How to Make Caramel - The Wet Method
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This is the easy way to make caramel. By cooking the sugar with water, you ensure that all the sugar crystals dissolve and liquify before caramelization occurs, and you end up with a smooth, evenly cooked caramel. Because there's water involved in this technique, it's called 'the wet method'.
  • 200g (or 1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
  1. Fill your sink with about 2-cm/1-inch of water. Once the caramel has reached the desired color, you dunk the bottom of the pan in this 'water bath' to stop the caramelization/cooking process.
  2. In a spotlessly clean, light-colored saucepan (with a capacity of at least 1.5L, or 6¼ cups) combine the sugar and water. Place over low heat, stirring with a metal spoon until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has become clear. Stop stirring.
  3. Crank the heat up to medium and allow the syrup to come to a boil. If you want to, you can gently wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, to prevent stray sugar crystals from caramelizing or burning on the sides of the pan, and to keep the syrup from crystallizing.
  4. After 5-7 minutes of cooking, the syrup will start to color at the edges. Using a whisk, gently whisk the caramel occassionally while allowing the caramel to reach a dark amber color. Alternatively, if you don't want to stir the caramel, you can swirl the pan. Also, if you're nervous about burning the caramel, you can crank the heat down a bit once the caramel starts to caramelize at the sides of the pan.
  5. Once the caramel has turned a deep amber color, stop the caramelization process. Either remove from heat and gently dunk the bottom of the pan in the water bath to stop it from caramelizing any further, or, if you're making a caramel sauce, add butter or cream to stop the cooking process.
  6. If you're making the caramel to make caramel decorations (aka: if you didn't add butter, cream, or other liquid ingredients), use it immediately after you've stopped the cooking process, because the caramel will harden in the pan as it cools.
  7. To clean the pan afterwards, simply fill with warm water, place over low heat, and allow the water to come to a simmer. The caramel will melt.
  8. Use immediately
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at