Monday, November 28, 2011


Carmel is how I say it, not caramel.  You don't have to be Henry Higgins to know that I'm not all that high class.  And I tried three times to make a good sauce by that name.  

 It was to go with my husband's birthday pie.  The Whiskey Caramel Sauce was from a fellow blogger's site.  She had copied it from a well-known cookbook.  But there I was with the ingredients list in my head from reading the blog and not having paid that much attention to the actual process.  After all, you just put sugar and water together.  Apparently for making caramel sauce (no matter how many syllables you put in the word), the process is important.  I did remember that half of the water went into the pot with all the sugar.  What I didn't read was "do not stir".  So after stirring the mixture constantly for several minutes, I sprinted back to the computer to read what to do next.  Oh! "Do not stir until the mixture has turned a rich brown.  Then stand back, add the rest of the water and stir until blended."

Too late by a long shot.  Even stirring it counter-clockwise would not undo it.  I was sure it would be just fine.  Well, it sugared almost immediately. And it wasn't brown enough to have any real flavor other than the sugar and a little whiskey.  We used some on our pie and dumped out the rest.

A few days later I tried the recipe again.  I was very careful about putting in the sugar and making it even.  I poured the water ever so carefully over the sugar.  I did not stir.  This time (ACK!) I put in all the water instead of only half.

It was really my intention to do it right, so I emptied the slightly colored syrup into another container and started over.  This time I would put in sugar and water in the right proportions with no stirring.  All went as predicted.  The sugar syrup browned.  We added the flavor.  The sauce was good but not wonderful.

1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup sugar, not stirred, boiling

Properly done--average taste result
I really feel better not wasting things (the cup of sugar and whole cup of water) so I began pondering ways to use that second sauce attempt.  Salvage the syrup was one of the Things I get to do today.  I dumped the mistake into the pan and turned on the burner.  It bubbled and slowly darken to a good caramel color.  Then, on purpose, I broke all the rules.  I added a tablespoon of cream.  The result was good, so in went another 2 Tablespoons of cream.  Fantastic!  The sauce were so good that we wanted to skip the pie and just eat it with a spoon.  Maybe my inner cook wouldn't let me do the recipe from the book because there was a better recipe hanging out in my head. Say caramel any way you want--this sauce was good.
Salvaged sauce with 3 tablespoons of cream: Yum!

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