I have never been able to make caramel and it frustrates me. I watched Alton Brown make caramel recently, got a few tips and tried it again last night.
I actually made caramel by the water method sucessfully, and I can count on one hand the times that has happened, so that's a good start. Per Alton, I added some corn syrup and I put a lid on for 3 minutes at one point. I attribute one or both of these to the success.
But...I still need help. I did it in a copper pan, but it still took forever. It boiled, and boiled without darkening. The bubbles got smaller and smaller and started to pile up on one another. I was sure it was going to form the usual glaze of sugar over the top the way it always does right before I throw it out, but for once it finally caramelized and I pulled it off the heat and stirred in the evap. milk I was using in place of cream. I knew it would bubble up, but it bubbled up MASSIVELY and poured all over the cooktop.
What was left had apparently cooked too long, because it was thicker than I wanted, like it was halfway to becoming brittle rather than caramel.
I sludged it on the apple slices, dipped them in chopped pecans, and they were pretty good in spite of me, but you needed a crow bar to get it off your molars.
1) what's going on with it boiling for 30 minutes before it turns golden? Am I cooking too high or too low (I had it on 6 of 10) Would it help to use the candy thermometer?
2) Did I just dump the liquid in too fast, or would the diff between cream and evap skim milk cause the boil-over?
3) Is there any way to convert the leftovers into something more like a caramel dipping sauce?
Many thanks !