Ever have one of those days where things just go wrong? I set out to make devil’s food cupcakes with brown butter, salted caramel icing. Oh, the cupcakes turned out fine. But let me tell you about that icing….what a miserable waste of sugar! I browned 4 oz of Smith’s Creamery butter, added 1 cup of dark brown sugar, and simmered until the sugar melted. Then I stirred in 1/4 cup milk; it bubbled up fiercely, then settled down into a picture-perfect caramel sauce.
Now, following the recipe’s instructions, I let the caramel cool to lukewarm and began stirring in powdered sugar. Disaster began to unfold almost immediately. First, the caramel shed a ridiculous amount of fat, weeping big, oily tears with every turn of the spoon. So I stirred in a little more sugar, and it just got worse. The caramel cooled rapidly, the sugar didn’t incorporate, and I was left with the ugly, sugary, inedible mess you see above.
Bah. Both spoon and pot required long soaking to dissolve the rock-hard sugar. On the other hand, devil’s food cupcakes taste delicious with no frosting.