Carla Hall's Tip For Making Homemade Caramel A Breeze

One of the best things about cooking is being able to try things at home and learning how to make your favorites. Of course, some kitchen projects are easier than others, and some take a few tries to perfect. We all have a kitchen disaster tucked just inside our memory along with our secret recipes. In particular, trying to make candies and sweets in your own kitchen can prove difficult. Even something that seems simple, like homemade caramel, can be a pain. Sugar is notorious for burning if you take your eyes away for a second, and is time consuming to get to the perfect golden color.

Caramel doesn't have to be tricky though, and the end result is more than rewarding. Think about how good you'll feel drizzling your homemade caramel sauce over some ice cream or a brownie (who are we kidding: both). Luckily, chef Carla Hall has us covered with an insanely easy trick that ensures you get perfect caramel every time you make it. We bet you'll be making it very soon.

Use a glass lid for perfect caramel

Caramel, at its most basic, is just sugar that's heated through the caramelization process, resulting in rich flavor and color. Cream is often added to give it a different feel and flavor, but the premise for most caramel is the same: you have to heat sugar up and melt it down until it's the gooey sweet that we know and love. Where it can get difficult is how quickly sugar burns, especially if you're not keeping a close eye on it. Nobody likes cleaning up burnt caramel, so it's best to avoid it.

Carla Hall has a genius way to make sure your caramel is a success, and it's shockingly simple. From People, Carla explains, "When making caramel, cover the pan with a glass lid. The steam washes the sides of the pan to keep the sugar from crystallizing, and because the lid is glass, you can see when the sugar starts to color." Her suggestion is great because the steam helps your caramel stay smooth as it melts, and you can keep an eye on it, which isn't possible if your lid is opaque.

Get creative with your caramel sauce

Now that you know a secret for keeping your caramel smooth and perfect while you make it, you can start experimenting. There are two basic methods to making caramel: the wet and dry methods. Both of these methods consist of heating your sugar on the stovetop, but in the wet method the sugar is melted into water first. That syrup is then cooked down until it's thickened. The dry method forgoes water and heats the sugar directly until it melts. The glass lid suggestion will help you with whichever method you pick.

Once you've gotten the basic caramel recipe down, you can start getting creative. It may start with simple ingredients, but you can make some seriously flavorful caramels. Mixing in some chopped chocolate while it's melting will give you a rich, chocolatey sauce perfect for a brownie. You can stir in your favorite fruit purees too for something a little brighter. Try peanut butter if you really want to get crazy. There's nothing stopping you from having homemade caramel with your next sundae.