I've been on summer break for a little less than a month (ok, well now that I am actually getting around to finishing this, it is closer to two months) It doesn't feel like much of a break. I've been reading for grad school, and writing papers, and planning for summer school. I have had to take a long look at my summer project list that I added to all year and move pretty much everything to the Next Summer list. It makes me feel a little sad and poor, mopey me, but ultimately it is probably best to just get as much school out of the way now and hope to have a summer next year. But all that work during my supposed break has left me longing for little ways to make the day feel vacation-y. Lately, that has meant I start my mornings with a mini-batch of caramel for my coffee.
I know that I could make a big batch of caramel and just use a spoonful every morning. Well, technically what I mean, is that I know it is possible and probably something that other people do - make big batches of caramel just to have on hand. I, however, would make a big batch, put a spoonful in my coffee and then pour all the rest of it into my mouth. That's something I know about me.
Besides, this perfect, mini-batch caramel experiment is laced with the kind of shame that does not want a whole jar of evidence lying around. I used to make tiny mini-batches of caramel when I worked from home as a secret, sugary, delicious way to savor my mornings not spent driving in traffic all over the place. Since I was making a pseudo-attempt to try to not eat sugar all the time, it seemed best to not have a jar of super-intentionally made caramel sitting in the fridge. And obviously, making a whole jar of caramel that turns out the first time, means there's no need to take a break from work to make a quick batch of mini-caramel for your second cup of coffee.
The mini-batch of caramel is the perfect morning treat. It means you have to take 10 minutes to make your kitchen smell heavenly and your coffee taste dreamy, and to enjoy the little bits of break you can find wherever you can.
I have made this caramel using whole milk, half and half and heavy whipping cream for the 'milk' element of it. Obviously it's creamier with the higher fat content options, but honestly, they are all a pretty fabulous.
Mini Batch of Coffee Caramel
Makes enough for two cups
1 T Butter
1 T Heavy Whipping Cream (whole milk or half and half will also work)
1 T Brown Sugar
1 T White Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
tiny pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, add the butter, Whipping Cream and sugars and stir to combine. Turn to medium-high heat and stir constantly. The sugar will melt and it will bubble. Figuring out the right time to take it off is a bit of a science. It's really too shallow in the pan to use a candy thermometer, so you have to eye it. Wait for the caramel to begin to darken just slightly and then pour it into your coffee and enjoy!