21 September 2014

Let's Talk Caramel

When it comes to fall, 
what else is right up there with pumpkins? 

Caramel.  And apples. 

Let us first clarify something, 
something most people get wrong.  
That that includes 99% of baristas, btw--they really
ought to know better...and they should probably not 
attempt to "correct" those who pronounce it correctly. 

Caramel, pronounced CARE-UH-MEL,
refers to the candy.
Carmel (car-mel) is a place.
To ask for carmel apples or a salted carmel mocha
really does not make any sense.
Please feel free to pass this info on so that,
together, we can enlighten all this fall.
Grammer Nazi has spoken.

Making your own caramel sauce not only gives you a
superior flavor but it also allows you to cut out
the nasty corn syrup and preservatives you're 
probably going to get when you buy it.

I just made this recipe from Cake Duchess this morning
but there are a lot of recipes out there.  
This seems to have a little more butter than I'd like
so I may tweak it next time...or I may try yet another
as I have a little "try new recipe" fetish.
And I added vanilla.  I like it with vanilla.
Yet, this one makes just the right amount--  
fits perfectly in this large jelly jar that I store it in.  

Because I can't say no, I happen to have a large
collection of Knotts jelly jars in all sizes.
You know I make all my own jelly so they aren't 
because I hold a membership to some monthly club!
(Have you noticed that this happens when you're crafty? 
 People give you things so that they might avoid the guilt of tossing 
perfectly good things--they know you'll find a good use for them.  
It's a bit of a curse, really...)
It took me a couple years but I've lately been finding
some great uses for them.  This size seems to be
perfect for sauces.  I have one that I refill 
for my daughter and her house-mates.
I have smaller ones that I use for my dried herbs.
(This isn't one of those "curse" times.)

Making caramel is a quick, simple process but you 
do need to keep a few things in mind:

1)  Too dark = too burnt.
Basically, you're burning sugar anyway but you can
take it too far.  Just about every recipe includes
pictures but it's all about experience.
I threw away a batch or two myself when I first 
started making it.  Fortunately, it's not expensive.

2)  It really is a quick recipe.
As in, you need to have everything ready
and handy before you even turn on the stove.

3)  Be prepared to never buy it again.
You'll be spoiled.  
Welcome to Food Snobbery.

Taking this down to my football-watching crew
right now.  I love buffalo wings as much as the next
football fan but hey, this is almost as good and much
healthier.  We'll eat wings later...


Debbie said...

I so agree...nothing like the homemade version. I usually lighten it a bit with half and half but will try this one too.

Katy Cameron said...

You'll be pleased to know that we know how to pronounce caramel here. Mainly because about 90% of the population have never heard of Carmel to mix it up I suspect ;o)

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