I'll try to keep this short. Growing up, my grandmother made the most divine caramel icing I've ever tasted. I have the recipe, but I can't seem to get it just right. It tastes like I remember, but it isn't as glossy and pretty as I recall and it doesn't spread nicely. I've shortened the cooling time twice now (the recipe I have doesn't seem right in that regard). Baking fiends, does anything look strange to you, or is there something I'm forgetting? I'm basing my memories off of times making it with her while standing in a chair, so it's been a while. I'm rambling. Here's the recipe:
3 C sugar
1/2 C sugar to brown
3 tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted margarine
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
Have milk and margarine at room temperature
Sift flour, sugar, and salt into large pan. Add margarine and milk. Place candy thermometer on side of pan. Begin cooking over moderate heat, stirring often. While this is cooking, brown the 1/2 cup sugar in a small Teflon pan. It will burn if the heat is too high. Watch carefully and let melt to a light brown. (I don't stir, but shake pan several times to distribute sugar evenly.) When melted, immediately pour into large mixture, stirring well. Cook until soft ball stage. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and beat (a long time) until creamy and of spreading consistency (it will become a little dull). Working like a one-armed paper hanger, spread between layers and on sides and top. You don't have to be quite as swift if you make a sheet cake. You can add a few drops of water if it starts to set up too fast.
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