Hi all- hoping you can help. Yesterday I made the Martha Stewart recipe for salted caramel cupcakes. (chocolate cupcake filled with homemade caramel) I used a candy thermometer and got the sugar mixture up to 360 degrees per the recipe instructions. I also made sure to wash down the sides of the pan with water to prevent crystallization. Even when I test tasted the caramel after it was done cooking and before putting it in the cupcake, it was perfectly smooth and yummy.
It wasn't until it had been in the cooled cupcake for 30 minutes that it turned gritty.
Any suggestions as to what I may have done wrong? Anyone have a good salted caramel cupcake recipe that I might try?
How did you wash down the sides of your pan? If you used a pastry brush it is possible that you re-introduced a small amount of undissolved sugar into your caramel. Even a small amount of un or even under dissolved sugar can trigger the crystallization process in the whole batch. I use a trick I learned in culinary school - use a spray bottle filled with water to wash down the sides of your pan. There's less of a chance of re-introducing sugar crystals than with a pastry brush. It's been a while since I've done any sugar work, but I also think that at some point you should stop washing down the sides of your pan. Anybody else know for sure?
I agree with last comments. There are so many things that could cause recrystalization of the sugar causing that gritty texture: something in the sugar initially, stirring the sugar during cooking process, a grain of sugar falling back into the melted caramel, etc. make sure all equipment is super clean to begin with, use good brand of sugar to begin with, do not stir caramel once it's melting, swirl your pot, do not wash down sides of pot after it reaches 280
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll be certain that all of my equpment is extra clean and I'll try the spray mister technique.
Also, adding some corn syrup to the cooking caramel helps to prevent the crystallization. You can even stir it while cooking and it won't become gritty.