Caramel Sauce Recipe

Yields: About 1 – 1 1/4 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or more to taste)

Equipment:

  • Medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan (light-colored is best to monitor color)
  • Heatproof silicone spatula or wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • Heatproof container for storage (like a glass jar)

Instructions

Melt and Caramelize the Sugar:

  • Combine sugar and water in the saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once dissolved, stop stirring and let the mixture bubble undisturbed until it turns a deep amber color.
  • Swirl the pan occasionally for even caramelization. This takes about 5-8 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning!

Add Butter:

  • Immediately remove from heat. Carefully add the butter, whisking constantly. The caramel will bubble up vigorously.
  • Keep whisking until the butter is fully melted and incorporated.

Add Cream:

  • Slowly whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture might splatter, so use caution.
  • Keep whisking until the sauce is smooth. If any lumps form, return the pan to low heat and whisk until melted.

Finish It Off:

  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt. Taste and add more salt if desired.
  • For a smoother texture, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve.

Cool and Store:

  • Allow the caramel sauce to cool slightly. It will thicken as it cools.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm gently before using.

Tips:

  • Heavy-bottomed Pan: This distributes heat evenly for better caramelization.
  • Don’t Over Stir: This can cause crystallization and a grainy texture.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: This helps prevent the caramel from seizing (forming hard lumps).
  • Watch the Color: Deep amber is ideal. Too light, it will be weakly flavored; too dark, it can become bitter.
  • Strain if Needed: For an ultra-smooth sauce.
  • Flavor Variations: Add a pinch of cinnamon, a splash of bourbon, or a touch of espresso powder for different flavor profiles.

Uses:

  • Over ice cream
  • With apple slices
  • Drizzled on cakes or brownies
  • Filling for cookies
  • Swirled into coffee
  • Gift in a pretty jar

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