Above: A spoonful of the blog's namesake, Salty Caramel, made with magic unmeltable sugar.
New science news to chew on: Sugar doesn't have a discernible melting point because it doesn't melt--it decomposes.
Anyone who's ever worked with sugar knows that it's tricky to work with but pretty magical. You can make rock candy with it. You can heat it and pull it and those tiny air bubbles make it glisten as you make those old-fashioned ribbon candies.
And you "burn" and stir it on a stovetop as we do in our kitchen (and as I show you in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home) to make Salty Caramel ice cream. You can instantly taste and smell the difference between stove-top caramel and lab-built caramel immediately. The caramel we make in our kitchen is rich, full-bodied, buttery, and warm true caramel. It's such a complex flavor, no one could possibly reproduce the same ingredient in a lab.
Almost all the "caramel" you find in your ice cream and lattes is synthesized flavoring. To make what I think is the most beautiful scent, you have to start with a copper kettle over an open flame and stir it with a paddle until it just begins to smoke (at something like 350 degrees) then slowly add cold cream to the pan until it erupts into a volcanic explosion of sugar, steam, and popping cream.
Keep stirring and incorporating (trying not to get any on your skin) and what you end up with is beautifully scented caramel cream.
If you're an ice cream maker you know that sugar does funny things in ice cream; it lives and breathes and moves around, keeping the water in the ice cream from freezing completely, and exchanging, liquifying, and crystallizing, depending on what you've got in there (even at very low temperatures).
Add a handful of dry, unsweetened bread crumbs to your ice cream and in a day or so, the crumbs will have absorbed the sugar syrup from the ice cream and be more like cake than toast.
Sugar does not melt--it just decomposes. It changes. Cool. I can't wait to see how this new information changes anything in the world of ice cream, candies, or pastry.