I am a fairly skilled good cook and I love all types cooking, but I cannot make a caramel (sauce or candy) to save my life. I have tried dozens of times. I have a spot in my backyard designated the Caramel Graveyard where the bad batches of caramel are poured out. Every time I make another batch and it fails, I feel like I am going to lose my mind because my stubborn self will not accept that I am incapable.
I have tried both the dry sugar (sugar only in the pan) and wet sugar (sugar plus water) methods. I do not want to do the corn syrup method. I have tried never touching the pan during the cooking process. I have tried gently swirling the pan. I have tried brushing the sides with a wet pastry brush. I have tried a few gentle, well-timed stirs during the cooking process.
Any caramel I make, one of three things happens:
A:The sugar crystallizes beyond all repair. This happens with the wet sugar method. The water evaporates and I am left with one huge disk of crystallized sugar that is burnt on the bottom and still white on top.
B:The sugar reaches the proper deep amber color and correct consistency, but tastes and smells burnt and bitter. It is completely inedible.
C:The sugar reaches a lighter amber color but tastes like sugar rather than caramel, and is so hard/sticky that it is completely unusable. This stuff could double as industrial glue.
So for awhile I thought it might be because I was using cheap nonstick pans. I got good stainless and copper cookware for my birthday and tried two batches this weekend. The first batch ended in result B, looked perfect but was too bitter to eat. I removed the second batch from the stove sooner and even poured it into a bowl so that it would not overcook. I reached result C, tasted like sugar and nearly removed a filling when I tried to eat it.
The good news is, now I know an easy recipe for homemade industrial glue.
So, seriously, can anyone help me before I kill myself trying to make an edible caramel?