Magazine article Sunset

Keep Them Handy for Desserts: Caramel Chunks and Caramel Powder

Magazine article Sunset

Keep Them Handy for Desserts: Caramel Chunks and Caramel Powder

Article excerpt

Keep them handy for desserts: caramel chunks and caramel powder The gold that enriches these elegant desserts begins with sugar heated until it melts and turns a deep amber color. When cool, hard, and crushed to a fine powder, this caramel gives glowing color, intense flavor, and velvety texture to ice cream, flan, and mousse. Reserve some of the hardened caramel for decorating the desserts, or make a batch just for this purpose. Store as for caramel powder.

Caramel Velvet Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half (light cream) 1 1/2 cups milk 1 batch caramel powder (recipe follows) 4 large egg yolks 2 teaspoons vanilla Salt and crushed ice (optional)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine cream, milk, and caramel powder> stir often over medium-high heat until caramel melts (it hardens first). In a small bowl, whisk a little of the hot liquid with yolks, then stir back into pan. Reduce heat to low> stir until mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon in a smooth, velvety layer, about 8 minutes. At once, set pan in a bowl of ice water. Add vanilla> stir often until mixture is lukewarm to cold, then remove from water. Cover and chill until cold, or up until next day.

Freeze mixture in a self-refrigerated ice cream maker (or in an ice cream maker with 1 part salt to 6 parts ice) until dasher is hard to turn. Serve, or store in freezer for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts, 12 servings of 1/2-cup size.

Per 1/2 cup: 257 cal.> 2.6 g protein> 12 fat> 36 g carbo.> 28 mg sodium> 108 mg chol.

Caramel Powder

Line a 10- by 15-inch baking pan with a single sheet of foil, folding up at edges.

Pour 2 cups sugar into a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan> place over medium-high heat. Shake pan often until most of the sugar liquefies, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium> tilt pan to mix hot caramel with sugar until all is melted and the color is deep amber, 3 to 5 minutes.

Immediately pour hot caramel into foil-lined pan. Using hot pads to protect hands (mixture is very hot), tilt pan to spread caramel in thin layer. Set aside until hard and completely cool, about 30 minutes.

When cool, lift foil from pan> peel foil from caramel. Break caramel into chunks. To make powder, whirl chunks in a blender or food processor fitted with metal blade (container must be completely dry). If you use a blender, you may need to make powder in several batches. Use, or store airtight at room temperature up to 1 month. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

Per tablespoon: 55 cal.> 0 g protein> 0 g fat> 14 g carbo.> 0 mg sodium> 0 mg chol. …

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