Saturday, October 23, 2010

It won't do to dream of caramel, to think of cinnamon and long for you...

It won't do to dream of caramel, 
to think of cinnamon 
and long for you
 ~Suzanne Vega~
Car-mel, cara-mel, caramel, however you pronounce it, this must be the thing the angels serve up in Heaven. Dear God, one silky spoonful of this sauce, and you will never, I promise you, never buy the store bought stuff again. I have seen the light and it's golden.

I've had this recipe tucked away in a folder since 2005, when I first sampled it on Martha's Vineyard. Shame on me for waiting 5 years to make it. A big shout-out to Amy Miller, a family friend, and professionally trained pastry chef who specializes in cakes, pastry and all things chocolate. A reliable source tells me that Amy's grandfather was the head chocolatier (I don't know if that's a real word) at Hershey's. Now that's some serious confectionary credibility right there.
 I love that this recipe uses lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon cuts the sweetness that can often be cloying in many caramel sauces, and brightens the flavor considerably.
 Just a gentle squeeze from half a lemon will do it.
 This recipe calls for salted butter. I generally only have unsalted butter on hand, so I improvised with sea salt. How do I love thee salt?
 Use a wooden spoon while cooking the syrup. Metal conducts heat and this concoction is like molten lava.
 Keep the syrup at a gentle boil and watch carefully as it begins to turn golden.
 I used a metal spoon so the camera would pick up the color, but stick with wood!
 Now the syrup has turned a deep golden color. Watch it carefully and rely on your sense of smell as well as your eyes to avoid scorching the sugar, which would make it bitter and un-tasty.
 Okay, let me tell you, it was NOT easy to pour cream into molten sugar while taking the picture. I got lucky with this one!
I made sundae's for my kids, but this caramel sauce can be served warm or cool on just about anything - use your imagination.

Caramel Sauce (Adapted from Amy Miller's original recipe)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (or unsalted butter with 1/2 tsp. sea salt)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  1. Boil the syrup till it begins to turn golden around the edges.
  2. Lower the heat a bit, continue boiling to a deep golden color; it will darken rapidly.
  3. Meanwhile, combine and heat the butter and cream until warm and melted.
  4. Remove from the heat. Slowly, carefully add butter and cream - it will sputter and spatter up - Beware!
  5. Return to low heat, stir until completely melted and smooth. 
  6. Cool and serve hot or chilled.


Mary Anne said...

Cah-mul. I love it all over apples :)

sadie said...

Ha! I forgot the Boston pronunciation!

KK said...

caramel....omg omg all things caramel :) I would probably eat the whole batch myself, with a spoon !

Kate said...

your photos are exquisite! I love caramel and this looks so delicious... but the photos rock girl. You are getting better and better at this. xo

sadie said...

Thank you, one and all!

katerina said...

This caramel sauce looks so decadent. And the photos are great. I know how difficult it is to take pictures while you cook.

sadie said...

Thanks, Katerina! I've been working on the photo - nice to get positive feedback!!

radha said...

Came by when I saw your blog featured on Blog Roll. Great idea - something like Julie and Julia!! Do you prepare a recipe a day? Waiting for you to get to India.

sadie said...

Hi Radha! I'm almost in India and would love any ideas you have! I make at least 2 meals per week, sometimes more if I have time!

linaad19 said...

wow ... yummy!! And to think you did not bring any over for me to try ... the photos are terrific and your description perfect .. fabulous ... can't believe you are still working on this culinary trip around the world ... you go girl ...