How To Caramelize Sugar
By David J. Stewart
Caramelizing plain white sugar is an experience if you've never done it before. However, once you've done it's as easy as can be.
The first time I melted sugar the sugar turned black and I backed away from the stove. After the black caramel cooled I lifted the entire pot by the spoon as a handle, because the spoon was stuck in the burned and hardened sugar. What a mess! My heat was way too high. If this does happen, just reheat the pot and then pour out the burned sugar. You haven't ruined the pot.
The way to caramelize sugar is to keep the heat nice and low. Pour about one cup of plain white sugar into a small pot and set the flame on low. For the first few minutes the sugar will stay white and it will seem like nothing is happening, but be patient and DON'T raise the heat. After a few minutes you will see some bubbles here and there. Don't stir the sugar yet.
Wait until you see several bubbles. If you stir it too soon, it just may clump on the spoon. By waiting, you are more likely to have more melted sugar and it will be easier to start stirring. Just gently stir the sugar, working it around, until all of it has caramelized into a delicious looking golden color. Once the sugar is liquefied, it's done! Don't burn it!
If you want a stronger burned flavor, then cook the sugar some more until it darkens a bit, but watch it carefully because it burns quick.
WARNING: Melted sugar is hot like melted glass. It's not as dangerous as glass, but you can get burned very badly if it gets on your skin. Melted sugar is like oil and retains heat, so it burns you worse. Make sure there's no kids under your feet, running pets or anything you can slip on.
You don't have to rush, but you do need to work fairly quickly because the sugar cools fast and gets hard after a minute. Have the pan ready where you're going to pour it. Just pour the sugar into a cupcake pan, coating each cupcake tray. If you're making a large flan, then just pour it all into a big baking pan and then tilt the pan from side-to-side. Caramelized sugar tastes so delicious in this flan recipe.
Forget that artificial topping that comes in a Jell-O box. Caramelized sugar is the real deal and you'll love it! It's very unique.
Also, caramelized sugar tastes great over fried bananas in butter with some brown sugar and a little vanilla extract. Serve over French vanilla ice cream! Em, em good! There's a few recipes online. I don't have a specific recipe.
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