Check out these beauties! I have been waiting for this day, the day when I can say " sugar+heat+butter and cream=caramel and not a burnt foul smelling shellac". I used this recipe from Gourmet. My first attempt on Saturday failed. It was a combination of the humid weather and my own hesitation second guessing a broken thermometer. Once poured the caramel would not firm up. Oh well guess I'll just have a jar of caramel sauce sitting around in the fridge, bummer. So on Sunday, I took David Lebotwitz's advice and decided to rely on my eyes and nose (a risky method indeed, when so close to the bubbling amber) which worked! I think, much like custard, caramel only yields to you once you devote time to learning it's subtle signals. Just think of all the variations, liquors and spices, chocolates, and flavors that await. My only advice is get lots of sugar and cream, so you do not feel bad if you screw it up and wear an oven mit when pouring the cream and butter into your pot. Hot cream hurts like a hornet.
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 1 teaspoon fleur de sel*
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup water
parchment paper, a deep-fat thermometer
Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.
Bring cream, butter, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.