Salted Caramel Sauce
There is something that will soon become very clear if it hasn’t already. I have a problem. I have a salted caramel problem. It’s to such proportion that I may possibly need to find a 12 step program. I love salted carmel. I have for a long time but now that it’s the really cool kid on the block I find it’s feeding my addiction. I see if all over the place. I normally eat something that is salted caramel in nature every day. If I don’t have salted caramel, I’m thinking of what I can make with it and OH the list is long. I’ve even decided to make it an entire category here so if you, too are a salted caramel froot loop like me you’re going to LOVE IT! If not, well let me say I’m truly sorry. I’ll do my best not to lose any readers due to this little problem of mine. I’ll space it so that hopefully you don’t notice too much.
So, I thought what better way to start this new category of dishes is to go back to the basics. You’ve got to know how to make a good salted caramel sauce before you can add it to anything, right? I do have a caramel recipe (if you can call it that) on this blog already. You can find it here. It’s a great way to make fool proof caramel that tastes amazing but I’m going to show you the traditional way of making caramel sauce that can be used for just about anything. Sauces for baked goods, ice cream topping, dip for fruit…just about anything.
If you’ve ever tried to make caramel and failed please don’t be discouraged. It can be finicky but once you master it, you’ll never forget it and what it takes to get it where it needs to be.
A couple of tips before we get started. The best pot for making caramel is one that is shiny on the bottom or porcelain as opposed to a dark coated pot. You have to see the color changing and it’s much more difficult to gauge when the bottom of the pot is dark to start with. Also, you’ll need to use a fairly large pot. One much bigger than what you’d think. The reason is because when you add the cream and butter once the sugar has gotten to the right color, it foams up violently so be prepared. I wear an oven mitt on my hand that I whisk with to prevent the steam from scorching me. I learned this lesson the hard way. Learn from my mistake! If this is your first time, make sure you’re using regular white granulated sugar. Organic sugar and raw or demara sugar have a darker color and can confuse you and up your chances of burning it. When you put the sugar in the pot, put it in the middle and away from the sides to keep the sugar crystals from forming. If you do have sugar crystals that form on the sides of your pot, use a pastry brush to brush them back down although I never have this problem. When you’re cooking the sugar down, use your nose. This is how you’ll learn to recognize when it’s done. If you stop it from cooking too early you’ll just have a sweet sauce with not much flavor. It needs to smoke and get that rich, deep flavor. But if you let it go just a few seconds too long, it’s ruined. Smell the mixture that’s bubbling on the stove often. At first it’ll just smell sweet but the longer it cooks it’ll begin to change and you’ll know you’re getting close to the end. I’ve tried in the past to double the recipe and no matter how closely I pay attention, I cannot get it right. It takes a good bit longer and every time I stop it before it’s time, even when I think I’ve burned it so when you’re learning, start with this recipe and it’ll be much easier. Have on hand what you need before you start. Those items excluding the sugar and water are listed here:
- a medium to large shiny bottom or porcelain pot
- a whisk
- a pastry brush with natural bristles (in my opinion this is optional)
- half a stick of butter cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup cream
- half a block of cream cheese
- vanilla extract (optional)
When you cook the sugar you need to pay very close attention. Caramel doesn’t take long at all so just stand there next to it until it’s done. It’s definitely worth it, I promise. If you don’t like salted caramel then just omit the salt.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 of an 8 oz bar cream cheese (this is optional but makes it so much better in my opinion)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add water to a large sauce pot.
- Place sugar in the middle of the pot.
- Turn on heat to medium low and stir gently just until the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn heat to medium high and watch very closely from this point on making sure not to stir again.
- Swirl the pan lightly at intervals if needed.
- Watch the liquid go from clear to a light golden color and then eventually to a dark amber.
- Once the liquid begins to smoke lightly, count to 30 and turn of the heat.
- Whisk in the cream, butter and cream cheese until melted. Be very careful. It will foam up violently and is very hot. Wear an oven mitt to protect your hand while whisking.
- Add salt and taste and vanilla if desired.
Now, go ahead and try it. It only takes a cup of sugar so there’s really very little investment. And do please let me know how it goes! I love hearing from you all and you need to get this down because there are so many amazing salted caramel recipes coming. Don’t get behind!