Just caramel.

Trends come and go, but caramel should ALWAYS be salted.

I was trained to always add salt, preferably fleur de sel, to caramel.  It tastes so much better.  Keep in mind your goal is to enhance the flavor, not to taste salt.  I think this is where many get this trendy flavor wrong.

Here’s a recipe for caramel suitable to flavor your favorite swiss buttercream. It can be turned into a sauce by using double the cream.

 

4 cups sugar

2 cups water

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp salt, preferably fleur de sel

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Heat the cream to near boiling and set aside.

Add water to a heavy bottom 3 qt saucepan, then add the sugar.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil the mixture until a deep mahogany color.  If the sugar is too light, the caramel will be sweet and insipid.  Allow the mixture to get too dark or smoke and the resulting caramel will be bitter and acrid.

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Once the mixture is a deep mahogany color, remove from heat and carefully, SLOWLY add the cream.  The mixture will bubble furiously, don’t panic.  Continue to add the cream in a steady stream, pausing if necessary.  Allow the mixture to settle down and then add the salt.  Return the pot to medium heat and briefly  boil the mixture while stirring.  This will dissolve any hardened sugar bits.

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Allow to cool a bit and add the extract.  You are done.

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Transfer to a container and store refrigerated.  This is a very thick caramel which when rewarmed a bit in a microwave is suitable to flavor  buttercream.  A thinner consistency can be achieved by using more cream during preparation.

 

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