Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Caramel Sauce

Oh what to say, what to say? Homemade caramel is absolutely the best, and I will never buy the store brands again. Last night, I made caramel for some cupcakes that I am making (I'll post those tomorrow), and it is absolutely the easiest and most fulfilling of recipes for the amount of time and effort it takes.

For the longest time, I was scared of caramel. I don't know why, but I always pictured it bubbling up (which it did) and ending in a burnt, sticky mess (it did not.) Actually, the end result was a thick, smooth topping that trumps any brand out there. Plus it only has 4 ingredients and one is water. My version is healthier (ha) and I know exactly what's in it. It would also make a lovely gift.Sass+Frass

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Place the sugar in the center of a sauce pan, and add the water. DO NOT STIR. Why you ask? Sugar crystals will form up the side, and they don't dissolve easily once they harden. No stirring, no crystals in caramel.
2. Let the mixture boil; still do not stir, but keep a very close eye.
3. Wait until the mixture becomes a dark golden amber color (350 degrees on candy thermometer). Begin to slowly add your cream, but now you need to stir like crazy! The whole thing will bubble up and hiss, but fear not, it will calm down; just keep stirring and adding more cream.
4. Remove your caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla. (A salted caramel alternative could be to add a dash of Himalayan sea salt... delish.)
5. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, jar it, and use when ready. It will continue to thicken as it cools, especially in the fridge.

Use as a topper on ice cream, cakes, toast (just kidding about the toast... or am I?)


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