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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baking can be dangerous!

Hello everyone! How was your Wednesday? Today I want to talk about making a dessert that can be very dangerous while being extremely delicious. Make sure you wear long sleeves for this one! We are talking about making caramel! It's extremely important to always stay near your pot while cooking your sugar because once it starts darkening it moves quickly...and can easily burn. I'm going to give you the basic caramel recipe, followed by more complicated recipes. Here goes:

Caramel Sauce
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Mix the water and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pot
  2. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, without stirring. Watch it carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Brush the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent burning on the sides of the pot.
  3. Stand back to avoid splattering, and gradually add the cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean (or vanilla extract). 
  4. Simmer until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Serve warm, or add another 1/4 cup of heavy cream and serve room temperature.

Fleur de Sel Caramels
Ina Garten

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan (or loaf pan) with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.
  2. In a deep saucepan (6 inches diameter by 4 1/2 inches deep) combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don't stir - just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!
  3. In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
  4. When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel - it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
  5. When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Starting at 1 end, roll the caramel up tightly until you've rolled up half of the sheet. Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly. You will have 2 (1 by 8-inch) logs. Sprinkle both logs lightly with fleur de sel, cut each log in 8 pieces. Cut parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Baked Apples with Caramel Sauce
Emily Luchetti, Saveur 

  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 firm Fuji apples, stemmed and cored
  • Ice cream, for serving
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • 1⁄2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp. dark rum
  1. Make the baked apples: Heat oven to 325°. Combine sugar, syrup, butter, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Cut 1⁄4" from bottom of apples so that they sit flat; transfer apples to a 9" x 13" baking pan. Fill hollow cores with reserved sugar–syrup mixture. Cover apples with foil; bake until tender, about 50 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce: Heat sugar and 1⁄2 cup water in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until amber colored and a candy thermometer inserted into syrup reads 330˚, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let cool slightly. Add cream (caramel will bubble up slightly). Stir in raisins and rum; set aside. Serve apples with caramel sauce and ice cream.
Be safe while cooking...and happy baking!


  1. A serious yum on these entries! Good point about the caramel danger....but oh, the results are so worth it! And, bring on the apple recipes, Ms. Liz!

  2. I will find more apple recipes for you! :)