Caramel is really easy to make, but I think people shy away from it because it is a little tempermental. It just takes a little bit of patience but NOTHING compares to warm fresh caramel. I am going to show you the basics and you can do with it what you want. I will also tell you how to vary the recipe a bit.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 stick butter
The first thing that has to be done is to grab a small pot. Caramel is best made in smaller batches, and I would say the amount of ingredients above make a good cup of caramel.
Place the pot on the stove and turn it up high. Pour the sugar into the pot. Wait about 20 seconds to let the sugar start to get hot and then all the water. Stir the ingredients together and get it dissolving.
Boil the mixture. Start on medium for a few minutes and then reduce the heat to medium low. Stir occasionally in the beginning (only a few times) and then don’t touch it. This is where people don’t want to put in the work; caramel has to be watched because it can go from white, to brown, to burned really fast. This will boil, about 10 minutes before you start to see color.
When the color starts to turn brown, watch it until it becomes a rich brown color. Once this takes place,the caramel is done, so add the butter.
Stir the mixture until all the butter is melted and the caramel stirs easily. Remove from heat. Pour onto parchment paper or a the other surface you intend to place the caramel on while it’s hot. Once you have used the caramel, fill the pot with water and boil it immediately to make sure to clean it, otherwise it will become much harder later to do. I usually add some vinegar or salt to the pot as well to help boil the sugar off.
-If you want to ONLY made caramel candy, do not add the butter. Pour the burnt sugar onto your surface and eat the pure cooked down sugar. Adding the butter gives it that creamier texture (don’t add too much though; the caramel will be oily).
-If you want caramel that does not harden, like caramel to put on ice cream or drizzle on cakes, add the butter but also add about the same amount of half and half (if you use 1/2 stick butter also add 4tbs of half and half, etc). This will keep the caramel viscous and pliable.
-If you want to make salted caramel, add salt to whatever recipe you do, except for caramel candy. Just sprinkle salt on the top of that. But salt goes really well in caramel that is pliable, like for ice cream. I make it all the time…