Monday, August 29, 2011

Benjamin Franklin Was A Genius

No photo to go with this blog.
No recipe either.
Why? Well, have you ever had one of those moments when you know you shouldn’t try something but you do it anyway? I have had those moments many times and you would think by now I would learn to go with my instinct.
It started out innocently enough. It was Saturday. I had successfully made a rhubarb pie and a rhubarb tart and had started dinner in the crock pot. I was watching television feeling a bit bored and thought, “I know, I will try that Salted Caramel Ice Cream I have been dying to try.”
Turns out I didn’t have all the ingredients necessary so a trip to the store would be in order. Okay, so it is 5:00 pm and maybe a little late to start experimenting with a new recipe...but I was determined to attempt it. I made a run to the store to buy cream and milk, even though it was 36 degrees out and hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk. (That is what air conditioning in vehicles is for, right?)
Okay, so far so good. Made it home and now I can start.
Nope, not yet.
Turns out I also needed cream cheese.
The cream cheese I had left in the fridge for exactly this purpose had been used by someone else in the house. OKAY. Another trip to the store in the bazillion degree heat. It’s okay, the ice cream is going to be worth it, right?
(This is where the “maybe you should stop and do this another night” started to come in)
So now, I made it back home. I have all of my ingredients. I have read the recipe 60 times to ensure I know the steps in order and have placed everything out in order that I will need it. I am good to go.
First I need to wash the dishes because I am going to need space by the sink for the ice bath that I need to cool the recipe before placing it in the ice cream machine.
OKAY. Dishes are now done. Now I’m hot and getting a little cranky that this is taking so long. Dinner is cooked and sitting in the crock pot waiting to be eaten.
(It’s okay though...this is going to be the best ice cream ever....)
I start the sugar to caramelizing. I have my heat proof spatula ready. Cream, ready. Cream cheese, ready. Ice bath, ready. I’m thinking, “Uh oh, that caramel looks a little dark. But, it’s’ll still work.”
The second I poured some cream in, it seized. Hard as a rock. Stuck to the bottom of the pan.
You are thinking – Good time to give up, right?
I am making this ice cream if it kills me now.
Second batch of sugar on the stove. Heat is lowered. Pan of burnt caramel soaking with hot water beside the sink. Ready for attempt number two.
Okay, sugar is starting to turn golden brown. It looks perfect. Slowly add in the cream while stirring. SEIZED. AGAIN. This time at least it didn’t completely glue to the bottom of the pan. I can chip it off with a knife.
Kind of.
Seriously, what the heck.
Okay, one last try. This time it will work. Mom and dad have eaten dinner. Mine is now getting overcooked in the crock pot – that’s okay, at this point I am no longer that hungry. I’m hot, frustrated, and seriously thinking that making this Salted Caramel Ice Cream is going to be the death of me.
I have made caramel before. I know I can do it.
Third pan of sugar on the stove. Heat is lowered, again. Two pans of seized caramel soaking by the sink.
Okay, the sugar is just starting to turn brown. I take it off the heat and make sure all the white sugar has dissolved and there is only a beautiful golden syrup in the pot. Slowly add the cream.
Oh my’s bubbling just like the recipe said it should. Okay, slowly add a little more cream, keep stirring.
No, no, no, no, no! SEIZED.
Now I’m looking at these lovely caramel chunks floating in a sea of lukewarm cream. A sink full of pots with caramel cemented to them. Dishes lining the cupboard with ingredients that are about to be wasted.
Well, I know when I am beat. I knew when I had to make a second trip to the store for more ingredients that I should’ve listened to my gut.
I really, really wanted some Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
It’s okay. I’m going to Google it and find a recipe that will work for me. I WILL have Salted Caramel Ice Cream.  (I may be a little obsessed now)

Why did I title this blog "Benjamin Franklin was a genius"?
He once said "I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong."
I like that.
3 ways down for me, 97 more to go :)

P.S. – I did manage to get the caramel cement off of 2 pans. My secret weapon got the third one clean. My secret weapon you ask?
“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad, fiiiiiiiiiiiiiix this pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!” 
Works every time.

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