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Ingredient of the Week: Caramel

Pronunciation differences aside, caramel makes for a delicious, sweet treat any time.

Although chef Tom Douglas says salted caramel is not one of his favorite kinds of caramel, he says he enjoys going the handmade route and making it himself.

“I think caramel is like bacon,” chef Thierry Rautureau says, and says salted caramel is here to stay.

If you’re going to make caramel at home, both Thierry and Tom caution you against burning yourself; hot caramel can cause serious burns. If you’re not dissuaded from attempting this culinary feat, all you’ll need is white sugar.

Once you introduce heat to the sugar, be sure not to touch it, Tom says. It’s okay to pick up the pan by the handle and swirl, but absolutely do not stir.

Thierry says it’s important to be patient, and let the sugar get to the amber color; caramel is basically burned sugar, and letting it get appropriately brown lets it have the bitter caramel flavor.

Once your sugar has been appropriately caramelized, you can add cream to make a caramel sauce, or follow Tom’s recipe for a savory caramel with fish sauce and fresh ginger.

Whole Foods Markets are a proud sponsor of Seattle Kitchen’s Ingredient of the Week.

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