Is there an easy, fool-proof way to make caramel?

I had been asked this question so often over the years that I included my favorite way to make caramel in Sara Moulton Cooks at Home. You can find it on page 54 and an in depth explanation of why I think it is the best method on page 55. Here are the instructions: “Place the sugar in a heavy skillet or saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until the sugar starts to melt. Stop stirring and continue cooking, swirling the skillet or pan often, until the sugar cooks to a dark golden caramel.” Use immediately as directed in the recipe or pour onto an oiled baking sheet to cool as it will continue to darken if left in the hot pan.

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