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Bitter Caramel Ice Cream

Bitter Caramel Ice Cream

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  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel


  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel

Recipe Preparation


  • Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until mixture is very dark amber (but not burned), occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 10 minutes (time will vary depending on size of pan). Remove from heat; add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to medium heat and stir until any caramel bits dissolve and mixture is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Stir in fleur de sel. Cool.


  • Whisk egg yolks and sugar to blend in large bowl. Bring milk, cream, and corn syrup to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until slightly thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into custard registers 175°F, about 14 minutes. Strain custard. Stir in lemon juice, vanilla, and fleur de sel.

  • Whisk caramel into custard. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

  • Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to container; cover and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep frozen.

Recipe by Sona in Los Angeles CA,Reviews Section

Peanut and Caramel Ice Cream

Maybe it’s the fact I’m going on holiday next week, or maybe because I’ve been trying on shorts all week, but I am feeling decidedly summery this week, well until I look outside that is. Regardless of whether the rain has dampened your mood this week, I think we can all agree on the fact that ice cream doesn’t really have a season. With that in mind let make some ice cream.

The idea for this recipe came from a recent trip to Rome (a common recent theme here at The Boy Who Bakes) as an attempt to recreate my boyfriends favourite peanut gelato, which was devoured whilst at Fatormorgana, the gelato he genuinely looks wistful about when he talks about it. The gelato definitely wasn’t called peanut butter so whilst I thought about taking the easy route and just adding some to my go-to ice cream base, after talking with my ice cream maker friend Richard, I was dissuaded as ice cream or gelato made with peanut butter is notoriously difficult as it has a tendency to go grainy. So, I stuck with my initial thought of using infusion to get the flavour into the recipe. The resulting ice cream was really close to the original in flavour, a nice hit of peanut in a wonderfully creamy texture. But this is me, I couldn’t simply do a peanut flavour, I had to take it one step further. I had to add caramel. I had to. really I did. I originally thought adding a swirl of caramel sauce but at the last minute remembered David Lebovitz’s idea of adding little nuggets of hard caramel once the ice cream has been churned. When in the freezer the chunks slightly soften and some will liquify leaving these little bites of bitter caramel that really ups the flavour and creates something delightful.

Peanut and Caramel Ice Cream

Ice Cream Base
700ml whole milk
350ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
125g salted peanuts
6 large egg yolks
125g caster sugar

Salted Caramel Pieces
100g caster sugar
large pinch flaked sea salt

To make the ice cream start with the infusion. Place the peanuts into a small, dry, frying pan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light browned and fragrant. Tip into a bowl and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile place the milk, cream and vanilla into a medium sized saucepan. Tip the peanuts into a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush into smaller pieces then add to the milk mixture. Place the pan on medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as it reaches temperature, remove from the heat and cover, setting aside to infuse for at least two hours, more if you have the time.

Place the pan back on the heat and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the peanuts. Add the yolks and sugar to a large bowl and whisk until lightened, 2-3 minutes. Pour in the infused milk mixture, whisking as you do to prevent the yolks from cooking. Pour the custard mixture back into the pan and cook on low/medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches between 75-80C or it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove and pour into a clean bowl. At this stage we need to cool the custard down, the most effective way is to set the bowl over an ice bath and stir until it cools. I often simply cover the custard with clingfilm and pop it in the fridge and refrigerate until ready to churn.

Once thoroughly chilled, around 4-5C, use an ice cream machine to churn, following the manufacturers. instructions. Meanwhile add the sugar for the caramel to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted and caramelised, to a rich dark brown, almost like an old copper coin. Remember this is being mixed into a sweet ice cream so I take this caramel quite far so it really stands up to the ice cream. Add the salt and swirl to combine. Immediately pour the caramel onto a silicon baking sheet or parchment lined baking tray and spread into a thin layer. Set aside until the ice cream has almost finished churning.

