When I started to make caramel at home, I finally realized why I loved the taste so much. Butter, cream and sugar are basically the main ingredients in salted caramel (salt too obviously). If you've ever read my bio, you know I am basically IN LOVE with butter. And when I mean in love, I mean I can eat a chunk of it alone without the need for using unnecessary vehicles like bread. Same goes for cream. I sometimes pour a spoonful of heavy cream and have it as dessert. Well, I should have put spoonful with an S. So it's not wonder why salted caramel has such a hold on me.
Even though the ingredients list is short and simple, the process for making caramel can be a little tricky. There are a few things to keep in mind, some obvious and not so obvious. Timing is very important as you have to keep an eye on the mixture at all times. If you burn a caramel, the only thing you can do is cry and start again. You don't necessarily need a thermometer either, learning to judge the colour and consistency at each stage is key. One somewhat counterintuitive rule for making caramel is actually resisting the urge to stir it. You'll see why along with other tips on the bottom so make sure to read it before you start.
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To make the macarons, please use my Best Macaron Recipe
This delicious caramel recipe is adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction. Recipe is halved to make a small batch that can fill approximately 18 macarons. Remember to read my tips before starting.
100 grams refined granulated sugar (not brown or powdered sugar)
45 grams butter
60 ml cream
½ - 1 teaspoon salt depending on your tastes
vanilla extract or whiskey if desired
tall and thick pot
heat proof spatula
- Heat up cream in a small pan. Take off heat and set aside once you see it steam.
- In a tall pot, heat up the granulated sugar on medium heat. It will get clumpy, vigorous stirring is not necessary . The outer edges will develop more quickly, use a spatula to drag this darker sugar into the center and then tilt pan from side to side to move the mixture around. If sugar does form on the sides, move over it with a wet brush.
- Once the sugar is fully melted (it will be an amber colour, begin to smoke and foam a bit), immediately add the butter. The mixture will start to sizzle and bubble up so be careful. Let it boil for 1 minute until everything is incorporated. Stir occasionally to break up the bubbles.
- Slowly pour in the cream. The mixture will bubble up again, this time even higher. Let it boil for 1 minute. Stir occasionally to break up the bubbles.
- Remove from the heat, stir again and add salt (½ to 1 tsp.) according to your tastes.
- Add vanilla extract or whiskey if desired.
- Leave the caramel on the counter to cool down. The caramel will firm up once it starts cooling down.
Tips for caramel success:
- Safety first. Caramel can be really hot! Keep a bowl of ice water around in case there is splashing and use oven mitts to handle pots and while stirring.
- Make sure pots are spotlessly clean before you start.
- Use a large or tall pot to account for expansion since the mixture will bubble up furiously. A thicker pot will help distribute the heat evenly. Do not use non-stick pans since high heat can damage them or cause them to release toxins. If using copper, make sure it is unlined copper.
- Always use a medium (or even low-medium) heat to ensure you don't burn the sugar. Once it's burnt, there's no turning back.
- When melting the sugar, vigorous stirring is not necessary since pushing the sugars together will re-crystalize it and cause it to form into clumps. Tilt pan from side to side to move the mixture around.
- To avoid wide temperature fluctuations and make the cream easier to incorporate. Warm up the cream before you start making your caramel and slowly introduce it to the mixture by adding it in slowly. I like to heat the cream in a small pot with a handle and pour it in slowly. (The video shows me using a ramiken)
- At each stage, do not let the mixture over boil, this can bring the caramel to a hard crack stage and it will harden up like hard candy making it unusable for filling macarons.
Donut Macaron Template:
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Susie Tobin says
Just made caramel from scratch for the first time - thanks to you!
Just wondering after leaving salted caramel in fridge overnight it has hardened up. What is best way to use it?
Heat in microwave?
I have also heard of “whipping” caramel to make a filling - do you recommend this using your recipe?
Any tips on how to use/work with caramel after making it would be greatly appreciated?!
Thank you x
The caramel will soften once it comes back to room temperature, just leave it on the counter for at least 30 minutes and check on it to see the consistency. You don't need to heat it up again as it will harden it. I like to whip it with a meringue buttercream and pipe it as a ring and then fill the center with the caramel 🙂
Hi Mimi- first, your blog is amazing, thank you so much for sharing all of these amazing recipes and tips! I've finally managed to make a batch of the salted Carmel without burning the sugar, but I'm nervous about how oily it seems to be. Mostly I'm worried that the Carmel isn't the right consistency to mature my macaron cookies to the right softness inside. How long do you leave these ones before eating? Thanks in advance!
Yes, this Caramel filling has a little bit less moisture than buttercream or ganache. I would age them for about 2 nights. I haven't found it to be too oily. Make sure to watch up for large temperature fluctuations which can make the butter separate from the mixture.