I have a love-hate relationship with homemade caramel. I would LOVE to be able to make it and I HATE the fact that I haven't been able to master the technique yet. The thought of a homemade salted caramel sauce is incredibly appealing. There are so many things that I could do with a jar full of homemade caramel - swirl it into buttercream and cupcake batter, drizzle it over ice cream and cakes.
I found this recipe for salted caramel chocolate cupcakes on Annieseats.com and I decided to give homemade caramel one more try. The problem that I've had is that my caramel seems nice and smooth and creamy while it's warm but once it cools to room temperature, it turns grainy and gritty. (Anyone out there that can tell me what I'm doing wrong?)
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
For the filling:
2½ cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
¾ cup heavy cream, warmed
2¼ tsp. sea salt
Salted Caramel Buttercream
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
To make the filling, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has melted into a syrup. Stop stirring and gently swirl the pan, using a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down any bits of sugar stuck to the sides of the pan. Continue to boil, swirling occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber color (but not burned!) and it registers 340˚ F on the thermometer.
Very slowly pour in the cream in a slow, steady stream down the inside edge of the pan, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt.
Cut a hole in each cupcake.
Fill with caramel sauce.
Top with caramel buttercream.
Decorate with a chocolate dipped - salted caramel.
My caramel sauce actually turned out better this time. It didn't seem to get grainy when it was refrigerated and I'm hoping that it will last in a Tupperware container for a few weeks. I really don't know what I did differently so if you can help me out on this one - send me a comment please.
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