Once the ice cream is almost at the desired texture, looking like soft serve ice cream, use the back of a spoon to break up the big piece of caramel into lots of little pieces. Once the ice cream has finished churning, add in the caramel pieces and allow the ice cream machine to run for another minute or two or until mixed in. Scrape the ice cream into a container, I use a loaf pan, cover with a lid or clingfilm and freeze for at least four hours before serving.

Homemade ice cream is best within a couple weeks, really the first week is the best window to enjoy it, and thankfully this ice cream is scoop able straight from the freezer.

Make sure you check back next week as I have a recipe to take this ice cream to another level entirely.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 17 H, 30 M
  • Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings

Ingredients US Metric

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk and cream to just below a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Dump the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and shake the pan so the sugar comes to an even depth. Slowly pour the water into the pan along the inside edge. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook, without stirring, until the caramel turns a very dark brown, just short of black, or registers 400°F (205°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 13 to 15 minutes.

Immediately take the pan off the heat and, holding it at arm’s length, immediately pour in about 1/3 of the warm milk mixture. Be very careful the caramel will bubble up vigorously and hot steam will rise. Stir in the rest of the warm milk mixture, set the pan over medium-low heat, and whisk until the caramel melts completely, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep the mixture hot.

Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and cold water. Place a large bowl over the ice bath with the bottom touching the water. Set a fine-mesh strainer on top.

In a medium saucepan, use a narrow wire whisk to mix the yolks until they lighten in color, 2 to 3 minutes. While whisking the yolks constantly, drizzle in about 1/3 of the hot caramel mixture. Then add the rest of the hot caramel mixture along with the vanilla and salt.

Cook the custard over medium heat, using a silicone spatula to constantly stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, until it’s thick enough to coat the spatula or the custard registers 175°F (80°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 12 minutes.

Pour the custard into the strainer and scrape to push the custard through the strainer. Remove the strainer and scrape any custard clinging to the bottom into the bowl. Stir the custard frequently to cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the ice water, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Whisk the chilled custard until smooth, scrape it into the bowl of an ice cream maker, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Scrape the ice cream into a heavy-duty plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving. The ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is ice cream for grown ups! It’s sweet and creamy but it also has a bitter edge from the deep, dark caramel. If you’ve ever been to Buffalo and had sponge toffee, this ice cream will remind you of that treat, which also makes me think this ice cream would be fabulous with a drizzle of chocolate sauce or a fudgy swirl worked in. It has a great texture, certainly worth all the pans I had to wash. The caramel was deep brown at 400°F—I likely wouldn't have had the courage to take the caramel that far if I didn't have a temperature that I was targeting. Do watch out when you add the caramel to the cream though—start with a very tiny amount in a large pan as the mixture boils ferociously!

This recipe takes vanilla to a deliciously dark side with its twist of almost burning the caramel. Its whisper of sea salt diffuses the sweetness, creating a desire for another and another bite. My sugar was bubbling darkly at 14 minutes. I let the base cool completely overnight, then I churned it and let it freeze for 4 more hours. So while it takes more time than picking up ice cream from the grocery, this salted caramel ice cream is better than any premade pint. I'm lucky to get fresh milk and cream from a nearby family dairy—it’s rich, thick, and uncompromised and makes amazing ice cream.

This ice cream is tasty and would pair nicely with something on the sweeter side. The instructions say to take the caramel to the point that it’s almost black. I think that is too far and getting into burnt territory. I took it a bit darker than I normally would and there was definitely a bitter edge to the finished product. For people who know that they are sensitive to bitter flavors, they’re going to want to take the caramel to more of a copper color. The texture was really creamy and there was no issue with eggs curdling.


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Caramel Ice Cream

You will need an ice cream maker for this. If you don’t have one, beg, borrow or steal!!

Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus 8 hours chilling time and time for churning


1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 cups heavy cream, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 large egg yolks placed in a medium bowl (do this before you start preparing the custard)

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk

The Recipe

1. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium metal bowl and set it in a large bowl filled halfway with water and ice cubes. Set aside.

