How to Caramelize Sugar

Whether you're making a creme brulee, flan, or another tasty treat, nothing tops a dessert quite like a gooey, golden brown coat of sugar. Follow this recipe for perfectly caramelized sugar every time.

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You Will Need

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. water
  • Equipment:
  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Candy thermometer
  • Drop of lemon juice (optional)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Combine sugar and water over medium-low heat

    Combine the sugar and water in your heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.

  2. Add a drop of lemon juice to keep the mixture from hardening or crystallizing too quickly.

  3. Step 2

    Stir constantly until sugar dissolves

    Stir constantly with the wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to simmer.

  4. Step 3

    Put the candy thermometer in the mixture

    Attach the candy thermometer to the saucepan and lower it into the mixture. Be sure that it doesn't touch the bottom of the pan.

  5. Step 4

    Turn the heat to high; bring mixture to a boil

    Turn the heat to high and bring the sugar mixture to a boil. Do not stir the mixture while it's boiling or the sugar will crystallize.

  6. Keep the temperature under 375 degrees to avoid burning your sugar.

  7. Step 5

    Caramelize until mixture is an amber brown color

    Allow the sugar mixture to caramelize until it reaches an amber brown color. Remove the pan from the heat immediately.

  8. Step 6

    Place pan in a large bowl of ice water

    Place the pan in a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the caramelizing process and keep your sugar from getting burned. Use the caramelized sugar immediately in your favorite dessert or sweet treat.

  9. Per capita, American adults ate about 44 pounds of sugar in 2007, compared with about 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup.

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