The salted caramel buttercream filling was a labor. of. love. It took me a while, and felt like a science experiment! I had only made caramel one other time before, and that was a few years back, so I had been a bit out of practice. I snapped this picture when the sugar and water was bubbling and looking pretty in the saucepan:
From here, it just kept bubbling, I kept swirling, then all of a sudden it was turning into a caramel color! The original recipe said to remove from heat once it reaches a "deep amber" color. I think I took this too literally, let my caramel get more and more brown, and then it ended up having a bit of a burnt taste to it. We ended up loving the bitterness to it, but my advice would be to remove your caramel from the heat as soon as it looks amber...don't let it get too deep amber. The recipe (from Foodess) is below, and I followed Martha's recipe for chocolate macaroon cookies.
Did anyone else bake this weekend?
Salted Caramel Buttercream:
- 1/2 c. sugar, divided
- 2 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp milk (recipe calls for cream, I used 1% milk and it worked just fine)
- 2 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick of softened butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Put 1/4 c. sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not stir, that will create crystals of sugar, but you can lift and swirl your pan around occassionaly to prevent sticking to the bottom. It will bubble like crazy, and evenutally turn a nice pretty amber-caramel color.
- As SOON as it turns caramel color, remove from heat and add in milk or cream. When you add the milk, it will turn SUPER bubbly and crazy- stir it quickly until smooth, and then set aside.
- Put the egg whites, salt, and 1/4 c. sugar in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and your mixture reaches 140 degrees. Mine stopped heating around 130...I pulled it off and it was fine. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer.
- Beat on high until stiff peas form. Add butter 1 tbsp. at a time, and continuously beat on medium.
- Reduce speed to low, and add in vanilla and caramel (you may need to heat up your caramel a little bit at this point- it should be easy to work with but not hot.)
- Beat mixture for an additional 4-5 minutes until smooth. Enjoy!