2. In a large heavy saucepan, sprinkle a thin, even layer of sugar across the bottom from the 1 1/4 cups and heat over medium heat, not touching it at all until the sugar is mostly melted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle on another layer of sugar and use a heatproof spoon or rubber spatula to stir around the edges and move the melted sugar into the center, until al the sugar is melted, about 1 minute. Repeat the entire process until all of the sugar is used up. Continue to cook, swirling the saucepan (don’t stir it) until the caramel is very liquid and turning a dark amber color. This will probably take another 5 minutes from the time that all of the sugar has actually melted. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the cream. The caramel will bubble up and harden—it’s ok. Return the pan to the stove and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until all of the little hard pieces have melted. Then add in the vanilla and the salt.

3. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar for about 1 minute, until light and thick. Now whisking constantly, gradually add 1/2 cup of the hot caramel into the eggs. Add the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat a spoon and begins to hold the marks of the whisk—this should take about 5-6 minutes. Strain the mixture through the sieve into the prepared bowl and let cool a bit. Add the milk and whisk together. Transfer to an airtight container and let chill for at least 8 hours and even better, overnight.

4. Give the custard a good stir and process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Freeze until firm, serve and hide in the back of the freezer somewhere if you want to have a prayer of enjoying this for more than a day or two!

Note: Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine. I stayed pretty close to the recipe but chilled the mixture overnight instead of making it right away.

Caramel ice cream

Of all the caramels in all the world, Richard’s mother had to bring me some from Brittany. Richard is French, and a baker, who jokes that his region is less famous for its bread than its platters of seafood, so poetically called “fruits de mer.” But as I tasted the caramel, I realized that Richard’s hometown had more to commend it than loaves and fishes. It had this stuff. Brittany had caramel.

I have always loved caramel. As a child, I used to stare longingly at plastic-wrapped squares heaped by the checkout counter at our local grocery store. My favorite candy bar is still a Snickers, second favorite a Twix. I never bite into a chocolate from a mixed gift box without checking the key on the lid to see which is caramel.

But as much as I love all these, the tawny little chews in this box from Richard’s mother were different. They were madly intense, super rich and slightly salty. I have never been so powerless in the face of food. Even with one in my mouth, I found that I needed one in my hand. Chewing and holding, I then found it altogether disconcerting to leave the room where the candy box sat on the mantle. Chewing, holding and standing near the mantle, I gave into the compulsion and ate every candy in the box.

That was almost 10 years ago. I did not allow myself near anything like them until the last week, when I got to wondering: What is it about caramel? All caramel, but especially that caramel? What is so compelling about those swelling buttery flavors topped off by toasty-brown notes?

I had to know. There’s nothing like a challenge, particularly when it involves candy.

My first step was ordering every kind of French caramel that I could find on the Internet and in posh shops around town. Many came in folksy wooden Camembert-style boxes, leading me to expect the Brittany effect. I rolled up my sleeves and started sampling sweeties. They were good, some better than others, but one after another, I could put them down, leave the room, think caramel-free thoughts. They were factory sweets. Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

Second step was calling on the experts. Barry Swanson, a food scientist, more specifically a fabulously informative candy doctor at Washington State University in Pullman, began his primer with a definition of caramelization. Anything with sugar in it can be caramelized, he said. The browning of toast, the golden richness of frying onions, all those wafting good smells that could waken Rip Van Winkle, they are all products of caramelization.

Then there is caramel, the candy. Unsurprisingly, back in 1912, it was a Frenchman, Louis-Camille Maillard, who offered a scientific explanation for caramelization, a process known among chemists as “Maillard browning.” By that time, French confectioners had long mastered the art of cooking a combination of sugar and syrup to a molten sugar state, browning it, creating a myriad of toasty, edgy, even some almost bitter flavors, but stopping just before it burns. They lined tart pans with this sugary glaze, made spun sugar cages, generally worked wonders. Some smart candy maker thought to add sea salt in order to, as Swanson put it, “broadcast” the flavors in our mouths, an artful fillip behind caramel’s lingering richness.

