The Kitchen Elixir: How to make caramel matrixes. Perfect for a Dessert or Drink Garnish.
Today I will be showing you how to make sexy caramel garnishes, that you can tweak to your own needs.
I love stuff like this, It’s the epitomy of why I’m so interested in food and drinks, I get to express some creativity, make something that looks amazing and tastes awesome! When I was younger I remember being at the fair that came to town every easter and being amazed by the big spun sugar and candy floss machines. I guess you could say this is the closest I could get to that without buying expensive equipment.
I actually made a video of this but until I get my new laptop I can’t edit it properly so I will upload that at a later date.
So the biggest problem people face when making caramel is crystallisation. There are usually two methods, just sugar, and sugar with a bit of water. I’ve made it both ways and had crystillisation both times. Every time I’ve used my method it’s been fine. So you’ll need to make yourself some sugar syrup. Either google how, or wait for my post on how to do it (hint: its super easy, just do it in the bottle, no need for a pan!)
So you will need around one 750ml bottle of sugar syrup. Quantities don’t matter really, as long as you have enough to go roughly 1/4 to 1/3 up the saucepan.
Add it to a pan. (Important! Scrub pan with washing up liquid first, then rinse thoroughly, doesn’t matter if some water is left in there but soap with be detrimental)
Turn to medium high.
If you’re lucky enough to have a sugar thermometer, your life will be a lot easier. Clip it on to your pan, making sure the bottom is fully submerged. Otherwise, you’re going to have to do this by eye.
Right, soon it will reach the boiling point of water (100 degrees c) Because this is a syrup this method takes a little longer but its worth it rather than restarting again and again. At this point it will just look like boiling water. We have to wait until almost all of the water has boiled off.
Right, most of the water has boiled off and you will see the bubbles looking a lot more gloopy, being a lot smaller and being closer to each other too.
Should it, for any reason fail and crystallise, you don’t have to start again just take it off the heat, wait for it to cool down, add some water, and start again, making sure all the crystals dissolve.
You should not be stirring it or moving the pan in any way at this point (this increases the chance of crystallisation)
Right when it’s at this stage you really need to keep an eye on it (especially if you don’t have a sugar thermometer)
Don’t look away.
Don’t answer the phone.
Don’t let the dog out.
The line between luscious caramel and a burnt sticky mess is very thin here you must be very careful.
There! It’s starting to turn brown!
Swirl the pan VERY gently, just enough to distribute the browner bits throughout so you don’t get any uneven burnt bits.
Just need the right amber colour…
Got it! it should be around 165 degrees right now, take it off the heat! It will continue cooking up to about 170.
Let it sit on the counter, swirling a spoon back and forth checking how fine the stream of caramel when you lift you spoon is.
Next lay down some parchment paper, and put down anything you want to be trapped in the caramel, fresh fruit, edible flowers, spices, or nothing!
I chose coffee beans.
Then swirl the sugar in fancy patterns over the paper. If it all beads up into globules or the strands sort of shrink up its too hot, wait for the caramel to cool.
Here is an excerpt of the video to illustrate, I was doing this with one hand that it why it looks kinda awkward.
Boom. Done. Let cool, box up with parchment paper layers to prevent them all sticking to each other and you are there.
You’ve just made caramel baby.
If you have leftover caramel you can make caramel sauce with which you can make toffee apples or something. That will have to wait for a future post now.
That’s all for today,
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Ps. To clean the pan fill the whole thing up with water, bring to the boil, then pour the whole thing down the sink flushing well with water. Repeat until clean.