There’s this coffee shop in Atlanta called Octane that makes THE BEST caramel latte. It’s this amazing, rich espresso mixed with house-made caramel sauce and organic fresh squeezed whole milk from Alabama or something.
I promise I’m not really that bougey, but it has to make a difference because that thing is the bomb! And even though I live in one the coffee capitals of the world, the irony, I know, I have been missing this drink oh so much! Which brings me to the purpose of the post.
Since I can't purchase this heavenly beverage, I shall attempt to make it. First step, call my sister, Arin, queen of caramel- making and the “Carmelatto”. From the first day she introduced me to this cafe and drink, it became our go-to cafe for any and all girl time pow-wows.
Luckily with the 6- hour time difference, she was awake when I FaceTimed her and we began discussing the beautiful components that make up this delicious drink. She agreed that this was do-able and then -LIGHTBULB- we decided to have out first simultaneous- intercontinental- caramel-making-via-FaceTime- blog post together. You probably couldn’t follow that, I barely did, but here we go anyway!
We each got our ingredients: heavy cream, butter, sugar, and salt.
Internal dialogue- “Oh this should be easy, there's only four delicious ingredients. It's gotta be gooooood”
Arin talked me through the first step and we each began to melt our sugar down.
Internal dialogue- “So far so good! Mmm can't wait to eat this. Nomnomnom”
We then melted the butter into the sugar on low heat. Arin warned me that adding the butter would make the sugar really bubble over and steam. I still wasn’t ready.
Internal dialogue- obvious fear of the caramel
(You can thank Arin for the screenshots of me screaming while the sugar bubbled and puffed with steam. Who knew it was such an intense process?)
We both removed the saucepan from the heat and slowly stirred in the milk. Arin’s caramel, looked like a pot of sweet, sweet gold at this point. Her texture was nice and smooth and the color was the perfect skin tone I desire year-round (golden caramel!).
Mine on the other hand, had a good flavor and caramel color but it had a clumpy, separated, grainy texture and just sloshed around the pan. A serious fail!!
So as Arin, dipped her sliced apples into her perfect velvetty smooth caramel, I attempted a second time.
Internal dialogue-“You got this! The caramel can not beat you" (I'm a super competitive person.)
All under Arin’s supervision, I measured, I poured, I whisked and a second fail! WHY GOD? WHY!? This batch had the perfect consistency but was burnt beyond belief. It was way too dark and taste like a smoky, charred, black marshmallow.
After two failed attempts I tapped out. I can only accept so much caramel failure in one day. But my caramel days are not over and I will perfect it!
*Side note- I hate to waste food and still used the burnt hot-dog colored caramel as my coffee sweetener and it was actually pretty good. But not good enough, I will perfect it!*
This recipe is seriously amazing, I promise! You just have to be better than me and make it correctly. Honestly, something is just wrong with me and/or my measurements and/or my mixing skills. Or let's just blame in on the Austria humidity or elevation, don't bakers say that? Is this even considered baking?! Either way, give it a try- eat it with apples, eat it with your fingers or make your very own carmelatto! I will vicariously live through ya'lls caramel until I can do it on my own. Despite my fails, making this caramel brought a little piece of Atlanta to Vienna and making it with my lover of a big sister made it that much sweeter.
Arin’s (not Mia’s) Recipe for Great Caramel
1 cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
6 Tbs butter
pinch of salt (optional, but highly recommended)
1tsp. vanilla (optional- but, c'mon! why not?)
1 heavy bottomed saucepan
1 wooden spoon or silicone spatula
1 large glass jar
1. In a saucepan, heat sugar on medium heat until completely melted. Stirring frequently until sugar is liquefied with no clumps.
2. When sugar becomes a golden, amber color, carefully add in butter and stir until melted. - This is the bubbly, steamy part. Screaming like a baby is optional.
3. Remove from heat and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, while whisking.
More steam, more bubbles. Watch out, y'all!
4. Add a pinch of salt and/or vanilla (optional, but just do it)
5.Resist dipping fingers or dunking face into finished caramel. It's lava. You have been warned
6. While warm, pour into your prettiest glass jar. Let cool and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. But I guarantee it won't last that long!