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Feb 4, 2009 07:15 PM

want to make caramel

I am planning on making a salted caramel ice cream I saw posted here - when making the caramel - what type of pan do I need to use? In the photo it looks like a bowl?
Thanks for any tips on making the caramel.

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  1. That appears to be a small skillet.

    Rather an unorthodox method for making the caramel however. Most recipes that I've seen, and the ones that I use, say NOT to stir while the sugar melts.
    Caramel is much easier to work if you add a tablespoon or so of water and another of light corn syrup. Stops the crystalization and it turns out smoother.
    I even make it in the microwave when I'm in a hurry.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      could i have the microwave recipe?

      1. re: howchow

        Whatever recipe you are using, add 1 tablespoon of water for every quarter cup of sugar.
        Use a heatproof bowl - because it's going to get really hot. Make sure it's something you can grab easily if you need to pour the caramel out.
        It takes about 8 minutes, more or less, in my MW. It is a little tricky because the sugar will brown in spots. I stir it once and let it sit until the heat equalizes and then see if it needs to be nuked a little more. Be careful not to burn it at that point.

        You can also add 1 tablespoon of corn syrup to each 1/2 cup of sugar which I do if the caramel is going to be chilled. This keeps the sugar from crystalizing. You might want to do that for the body of your ice cream. The corn syrup will also make your ice cream a little smoother and keep it from icing.

    2. I never made caramel in the microwave. That might have to be an experiment for my next flan. Typically I make caramel in a small non-stick saucepan, mainly to assist in clean up afterwards. If you've never made caramel before, I would advise not to use too heavy a pan as if you take the caramel too far, it can easily burn from the remaining heat in the pan.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JungMann

        A tip I found recently (I think in the Secrets of Baking book) is to use a light colored pan if you have one. If you're not using a thermometer, it's easier to tell the color of the caramel in a pan with a light interior, so that you know when it's done and don't burn it.

        1. re: JungMann

          I keep an ice bath at the ready and plunge the bottom of the pan CAREFULLY in to stop cooking - I can always bring the heat back up.
          A touch of acid - like lemon juice can help with crystalization as does using a brush with water to brush the sides of the pot preventing the crystals from reforming.
          I don't add corn syrup, don't think its needed. Slow and low with the heat. A thermo.....caramel is easy...its just dangerous.

          1. re: JungMann

            Yep, light is the secret! Lightweight pans stop cooking. Heavy ones retain heat and you're more likely to burn it. And light colored pans allow you to see the color as it develops.
            I find that color is the best indicator unless you're getting into CandyLand and have to worry about soft/hard ball stage,etc. and then you need a thermometer.
            Once the color starts to change, it can go from "just right" to "burned" more quickly than you suspect. Best reason NOT to use that heavy pan.

            BYW, the MW works great. I often make flan and creme caramel in a Pillivuyt dish that goes right in the MW. One less thing to clean. Try it. The only thing you have to lose is about 20 cents worth of sugar if you mess up.

          2. thanks all - did it on the stove in a light colored pan - added the corn syrup and water - turned out great!

            3 Replies
            1. re: howchow

              Opens up a whole new world of good desserts.

              But, a word of caution.
              Caramel is like napalm. One of the worst burns you'll ever get in the kitchen. When it hits your skin, it sticks and leaves a very nasty wound.
              Be very careful.

                1. re: howchow

                  I think that with the microwave method you will need to be especially careful with the nepalm effect. Be careful that its still not bubbling and burping too much when you are taking it out

            2. Sherry Yard says to cook the sugar with the lid on the pot for the first 4 minutes since the condensation that washes down as it cooks prevents sugar crystals from forming. I thought that was a really great caramel tip -- easier than dipping a pastry brush in water and brushing the sides of the pan to prevent crystals.

              1 Reply
              1. re: roxlet

                yes and works well - I just can't see in - but this works great