The caramelization process allows fantastic creations and tasty dishes that everyone loves: creaminess, crunchiness, sweetness; elements that can enhance the flavours of many foods.
Yet his fantastic result is possible thanks to the simplest and most common ingredient: sugar.
How it happens?
So the caramelization is a reaction of sugars during cooking, which produces variations in colour and taste of foods: it is a non-enzymatic browning reaction.
The classic caramel is obtained by heating the sugar (sucrose) and water at a high temperature (between 95°C and 150°C).
By heating the mixture, the water evaporates and the sucrose is dissociated into two simple sugars: glucose and fructose.
As the temperature rises, these simple sugars recombine and form other molecules (enzymatic ones and others that give colour).
The result is a sweet preparation made from sugar, called caramel.
It is quite dense and it is mostly used in cooking to decorate or give more taste to many dishes: an extra touch of sweetness and imagination that makes desserts and other dishes even more delicious.
The Shades of Caramel
However, there are many kinds of caramel depending on colour, texture and ingredients with which it is mixed: so here are 6 variations and their common combinations.
Light caramel: amber/golden colour and semi-liquid texture. It is often used to decorate cakes, cream puffs and toffee apples. Great even with game dishes or pork.
Dark caramel: more difficult to prepare because of the possibility of burning it. Deep brown colour and crystallizes almost immediately. Great for creme caramel, crunchy almonds, hazelnuts and sesame.
Salted caramel: less sweet than the classic version, due to a bit of salt. Fantastic for crepes or cakes topping, macarons but also biscuits.
Caramel sauce: it is obtained by adding at the end of preparation, another liquid (water, milk or cream and a bit of butter). Perfect for ice cream sundaes topping, banana splits, panna cotta and cheesecakes.
Toffee: thicker than the previous caramels, it requires only two ingredients: sugar and cream. Often not distinguished from the caramel sauce, it is perfect for muffins or as a filling for chocolate cupcakes.
Dulce de leche: it is obtained by melting sugar in whole milk (add vanilla if you want). It needs also a pinch of baking soda to avoid lumps formation. Versatile and delicious cream good for a lot of desserts.
WARNING: this process requires an accurate temperature control: this is a fundamental element to perfectly get the desired level of caramelization.
Through a too long cooking you would waste all your efforts…so pay close attention all the time!
AND WHAT IF YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CARAMELIZE WITHOUT ERRORS THANKS TO HOTMIXPRO?
FIND OUT HERE THE BENEFITS YOU WOULD GET, LEAVING THE EXHAUSTING MANUAL PREPARATION!