The French also realized that to achieve caramel that makes our mouths water, they needed to add fat and protein to that molten sugar. The best choices of fat, Swanson said, are butter and cream, “that’s what gives you the flavor.” Caramel, it turns out, is not only quintessentially French, it is the sweetest expression of a dairy culture that is so varied, it has a cheese for every day of the year.

As in France, American caramel making took off around dairies. When I phoned Alan Cotich, president of the Classic Caramel Co. in York, Pa., he was keen to emphasize that Milton Hershey started with caramel in the heart of Pennsylvania dairy country before becoming distracted by chocolate. Cotich’s company supplies caramel for big-time candy makers who reformulate it into their products. He sees caramel as a notably honest confection. “No colors or flavors are added to caramel,” Cotich says. “All are developed by proper application of heat and time.”

In other words, if you buy a candy that says it’s got caramel coloring in it, then either a mild caramel has been dyed to suggest a smokier bite than the cooking actually achieved, or it ain’t caramel.

Like Hershey before him, his company grew up in Pennsylvania because of the lush local dairy culture. But they don’t always use cream, Cotich said. Choice of fat is dictated by client. Caramel is so versatile, it can be hard, medium chewy or soft. It goes into suckers, sauce, candy or even as delivery systems for calcium supplements, he said. In each case, there might be a different fat involved: soy oil, coconut oil or refined palm kernel oil.

In Los Angeles, at See’s candies, there are two acceptable fats: whipping cream or butter, usually a mixture of the two. The vice president, Richard van Doren, says of his candies: “They are all natural ingredients.” I never doubted it. What’s more, it’s high time that someone confirmed my long-held belief that See’s Almond Royale is, in fact, a health food.

But it’s still not the sort of caramel that Richard’s mother gave me, something that properly should be a controlled substance. I wondered if I hadn’t somehow imagined their potency. I took to cookbooks, and ran through any number of recipes. I could not find one for salty Breton caramel.

Then my editor remembered some indecently good caramels served in the New York restaurant of French chef Alain Ducasse. To my astonishment, the restaurant agreed to part with the recipe (merci!).

I went out and got the best cream, the best butter and the best sugar I could find. Cheap stuff would not, I was sure, achieve the Brittany effect.

For the next four days, I made Ducasse’s caramels every night and brought them to the office next day. I made them right, I made them wrong. I overcooked them and undercooked them. I made them plain, then with vanilla and maple syrup, then with Valhrona 100% cocoa solids dark chocolate.

I had not misremembered the intensity of fresh French-style caramel. This was the butter, cream and sugar in perfect pitch. I realized why they are so scarce. They are soft, luscious -- halfway to a fresh food. Factory caramels never could taste like these: Butter practically runs from them. The recipe didn’t come with an eat-by date, and we didn’t give any a chance to age, but I’m sure they should be made, served and eaten in fairly good order. They most certainly would become rancid on a candy rack.

Take the trouble to make these, serve them, and they induce rapture. One afternoon, I passed out the caramels in the newsroom. Of approximately 100 people offered them, only two declined. The most typical reactions were a cry to the heavens, purrs, groans, astonishment at the richness and waves of complex flavors.

When one colleague registered the flavors, he practically shouted, “Sweet Mary mother of God!”

To those who have yet to try these, please don’t take offense. It’s not sacrilege. That’s the Brittany effect. That’s caramel.

The Science of Caramel (+ Recipe and Troubleshooting)

An almost golden brown colour, sweet, oozy or chewy, runny or firm, caramel can be found in all shapes and sizes. You can make a runny caramel sauce to poor over an ice cream, make some chewy caramel bites or swirled some into ice cream. Caramel can upgrade your creation to something even more special.

