How to make the perfect caramel.

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Making the perfect caramel is an art rather than just a cooking skill. There are a ton of things that could go wrong with making this luscious sweet concoction which can be used in at least a dozen ways. So here it is - the tricks and tips to make a foolproof batch of luscious golden caramel in just 5 easy steps!

Stay Clean and clear

First things first – make sure the utensil in which you prepare your caramel is clean and free of any impurities. Any kind of impurities in the sugar or in the vessel may alter the state of your caramel and cause it to recrystallize into clumps of sugar.

All you need is some sugar!

All you need to make a great caramel is sugar – preferably castor sugar, simply because it melts faster. Some people add in a splash of water to the sugar while preparing caramel, but we think it just prolongs the cooking time. Sugar already contains enough moisture which gets released when heated so you really don’t need to add any more.

Do not disturb

Cook the sugar over a medium heat.  You can never leave caramel unattended and at the same time you can’t really fiddle with it. Mixing with a spoon is a strict no-no, not only because of the chain reaction that makes the sugar recrystallize and your caramel clumpy, but also because cleaning the spoon later is a task best avoided.

The dark side

Once the edges start to brown you can gently swirl the pan around to ensure even caramelization of the sugar. When all the sugar has melted and gone light amber in colour that’s when you really need to pay attention because post this it will colour really fast and there is nothing you can do to salvage caramel once it is burnt.

Caution & Control

Take it off the heat once it starts to lightly foam and just before it reaches the colour you desire because it will continue to darken for a few more minutes. Also be careful about not touching the caramel with your bare hands at any stage, because sugar burns induce the wickedest kinds of pain.

Go caramel crazy!

With these 5 easy steps your batch of luscious golden silky smooth caramel is ready – make sure you use it quickly because once it cools it is going to set like hard candy. Add chopped nuts to make a brittle or layer it over custard to avoid the use of a blow torch in a crème brule. To clean up the pan just soak it in some warm soapy water for a couple of minutes (or hours) and then wash as usual!

Turn your caramel into caramel sauce

There are a ton of things you could do with a good caramel but preparing a creamy caramel sauce is out favourite and all it takes is 2 simple ingredients! Just add a spoon of butter and 5-6 tablespoons of fresh cream to one cup sugar that is caramelized and taken off the heat. Mix well and use. Right from topping brownies and cakes to filling chocolates and making delicious salted caramel frozen yogurts and ice creams. Caramels let your imagination go wild and your taste buds stay sweet!

Check out delicious dessert recipes on sanjeevkapoor.com made with this yummy sauce and keep the sweetness in your life intact!

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.