Emily and I had a super funny but also somewhat scary time making caramel together during our fondue party. Any time you make a sugar recipe, you have to exercise extreme caution, as even the tiniest bit of liquid sugar on your skin can cause a serious burn. While we carefully made this caramel fondue, we couldn't stop laughing (it doesn't take much), since working with sugar is pretty unpredictable. You start with a very small amount of water to the amount of sugar used, so at first it didn't seem like the sugar would dissolve in the water. It finally did melt down and we started to swirl the molten sugar, waiting for it to start to turn golden brown (carmel is just slightly burnt sugar). We got impatient and maybe swirled a bit too vigorously - at this point the sugar turned to what looks like pebbles. What probably happened was that the water from the sides of the pan mixed with the molten sugar and cooled it down, this made it seize up. We pushed through, however, adding a tiny bit of the cream to re-melt the sugar. As we continued to stir, the sugar finally started to brown and we thought we were in the clear. "It's working!" we cackled as the caramel took shape. We were literally screaming with excitement. "It's working!!!" We then added the remaining cream (carefully as advised) and the cream started boiling up and the caramel turned into a big blob in the liquid! Alas, we hadn't been in the clear after all. A big drip of sugar fell to the floor, but we kept whisking away. Surely enough, the blob dissolved again and we were left with a silky and DELICIOUS caramel. We were mad scientists who finally came up with a beautiful creation and we were so proud. Adding in the tiny seeds from the vanilla beans, we were relieved to see that there were to be no further twists in the plot. We poured the caramel fondue into a fondue pot and served it to our guests with hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzel rods, green apples, chocolate covered marshmallows, chocolate truffles, homemade pound cake, and sea salt and walnuts for coating. It was worth risking life and limb - SO delightful. We ate it all. With our guests, of course.
Yield: Serves 10
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped
In a medium saucepan combine water with sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and swirl until the sugar turns golden brown. (Try not to get any condensation in the mixture.) Add the cream very carefully as it will splash and could burn you. Stir until the mixture is creamy. Remove from heat immediately, being careful not to burn the caramel. Add the vanilla bean seeds and stir. Transfer to the fondue pot and serve over an open flame.
Dipper recommendations: Green Apples, chocolate truffles, chocolate covered pretzel rods, chocolate covered marshmallows, pound cake, sea salt, chopped nuts.