By Casey Barber
Ah, caramel: one of the sweetest science experiments in existence. Did you know that sugar's considered a "wet" ingredient in baking? It's true, and when heated, it'll melt and caramelize - and that's where caramel comes from! Add a little cream to make a rich caramel sauce to drizzle over ice cream sundaes and other desserts.
To prevent the sugar crystals from seizing and hardening as they melt, add a little water to keep things loose, and once the sugar comes to a boil, swirl - don't stir! - the sugar in the pan to help it cook evenly.
Once the sugar is deep amber and smells rich and buttery, remove it from the heat and slowly stir in the cream. It will foam and bubble, and subside into the luscious caramel sauce we all know and love.
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Add sugar and water to a heavy saucepan. While cooking over medium-low heat, stir with a spoon until sugar has fully dissolved. Continue to cook, but stop stirring -- from this point on, just swirl the pan in circles.
When the sugar has turned a deep golden color, immediately remove pan from heat and carefully add heavy cream and butter -- the mixture will bubble.
Swirl the mixture until it's fully combined, and allow to cool.
Searching for the perfect way to use your caramel? Check out more recipes in the slideshow above.