it: Heaven!

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