Hot Sugar – Caramel Sauce – Pancakes

Hot Sugar – Caramel Sauce – Pancakes


I read a book for teaching students important techniques for cooking (Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques). I have always wanted to make sauces with sugar. I was intimidated by hearing the terms soft ball or hard crack when watching the Food Network. I was intimidated when Martha Stewart made caramel covered apples. I use science to overcome my problems. If I am able to have the explanations for why something happens, and if I am able to have experience working with something, then I am usually more confident. I am now able to talk, reason, think, and work with sugar.

These pictures document the different states of cooled sugar syrup when sugar is heated. When someone heats sugar to a high temperature, it changes color and becomes caramel. When someone heats sugar, it becomes a solid object after the syrup cools. The sugar was originally a volume of granules.

When people lacked thermometers, people supposedly tested the solid state of the sugar syrup by dipping their fingers in cold water, then dipping their fingers in the boiling sugar syrup, and then dipping their fingers in the cold water. Maybe I will try this sometime.

Since I only publish part of my diet, I want to remind people that I eat fruits and vegetables in the morning. I make smoothies [1][2] with fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and similar things that can be eaten raw. The most basic smoothie is probably made with carrots and bananas since they are so inexpensive. I have eaten smoothies for breakfast for about 7 months. I have better health and more energy. I am able to believe that my food tastes better (this may have a more complex explanation).

Caramel, not caramel syrup, can be ground into a powder and added to pastry cream. Caramel is often used to make pralines [1][2]. Pralines can be ground into a powder and added to pastry cream. This is one of the techniques of Jacques Pépin. Adding a pastry cream made with a powder made with caramel is probably exciting when served with crepes. The caramel sauce is a recipe by Thomas Keller. The sauce is rich and intense. I am so happy to have this recipe. Caramel was one of my favorite flavors when I was young.

Notes: 1) before the temperature reaches the desired temperature, lift the pan from the heat and watch the thermometer; put the pan in ice water at the moment the temperature changes to the desired temperature, once the temperature has fallen a couple of degrees use the syrup immediately, or reheat, 2) (tentative) clean the edges of the pan with water and a pastry brush to prohibit caramelized sugar from contaminating the syrup; syrups made at low temperatures should not have the flavor of crystalized sugar, 3) the chemical changes that occur during the Maillard reaction may occur at the point that all the water has been evaporated from the mixture, 4) when making caramel, put syrup on a white plate to observe the color of the caramel (since the second table says that sugar becomes caramel at a lower temperature than the first), 5) these experiments used 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water, if I had a smaller saucepan (butter warmer) I would have obviously used less but to have a depth sufficient enough to use a thermometer these proportions worked, they probably make about 3/4 cups of syrup, 6) I observed that granulated sugar must be mixed with water to become a syrup or it caramelizes on the bottom of the pan, confectioners’ sugar may not require water, 7) clean a saucepan filled with sugar syrup by boiling water in the saucepan with the lid on the saucepan, 8) do not pour hot syrup down a drain, 9) clean things covered in hot sugar with boiling water

The following tables gives the temperatures for working with sugar:

From The Book (Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques):

 Fahrenheit Celsius
Soft Ball 240-245  115.6-118.3
Hard Ball 260  126.7
Soft Crack 275  135
Hard Crack 290  143.3
Caramelize 290   143.3
Burn 375  190.6

From The Thermometer

 Fahrenheit  Celsius
Soft Ball 240   115.6
Firm Ball 248  120
Caramel (?) 248  120
Hard Ball 260   126.7
Soft Crack 285  140.6
Hard Crack 302  150
Glace [1][2] 320  160

Pancakes With Caramel Sauce (see my last blog post with pancakes)

Caramel Sauce (Syrup Heated To 360°F/182°C)

Working With Sugar – Burnt Sugar – 375°F/190.5°C

Soft Ball

Hard Ball

Soft Crack

Hard Crack (Cooled In Water)


Hard Crack

Caramel (Syrup Heated To 330°F/165.5°C)

Caramel Sauce (Syrup Heated To 360°F/182°C)

Cold Caramel Sauce


Pancakes With Caramel Sauce

More Pancakes

1. Jeni Wright, Eric Treuille: Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques (New York: William Morrow And Company, Inc., 1996), 280-281.
2. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan, 2009), 344.
3. Jacques Pépin: Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001), 585.

6 thoughts on “Hot Sugar – Caramel Sauce – Pancakes

  1. I’m a sugar-cooker from way back. I can understand your former trepidation; it all can seem so mysterious. I hope that people in the past did not dip their fingers in boiling sugar! I did this once, instinctively, when I dropped a spoon into a pot nearly at the soft crack stage and reflexively reached for it. I got a burn I still remember vividly. Anyone who has never made homemade caramel sauce has no idea what they’re missing, as you can attest to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This technique is in two French books that I have. Ice water, syrup, ice water…? La Cuisine by Raymond Oliver, and Cooking Techniques by Le Cordon Bleu. I hope that they are not baiting people and attempting to lead them astray. That would hurt.

      Liked by 1 person

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