05 December 2008
Yes, I am a sucker for chocolate. But given the choice, 9 times out of 10, I'm going for the caramel. Kraft Caramel Chews, Twix bars, Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche, Caramelized apples...oh yes! As Julie Andrews is fond of saying: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!
My husband's family has been vacationing in La Baule for the past 40+ years. We have been lucky enough to call this beachside resort on the West Coast of France home for the last 6 summers. One of the local specialties is caramel made with Fleur de Sel de Guerande, a sea salt harvested in the nearby town of Guerande. You find it in many food items, both savory and sweet, including candies, ice cream and in the form of a soft spreadable caramel sauce which is served in crepes and on gaufres (Belgian waffles). I eat my fair share of these every summer! The salt taste is very subtle and adds real richness and depth to the caramel flavor most of us know from our favorite foods.
One of my favorite Little Miss Cupcake cupcakes is the Caramel Dolce. I just baked up a batch for a customer and the reserves I make to taste-test are never around for long in my house. It's very easy to make a caramel buttercream by adding caramel sauce to your regular cupcake frosting recipe.
Here is a very simple recipe for caramel sauce; if you are daring enough to do it "à la Bauloise," use salted butter. A note of caution: boiled sugar gets VERY hot. Make sure to protect your hands when handling and it's a good idea to make this after the kids have gone to bed. Here are a few more tips on Making the Perfect Caramel from David Lebovitz.
Caramel Sauce Recipe
* 1 cup of sugar
* 6 Tbsp butter
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Heat sugar in a heavy-bottomed 2 or 3 quart saucepan over a medium flame. As the sugar starts to melt, stir with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar has liquified and starts boiling, stop stirring.
2. When the sugar is completed melted and amber in color. Add butter and stir in to combine. Remove from heat.
3.Slowly add the cream (this is important as the cream will foam up) and continue stirring until smooth.
4. Let cool. Use immediately or store in a glass bottle or covered dish for up to two weeks in the fridge. Let warm to room temperature before using.