I make my own caramel sauce and never had a problem but, last couple of times I

Times it has turned to sugar. What am I doing wrong

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1 Comment

Lori T. October 3, 2020
It would help some to know if you are trying to make a wet or dry caramel - but the most common reason a caramel crystallizes is because of stirring. The melted sugar wants to be a crystal, and stirring can help that happen. And all it takes to start off the process is one stinking crystal. A teensy bit of undissolved sugar on the side of the pan, which gets introduced in the cooking process is enough to trigger the reaction. And sometimes, well, you are just unlucky. I prefer to do a wet caramel, meaning you start with a bit of water along with the sugar, which helps. You also want to wash down the sides of your pan, with a damp pastry brush, before it starts to boil, so you wash any wayward sugar crystals down to the mixture. You can also pop on a lid, so steam does it for you. Once you have the sugar and water mixed, that's it for stirring though. From that point on, it's swirling the pan. You don't want the mixture to bubble up high in the pan either- that will also encourage crystals to form because of the temperature difference. I also use a candy thermometer to make caramel sauce, and I happen to prefer stopping at about 350F. At that point, off the heat, you can whisk in your butter and cream. If you really want to avoid problems, probably the easiest way to do that is to include a tablespoon of corn syrup at the start. That's a form of invert sugar which acts to interfere with crystal formation. And finally, you can often rescue a grainy caramel sauce by adding in some water and gently reheating it. Gently is the key word here, low heat, and no stirring. The crystals will melt, and you can have a second shot at sauce. Just take care not to get it too hot, or it will be more likely to burn because you've got the dairy in there.
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