Microwave Magic | Easy Microwave Salted Caramels

I wrote recently about why I (and many others) love our microwaves, and also about how we’ve been getting on with our new Heston for Sage Quick Touch.

To put it through it’s paces, we’ve not only been defrosting, softening, melting, reheating, sterilising, steaming… we’ve been pushing it a little further and seeing how else we can use it. These fabulously easy microwave salted caramels can certainly be made on the stove, but we found the microwave method very quick and straightforward and they turned out absolutely perfectly.

Easy-Microwave-Caramels-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-textoverlay

The recipe I’ve used is adapted from a number of American ones I found on the web; I’ve amended the amounts, partly because of what I had available in the stock cupboard and partly because I prefer to work in (metric) weight measurements rather than (cup) volume ones. One of the sugars this recipe calls for is corn syrup, which is far more prevalent in the US than here in the UK. From what I’ve read, I think the inverted sugar helps to form a smooth and glossy finish.

I had some corn syrup that I bought recently in the US so I didn’t need to substitute, however as corn syrup is difficult to find in the UK, my understanding is that you can substitute glucose syrup (which can be made from corn, potatoes, wheat or even rice) – this is sometimes labelled as liquid glucose or confectioner’s syrup.

thermospatula
The thermospatula!

Some recipes advise cooking until the caramel reaches soft ball stage, which means the caramel solidifies into a coherent ball when a spoonful is dropped into cold water. I find that really difficult to judge, so I prefer to use a thermometer to make sure the mixture gets hot enough. For the last few months, I’ve been using my new thermospatula from Lakeland – it’s much easier than using my old traditional metal jam thermometer clipped to the side of the pan which made it difficult to stir – now the stirring spoon is the thermometer!)

This recipe produces a soft chewy caramel with a delicious buttery flavour. I’ll be a little more generous when I sprinkle sea salt on top next time, as the crunch and flavour of those little white flakes is gorgeous.

Easy Microwave Salted Caramels

Makes approximately 50

Ingredients

For the caramel:
Butter for greasing
120 grams butter
180 grams light corn syrup (or glucose syrup)
200 grams Demerara sugar or light brown sugar*
200 ml condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 0.5 tsp vanilla extract)
For sprinkling:
2-3 generous pinches sea salt

* You can substitute regular (white) sugar if you don’t have light brown.

Note: Since this recipe is for salted caramels, I went ahead and used lightly salted butter as that’s what we always have in our fridge. Use unsalted if you prefer.

Note: Make sure the bowl you use is heatproof to a high temperature (we used Pyrex). The mixture boils and expands enormously during cooking so the bowl also needs to be at least three or four times as large as the initial volume of all the ingredients.

Method

  • Grease a baking dish or roasting pan with butter and set aside.
  • In a large heatproof mixing bowl, melt the butter, then add all the other caramel ingredients and mix well.
  • Microwave on full power until mixture reaches a temperature of 115 °C (240 °F). We started checking after 5 minutes and returned the bowl to cook further in 30 second bursts. Full power on our microwave is 1100 watts, and our mixture took 7.5 minutes. If your microwave is less powerful, you may need to cook for a few more minutes. The mixture will start boiling and expanding long before it is ready; you need to keep cooking until you reach temperature or your caramel won’t set when it cools back down.
  • Once it’s ready, pour into prepared baking dish. It should naturally spread out such that the surface is flat.
  • After it’s cooled for a couple of minutes, sprinkle sea salt generously across the surface.
  • Leave to cool for at least an hour.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or rectangles and wrap individually in squares of parchment paper.
  • Store in the fridge, especially in warm weather.

If you try this recipe, please come back and let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear from you!

Kavey Eats received a Quick Touch microwave and a thermospatula for review. The Lakeland link is an affiliate link, please see sidebar for more information.

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20 Comments to "Microwave Magic | Easy Microwave Salted Caramels"

  1. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    Kavey, I’ve never made caramel in the microwave. I usually just use the microwave for heating up leftovers. How about using Lyle’s golden syrup in place of corn syrup? Though lots of American recipes call for corn syrup, I refuse to use the stuff!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Jean, I haven’t tried that substitute myself but I think it’s worth a try. I’d personally try liquid glucose first.

    Reply
  2. kaveyeats

    Very straightforward, you may need to adjust cooking time according to your microwave power, is all. x

    Reply
  3. kellie@foodtoglow

    I need one of those Thermospatula pens! If I take the plunge I will give you a nod. These caramels look well pro, by the way. As an American ex-pat I would say that liquid glucose is right for the consistency and properties, so would use that in a pinch. Or half golden syrup and half glucose syrup (the golden is closer in flavour to the US version).

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Hi Kellie
    The thermospatula is amazing, used it several times, really love it! And good to know that golden syrup might work, mixed in with liquid glucose.

    Reply
  4. kaveyeats

    Haaa! Didn’t you read my ode to the microwave recently, praising all the many things it can be used for? 🙂

    Reply
  5. kaveyeats

    Hey Jeanne, sorry I kept you waiting! 😉 It’s very easy so do give it a go. The most time-consuming bit was wrapping the individual pieces in paper, and I got a rhythm going for that! And yes, that thermospatula is ace!

    Reply
  6. Zoe Perrett (@TheSpiceScribe)

    I make Mysore pak (Indian gram flour fudge with a crunchie bar texture) in micro. Works brilliantly and no messing with boiling sugar syrup etc etc over a hot hob. Takes about 7 mins! Lots other Indian sweets work well, too, I believe. Great shortcut as many are laborious, as are lots of Western confectionary recipes.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes my mum has lots of recipes for microwave Indian sweets, I’ve never tried them though. I ought to!!

    Reply
  7. nazima

    clever idea Kavey – I never use my microwave beyond reheating but this is a fab idea. Storing it as an edible gift idea for the future!

    Reply

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