Learn About Caramel

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is Caramel?

Caramel is a mixture of heated sugar, water, heavy cream, and butter to create an orange-colored confectionery.  Caramel is usually a thick sauce, but its thinness varies depending on the amount of liquid used in the cooking process.  While it is mostly in liquid form, caramel sometimes comes in chewy or hard candies.  It is incredibly sticky, especially in liquid form.  Caramel can be made at home or store-bought.  It has a distinctly warm, sweet, somewhat vanilla aroma.

What Does Caramel Taste Like?

Caramel has a rich, warm, sweet flavor. Caramel sometimes comes salted to add another dimension of flavor.

Learn About Caramel
Thick caramel sauce oozing over the side of a jar.

How Do You Eat Caramel?

Caramel can be eaten as it is, liquid or solid. The most common ways to use caramel include topping ice cream sundaes, apples, and some pies. It is sometimes made into soft, chewy candies or drizzled over popcorn. Caramel is often made into bars, cookies, cakes, and pies. Caramel pairs well with chocolate, like in millionaire’s shortbread, and vanilla flavors. Coffees sometimes contain caramel-flavored syrups.

Where Can You Buy Caramel?

Look for caramel sauce near the ice cream aisle of the grocery store. Soft caramel candies are found in the candy aisle of grocery stores.

How Do You Store Caramel?

Store homemade caramel in a jar at room temperature for 2-3 days. After a few days, refrigerate homemade caramel, where it can last 2-3 weeks. Place store-bought caramel in a cool, dry place until it is opened. After opening, follow the storage instructions on the container. Store individually wrapped caramels in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dry place. When properly stored, homemade soft caramels can last 3-4 weeks.

Fun Fact About Caramel

Hard caramel candies were sold in the 1800s because they were durable and would not easily break.

Did You Know?

Caramel may have roots dating back to over a thousand years ago.

Recipes Using Caramel

Caramel Apples

Enjoy a classic summer treat any time of the year! Make homemade caramel in a saucepan and cool. Insert skewers or popsicle sticks into the tops of green apples. Dip apples into cooled caramel and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to set. Roll caramel apples in white chocolate, nuts, or sprinkles to add extra flavor.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Making caramel sauce from scratch is easy. Heat sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until melted. Add butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and incorporate heavy cream until combined. Caramel sauce thickens as it cools. If you prefer salted caramel, add salted butter or stir in salt.

Caramel Brownies

Swirl an extra layer of flavor into your brownies! Prepare your favorite brownie batter as directed. Pour batter into an even layer in a baking dish. Spoon homemade caramel sauce over the batter. Using a knife, swirl the caramel into the brownie batter. Bake until completely cooked.

Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Create a new twist on your favorite chocolate chip cookies! Prepare your favorite cookie dough as normal. Scoop cookie dough into balls. Flatten cookie dough and place a small soft caramel in the center. Reform the cookie dough ball and place on a baking sheet. Bake until completely cooked. Your chocolate chip cookies will have a gooey center.

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