Saturday, February 26, 2011




I would love to say that my first foray into making caramel was successful but alas, that was not the case. It is fairly simple to make as long as you follow the one cardinal rule: never, under any circumstance, take your eye off of it. I underestimated how long it would take for the sugar to caramelize and I grew impatient as it seemed like it was taking forever for the sugar mixture to change color. Cardinal rules are there for a reason and my need to multitask got the best of me. I turned around to look for a glass jar and shortly after, I smelled something burning. Just like that, my caramel quickly went from not being ready to being slightly burnt. However, I was determined to not put it to waste. After all, it wasn't horribly burned... it was just slightly bitter with a deeper caramel flavor that what I had originally desired.

I salvaged the caramel by pouring it into a gelato base where the milk and heavy cream worked beautifully together to lessen the burnt notes. The Kitchn had a post with recommendations from Mario Batali for making homemade gelato. I used two of the three which were to use whole milk and to underchurn the base since gelato is more dense than ice cream. Churning it for too long would result in airy gelato, which is not what it should be.

Of course, if there is a way to add decadence to a dessert, I am the all about it. Salted caramel poured over burnt caramel gelato? Yes, please!

Adapted from

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream 4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar


1. In a medium saucepan, mix milk and cream. Warm until foam forms around the edges. Remove from heat.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until frothy. Gradually pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture gels slightly and coats the back of the spoon. If small egg lumps begin to show, remove from heat immediately.

3. Pour the mixture through a sieve or fine strainer into a bowl. Cover, and chill for several hours or overnight.

4. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a sealed container, and freeze until firm. If the gelato is too firm, place it in the refrigerator until it reaches the desired consistency

Caramel Sauce
Adapted from
Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Mix the water and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch it carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.

2. Stand back to avoid splattering, and gradually add the cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean (or vanilla extract). Simmer until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes.

3. Serve warm, or add another 1/4 cup of heavy cream and serve room temperature.

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm Helen. How could you have made this and 1. not told me 2. not shared?!?! Looks like a dream come true.