Ooh that’s artsy. What can I say, I get in those moods. “Browning” is the Caribbean version of Kitchen Bouquet or Grace. It’s a sauce additive, really just a brown coloring, used to give things like stews and gravies a deep, rich appearance. I myself am going to use it for Caribbean fruitcake. Given that the application is sweet rather than savory, it makes sense that Caribbean fruitcake lovers make their own, as homemade browning has no salt or meat or vegetable favors in it. It’s just deeply, deeply caramelized sugar that yes, tastes like the darkest of dark molasses, but then just a little bit delivers a whole lot of color with no taste to speak of.
Start yours by adding a cup of the sugar of your choice to heavy-bottomed stainless sauce pan. Here I’m using coconut sugar, which I just happened to have, but is great for browning because it turns almost black without having to burn it to near ashes. Brown sugar is also very good. White sugar can also be used.
Adding a little water up front isn’t strictly traditional, though it makes no difference because it will all cook out. Any anyway it’s a little easier on the pan than just melting the sugar outright. You’ll see why that’s important a bit later.
Swirl the mixture over high heat. See? I’ve barely started and the coconut sugar is a already caramelly brown. You’ll notice that it will form large bubbles…
…then smaller bubbles…
Until it eventually it resembles a molten mass.
When the recesses of the boiling blob turn black, and little volcanoes start to puff out clouds of smoke, you’re done. Add a quarter cup of warm water.
The mixture will condense and hiss and spit, so be careful.
Stir the mixture off the heat with a spoon until it’s homogenous…about like so, and you’re done! Pour it into a small bowl to cool. Nice work.
Well now I’m starting to see why little old Jamaican ladies make this stuff in old tomato cans on the stovetop, and stir it with bamboo skewers. Once it’s done they can just throw the makeshift cookware away without having to imperil their good pans and implements. Well, no big deal. I’m just going to fill the saucepan with water, and simmer the spoon in it. After a few minutes of simmering and gentle scraping, my pan looks like this.
Three more minutes with a scour sponge and I’m pretty much back to where I started.
Except now I have this: