Peter’s Caramel is beloved by pastry chefs, bakers, and confectioners alike. And if you have been a long-time follower of Gygi’s you know exactly how much we love this stuff. But despite being such a popular item at Gygi’s, we still get so many questions about Peter’s Caramel. So we figured it was the perfect time for a little refresher course on this amazing caramel and what you can expect when you make this a staple ingredient in your pantry. These are a few things you might be wondering about:
How much caramel is in a loaf of Peter’s Caramel? 5lbs. That might sound like way too much, but when you can melt it into a quick snack or cut it up into individual caramel treats, you might be surprised how quickly it starts to disappear.
What is the melting point of caramel? According to Peter’s you should melt caramel to approximately 170 to 180℉ for full melt (this means easy pouring and dipping) and maintain it in the 160 to 180℉ range. Do not heat it above 190℉ because this changes the flavor, quality, and texture of the caramel and it will harden and crack when cooled.
What is the best way to melt lots of caramel? Our favorite method for melting a large amount of caramel is low and slow in the oven. Place the caramel in your favorite enamel covered Dutch oven (we absolutely love the Staub Cocotte 5 quart for half a block or one full block. Only use a Staub Cocotte 7 quart for two blocks of caramel). Set the oven to 200℉, put the lid on the pot, and let the caramel melt for 90-120 minutes. No need to stand over the stove constantly stirring.
What is the best way to melt a little caramel? Looking to use some caramel for a smaller treat? The easiest way to melt just a little caramel is in the microwave. Place the caramel in a plastic or silicone microwave safe bowl. Cook it for 30 seconds. Then stir the caramel. Cook for another 30 and stir. Continue heating in small increments until melted to the desired temperature. Note: always, always watch your caramel and stir gently between each microwaving interval to avoid scorching it.
Is melting the only way to use caramel? Absolutely not! Peter’s Caramel comes so soft and pliable. You can roll it out, cut it up, and shape it for any number of delicious, caramely treats.
How do I store caramel? Like chocolate, you want to store your loaf of caramel in a cool, dry place. Ideal conditions are 55 to 65℉ and less than 50% relative humidity. If you store it in the fridge or freezer this could introduce moisture and make the caramel gritty. You also want to be careful about what you store it next to. Caramel can act like a sponge and absorb any strong odors or flavors that are stored in close proximity.
How long can I store Peter’s caramel? With proper storage, a loaf of Peter’s Caramel can last for a little over a year. If you use it as often as we do, that is plenty of time to use it all up before it expires.
Did you learn something new about Peter’s? Or have you been around here long enough that none of this comes as a surprise to you? Either way, you are probably ready to get melting and dipping and enjoying some caramel treats. Here are some of our most favorite caramel recipes of all time. We can’t wait to see how you share some of this ooey, gooey goodness with your family, friends, and neighbors this season.
PattOctober 16, 2022 at 3:33 pm
I love Peter’s Caramel for caramel apples. It covers the apples beautifully but even if I refrigerate before and after dipping (wax-free apples) the caramel eventually slides down and pools around the apple. Any suggestions?
WhitneyOctober 18, 2022 at 3:35 pm
We have found that it is more likely to slide off if the caramel is overheated, so maybe try melting the caramel slightly less. Eventually, the caramel may slide off over a number of days since Peter’s caramel stays softer. We have found that dipping them in chocolate helps provide stability and keeps the caramel on the apple for more than a few days. Believe it or not, a plain caramel apple without other toppings is the hardest to make and is best served fresh.
Laura PalmbergNovember 2, 2022 at 4:36 pm
I’ve had 3 loaves of caramel for several months now and when heating it looks a little grainy. Almost like little crystals. It also seems a little thicker when heated.
Is it ruined, or should I thin it out a little?
I love Peter’s caramel and use it often! Thanks for all the info. you share. I love the blog!
WhitneyNovember 15, 2022 at 2:53 pm
It sounds like your caramel may be getting old and is starting to crystallize. You can try adding a little bit of heavy whipping cream to thin it down. Just know that if you add too much cream, it won’t set up as nicely. We love using caramel that has started to crystalize for making salted caramel popcorn or salted caramel rice Krispie treats. Keep the freshest caramel for dipping apples and pretzel rods.