All made with just a few basic ingredients and a pretty similar preparation method. That said, caramel can be finicky, crystallizing when you don’t want it to do. Or it turns out too thick or thin. About time to dive into the science of caramel in order to help you make a perfect caramel and fix one when it all goes haywire. Caramel is super flexibly, hard to mess up completely, but it helps knowing what goes on to fix it up again.

What is caramel?

Even though there are a lot of caramel types, the basis is always sugar.* Caramel is brown, but it can vary from a light brown/orange colour to a very dark brown, closer to being black. This brown colour is formed during caramelization of the sugar. This caramelization also contributes to the flavour of caramel. Therefore, even though caramel is sweet, it has more depth of flavour. Caramel can actually be quite bitter and have a far more complex flavour profile.

Apart from sugar there are a lot of other ingredients that can be a part of caramel. The most common are milk, butter, cream, salt and water. These contribute to the richness of a caramel and the flavour profile, as we will come back to later.

*There are plenty recipes for caramel without any sugar, look-a-likes. But, since caramelization (the basis of any caramel, we’ll come back to it later) can only occur with sugars, the definition we’ll use here is that a caramel requires sugar.

How to make caramel

When making a caramel you are trying to achieve two things:

  1. Creating a nice brown colour (from uncoloured ingredients) through chemical reactions
  2. Creating the desired caramel consistency (whether it’s runny or firm)

Browning a caramel – caramelization

The nice brown colour of a caramel can be formed through the caramelization of sugar. By heating sugar to very high temperatures (regular sugar caramlizes at 160°C (320°F)) caramelization sets in. Caramelization is a series of chemical reactions in which the sugar participates. As a result of these chemical reactions larger molecules will form which have a brown colour.

Caramelization of sugar is done by heating the sugar without any other ingredients (except for water) to the correct temperature. At this temperature caramelization will set in and occur by itself, only cooling down the sugars will stop the caramelization again.

Browning a caramel – Maillard reaction

There is another way to form a brown caramel, without heating the sugar to these high temperatures. It is another very common chemical browning reaction in food: the Maillard reaction. During this reaction molecules with a brown colour are formed as well. However, instead of just sugar, this reaction also requires proteins to occur. Since butter, milk and cream contain these proteins, they can be added to sugar to initiate the Maillard reaction. Since this browning reaction will start to occur at far lower temperatures than caramelization, it is also used quite often in recipes.

Caramelizing sugar for caramel

You can caramelize sugar by heating it to temperatures well above the boiling point of water (160°C). As mentioned before, regular sugar (sucrose) will only caramelize at a temperature of 160°C. When making caramel at home there are two different ways to bring the sugar to this high temperature:

  1. The dry method: using only sugar, nothing else
  2. The wet method: using sugar and water, this one is a little more fool proof and my go to method

The dry method

In this method you place sugar in a pot and heat it gently until it starts to melt and subsequently start to brown, the caramelization. It is very important that all sugar it heated up evenly, else some might already brown, whereas other parts are still solid sugar crystals. This method tends to be more tricky than the wet method. However, it is quicker (you don’t have to evaporate all that water again) and it does give the same quality product.

The wet method

This more fool-proof method uses sugar and water. Instead of pouring the sugar in a pan by itself, you mix it with some water. The advantage is that the sugar will dissolve in the water. Since it is dissolved in the water it is easier to heat it evenly. While heating the sugar now, you’ll boil of the water. The more water that is boiled of, the warmer it becomes. Once the water has all evaporated the sugar is warm enough and caramelization will start.

It doesn’t matter how much water you add. Adding more water will result in a longer boiling time. If you don’t add enough water though, not all the sugar will dissolve. It is no problem to add extra water during boiling. It will just take more time.

