I have loved caramel for as long as I can remember. I hunt for it in mixed chocolate boxes. I love it drizzled indelicately over ice cream.
Caramel and in particular salted caramel, has risen in recent times to be viewed next to macarons, sundried tomatoes and bomb alaskas as a food trend. A.A gill recently speculated salted caramel to be the food trend to define our current time. He could be right.
One reason it could be so popular is it’s versatility. It’s great eaten with a spoon straight from the jar, perfect on a vanilla ice cream, a spoonful dolloped in the middle of you muffin or cup cake batter will give a welcomed surprise, chocolate fondants pair well with caramel, fill your biscuits or macarons with buttercream icing sweetened with the salted caramel or make a simple chocolate truffle by rolling some caramel in a thick chocolate ganche.
When making your own caramel there are a few rules to follow. The first, don’t stir or agitate or caramelising sugar, it will encourage sugar crystals. The second, don’t walk away from the caramelising sugar, it may seem like it’s never going to get colour, but trust me when it starts it happens very quickly. The third, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t quite work the first time, just try again learning from your mistakes.
Here is my contribution to the trend we call salted caramel.
Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel
1/2 cup cream
1/2 vanilla Bean, cut and seeds sraped
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 dessert spoons liquid glucose
1/4 cup water
1 pinch of sea salt flakes
In a sauce pan place the cream and the scraped vanilla bean and seeds. On a medium heat just bring to a boil, then remove form heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. once infused strain and put to one side, discarding the vanilla bean.
In a deep sauce pan add the caster sugar, water and liquid glucose. On a medium low heat, slowly heat the mixture until the sugar is dissolved and starting to bubble.
Don’t move or stir the mixture once at this stage or you will encourage crystalisation of the sugar.
Turn the heat up to medium and heat until the sugar mixture is the colour of amber. Remove from the heat and add the strained cream and stir until the mixture has come together into a smooth consistence (watch out when you add the cream, it has a tendency to bubbly and steam with fury so keep hands and faces away). Add the salt to taste and stir through.
Cool slightly and then pour into a jar. Store in the fridge.
Liquid glucose can be found in the baking isle of most supermarkets or get it online.
If you don’t have a vanilla bean handy substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla extract or to taste.
To make regular caramel simply leave out the sea salt flakes.
How do you enjoy your caramel?