I was trying a new recipe today and the homemade caramel filling was a total disaster. This is the recipe:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/salted-caramel-cupcakes-with-pecan-coconut-brittle-crumble-and-caramel-swiss-buttercream-recipe.html
(Only the caramel filling)
It seemed to take a really long time to come to an "amber" color and once it did, I turned off the heat and added the butter. It bubbled like CRAZY and never totally incorporated. I then added the heavy cream and again - it seemed to totally separate and instead of coming to a lovely, creamy caramel consistency it turned into some watery mess on top and chunks of stuff on the bottom. What the heck happened??
"chunks of stuff" = chunks of crystallized sugar
"watery stuff" = thin caramel
Why would the sugar re-crystalize???
AI don't have an answer, but the water seems like a weird addition. How is water and butter supposed to incorporate? I have three other recipes I found for this type of cupcake. None of them have water or corn syrup in them http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2011/09/20/salted-caramel-cupcakes/
http://themerrythought.com/uncategorized/salted-caramel-cupcakes/ I use the buttercream recipe from this one.
This one has good pics. http://www.browneyedbaker.com/homemade-salted-caramel-sauce-recipe/
Seems like that method works.
Hmmmm.... water & butter. Very good point!
Sooo....I now have some really yummy, really watery caramel "sauce". Any idea on how I can thicken it up to use as a filling? I don't mind tossing it as it is just a trial run - but I h.a.t.e. totally wasting $$.
did you stir it while it cooked?
Have you tried reheating the whole thing? Maybe some heat and vigorous beating with a whisk will bring it all together. I hate waste too, good luck !
i want to suggest that you invest in a candy thermometer -- because there's a huge range of temperature in there when you get to amber and you can go over in a heartbeat --
and overall i have not been pleased with recipes from food network -- i always balance them out with a couple off respected web sites -- so you want to get a recipe that directs you with temperatures for reliable results --
AThe crystallized sugar chunks happened to me a few times. I don't have a link, but Alton Brown has an episode of Good Eats where he discusses stirring your cooking sugar and why it crystallizes. My problems turned out to be stirring it before it all melts (this is what Mr Brown explains) and not using an even heating pan or stiff whisk. I strained out the chunks and just used it for ice cream topping, then started over.
When I make caramels I stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved using a commercial silicon spatula in copper candy pans.
Then using a clean pastry brush & water – brush off the sides of the pan to ensure that all granules of sugar are in the hot mix. Even one grain of sugar can cause the mixture to re-crystalize when cooled.
You do not stir it after that, while it cooks up to the amber stage.
Adding butter will cause it to bubble up’ as there is lots of water in butter, that’s normal.
Gentle stirring should incorporate it.
I’ve not found success with the food channel recipes either. But you can cook that mixture that you have for a while longer, on med low heat to thicken it up. Just keep an eye on it. Most of my recipes continue cooking well after the butter and cream are added (but then I’m making caramel candies or caramel lollipops.)
Take a peek at this new book ‘Caramel’ by Carole Bloom. It's a peach. But you may have better results using one of the recipes that mermaidcakery has posted. Good Luck.
I stirred. I stirred and stirred and stirred.
I decided to make a new batch and did not stir. It is bee-u-ti-fullll.
AMbalaska, thank you for stating it more clearly then I did. I blame it on two small children. My capacity for coherent thought is somewhere else. Like my 20s.
I'd be delighted to try your caramel sauce. Cupcakes with the drizzle of caramel look amazing!! This link that you posted above^^ has a really nice photo tutorial. I'd like to try making it soon. Maybe over the banana or pumpkin cake !!
Ainitially adding a twinkle of other sweetener like honey, agave, corn syrup etc is an ensurer that it will not crystalize -- it's not a magic potion you still have to be careful but it does something to interfere with the crystalline structure and prevents it from re forming --
and the other thing is you can put a lid on your pot and that will clean off the sides--
best caramels to you
ANice tips K8! I will have to try that next time for sure! Mb, that caramel lasts forever in the fridge, too. I might try freezing it sometime, so I can keep in on hand. Who knows if it will work, but it would be great to pull some out whenever I have a sweets craving.
AI had a number of issues with caramel, mostly that it would crystallize on me. Adding corn syrup has solved all my issues. I watched so many videos of folks making caramel you would think I could do it in my sleep, but very time, no matter how careful with the thermometer and brushing down the sides with water it would crystallize on me. I found a recipe that called for corn syrup and I have had no more issues since.