Crystallization of sugar during caramelization

Regular sugar (sucrose), is quite special. When you buy a pack of sugar all the sugar will be crystalline, they are crystals. When making a caramel you do not want these crystals. Instead, you want to create a smooth consistency and crystals don’t belong there. This is why the wet method helps you in making a smooth caramel. It helps to melt the crystals by first dissolving them. That said, with both methods it is still possible to create those unwanted sugar crystals. Fortunately, they can be cleared away again quite easily.

So how do those sugar crystals form? Sugar molecules strongly prefer to sit in this crystalline structure. They only need a little help to recrystallize again when they are dissolved or melted. The higher the concentration of sugar, the higher the chance they will form these crystals again. This is why especially close to the caramelization temperature, when with both preparation methods there’s barely any moisture left, crystallization has a higher chance to occur.

Preventing crystallization

There are a few tips and tricks to prevent crystallization of sucrose. The first is to add a crystallization inhibitor. This is an additional substance that can prevent sucrose from crystallizing. One of the most common inhibitors is glucose syrup. Glucose syrup isn’t only glucose. Instead, it also contains longer molecules. These molecules can interfer with the crystallization of the sugar, they will be in the way of the sugar molecules when trying to build a new crystal.

Sugar crystals tend to build up onto something. As soon as you have a crystal in your mixture, it will spread out very rapidly. These crystals will form more easily in a drier area (e.g. if some sugar sits on the wall of a pan where most moisture has evaporated) or on loose bits and pieces in your pan. A stirrer can also be an area where crystals start to grow. This is why most recipes will warn you to not stir the sugar while caramelizing, only do so at the start when the crystallization is not that likely to occur!

Solving crystallization in caramel

The easiest way to solve the crystallization (and the most effective) is to add more water. In other words, start over again. By adding the water, the sugar crystals can again dissolve. Simply re-heat the sugar, evaporate the water and try again!

Stopping caramelization

Once you’ve succeeded to caramelize your sugar without having any sugar crystals, you will need to stop the caramelization again! Since the sugar is super warm at this point (remember, it’s about as hot as an oven!), the reaction will continue going for a while. The caramelization won’t stop immediately, even if you turn off the heat. As a result, the caramel may become way too brown or it might even burn.

That’s why most recipes will tell you to add something to the caramel to cool it down again. It can be as simple as adding some water. Often though you will see that you have to add some milk, cream or butter. The advantage of adding these into the hot sugar is that they will also participate in chemical reactions. This will improve the flavour of your caramel even further.

Always keep in mind that the sugar is very hot at this point. It is way easiest to add something liquid, this will mix in most easily. However, take care that it will boil almost immediately and it might therefore splash. If you add something with plenty proteins (e.g. milk or cream) take care that it will bubble up a lot.

Controlling caramel consistency

Caramels can be sauces, syrups or thick gooey bites. In most recipes you will first try to get the colour of the caramel right, before you focus on the consistency itself.

When you’ve just carmelized your sugar at 160°C to the right colour, the caramel contains <1% water. If you leave this to cool down it will become a rock hard piece of caramel. It might looks fancy, but there’s no way you’d be able to eat this without breaking off some teeth. The sugar has formed a glassy structure.

You can make it softer again by adding moisture. This can be water, but also milk or cream for instance, as long as water is added. Adding a lot of moisture will result in a sauce or syrup. Adding only a little bit of water will result in a thicker less runny caramel. The good thing about sugar and water though is that these are all reversible processes. If you’ve added too much water, simply bring the mixture to the boil and wait until the consistency is correct again. If you haven’t added enough, just add some more to make it thinner.

Caramel science troubleshooting

Grainy caramel

When a caramel has become grainy, the sugar has started to crystallize. If this always happens for your recipe, you might have to add some inhibitors as we discussed in the article. Adding inclusions into the caramel, for example peanuts, makes it more prone to crystallization and thus graininess. In those cases, you might want to take some extra measures.

Separating caramel

A caramel can split if there’s fat in the caramel (e.g. from butter or cream). Often, a split caramel can be saved by gently reheating the caramel and stirring continuously. Adding some extra water can also help here to mix everything again before boiling off that extra water one more time. Last but not least, do not heat or cool down the caramel too rapidly. The fat might melt or solidify at a different rate than the caramel, causing the split.

Why caramel becomes (too) hard

No worries here! Just add some extra moisture, reheat and you will turn out with a thinner and softer caramel.

Can you freeze caramel?

Yes, you can, no problem. Take care to pack it airtight though. When you want to use or eat it take care to defrost it will in time. The caramel will have become pretty hard, so be patient before eating. Read more here on freezing caramel and its freezing point.

Applying caramel science – Recipes

After all that theory it’s time to get to work and make some caramel.

Caramel for in your ice cream. Caramel syrup Cinnamon rolls with caramel sauce

Or try these recipes! One uses the wet method to crystallize sugar, the other uses the Maillard reaction to create a nice brown sauce.

Caramel ice cream – Easy to make at home

Ice cream is favorite dessert of many people since childhood. But still there are some exceptional people who do not like ice cream or avoid this due to health issue. But you are not belong to those category and that’s why you are here. Right? So what is your onion on caramel ice cream? Have you ever tasted this? Did you ever make this at home? Mostly caramel is used as ice cream toppings and just spread this over a scoop of ice cream. But here you can try something different.

Caramel is sweet & slightly bitter in taste. It has slightly burn flavor too. But if you heat sugar little more time to make caramel, then sometime it turns to very dark and bitter in taste. So you have to be conscious when you are heating up sugar to make caramel. Caramel is used in various food and various purpose. We are familiar with caramel popcorn, caramel sweets, caramel ice cream etc. I hope that you have tried atleast one of those.

This caramel ice cream recipe is very easy. No egg is used here and all these ingredients are available in all local markets too. Even you do not need to buy anything for this ice cream. Almost every household maintain a monthly inventory of its ingredients except fresh cream what you may need to buy separately.

How to Make a McDonald's Caramel Frappe


  • ½ cup of strongly brewed coffee, allowed to cool
  • 4 cups of ice
  • 3 tsp of caramel syrup
  • ½ cup of whole milk
  • 2 tsp of white sugar
  • of white sugar


Having the right blender is essential to get the proper texture. If you’re having trouble and you want to know how to make a McDonald’s caramel frappe at home, know that it’s important to have a nice blender or smoothie maker for the proper texture. If you use a regular blender , you will end up with large chunks of ice. What you’ll get is more of an iced coffee than a frappe. You want a blender that can handle ice affectively and that can make smoothies fairly well.

Caramel Ice Cream

This has to be the easiest ice cream recipe to make! What’s more, there are only four ingredients and you don’t need an ice cream maker! When making the the caramel, let it go past the pale golden color to a dark amber color. The flavor will be slightly bitter which will balance out quite nicely when mixed with the heavy cream. This recipe is adapted from BBC Olive magazine.

Makes 2 litres
225g caster sugar
4 egg yokes
568ml double cream
300ml cold water

Combine the sugar and 100ml cold water in a large pot. Heat slowly, stirring until the sugar has dissolved then boil rapidly until it starts to turn to a dark golden caramel. Remove from the heat and gradually add another 200ml cold water to stop the caramel from cooking any further. Be careful as the cold water coming into contact with the caramel will cause it to sputter so add just a small splash to start with.

Return the pan to the heat and bring it back to a simmer. Remove and cool slightly. Whisk the egg yokes until pale and thick. Stir and at the same time pour in the caramel syrup in a thin stream until completely mixed in. Continue whisking until cooled.

Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold into the caramel custard. Mix completely so no streaks of cream are visible. Pour into a 2 litre plastic container with a lid and freeze overnight. Let the ice cream soften for 10 minutes before serving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note : Chef John Torode says to use a stainless steel pot when making the caramel as it’s easier to tell when the color changes. Also, make sure the sugar has completely dissolved before you start boiling the syrup.

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