Fall brings with it many flavors that I love; pumpkin, maple, cinnamon, ginger…. But the flavor that I love the most is caramel. Caramel is the perfect addition to so many things from cakes to apples to ice cream. I like to keep a jar of caramel sauce in my refrigerator during this time of year so I can add it to anything that needs a little caramelized sweetness.
Just look at how beautiful that amber colored sauce is.
It is a great way to make a healthy dessert with a touch of added sweetness, like on this plate of sliced bananas.
I first came across this caramel sauce recipe when I was making the Southern Comfort Apple Pie from one of my baking books, The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. That pie is AMAZING! If you haven’t tried it yet I highly recommend you make it an addition to this year’s Thanksgiving dessert menu. Anyway, in the book Rebecca recommends that you drizzle this heated caramel sauce over the pie when serving. The first few times I made the pie I didn’t bother making the sauce. The pie was so good I didn’t think it needed it. But then, one day, I decided I would try the sauce too. I made up a batch and OH MY WORD!! It was heaven in a jar! I then drizzled it over the pie and it made an already amazing pie absolutely majestic! Okay, maybe I am getting a little crazy about this pie but it really is that good and so is the caramel sauce. In fact everything I have made from The Pastry Queen has been incredible. I would consider this book a must-have for any serious baker.
I made a pie and jar of sauce as a gift for a friend and she ended up asking me for the recipe for the sauce because, after she ate the pie, she used it in her coffee. She said it was so good that she just had to have the recipe so she wouldn’t run out. I have since used it as an ice cream topping, a fruit dip and even as a quick yummy sugar rush when I just crave a spoonful in the middle of the day.
Okay, enough talk about the sauce, let’s make it. Click on this link for a printable version of the Caramel Sauce recipe.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
You only need four basic ingredients to make caramel sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into several chunks (that’s 1/2 a stick)
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
Dash of salt
Pour the sugar in a heavy duty sauce pan (do not use a non-stick pan, it will not melt properly) over medium heat until it is completely melted and turns amber in color. I let it set until the bottom layer of sugar has melted, then I stir it a little to move the unmelted sugar towards the bottom of the pan and prevent the melted sugar from burning. It should take about 5 minutes. Be sure to watch the sugar very closely and don’t let it burn. If it burns you can not save it because you won’t be able to get rid of the burnt taste. You are best to start over with a new batch.
Here is the sugar before it starts to melt:
And here is the sugar once it is fully melted:
If you find that after melting, you still have a few small sugar chunks, don’t worry because you will strain it later.
Step 3: Add butter
Decrease the heat to low and then add the butter all at once. Stir until combined. Be careful because it will bubble up and you don’t want to get any hot sugar splatters on your hands.
Once the butter has melted, add the cream a couple of tablespoons at a time. Stir to combine after each addition. It is important that you add the cream slowly like this or else the sauce will cool too fast and get clumpy. Continue to stir until the sauce is melted and smooth. If there are a few clumps, don’t worry since you will strain it soon.
The sauce will continue to bubble as the cream is added.
Step 5: Add salt
Once the cream is fully incorporated, remove the pan from the heat and add the dash of salt. Mix until it is combined.
Pour the hot sauce through a fine sieve into a glass container to remove any clumps. Be careful while doing this because the sauce is very hot.
Step 7: Cool
Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Sauce can be stored for 3 weeks. It will become quite thick in the refrigerator so just reheat it in the microwave to a pourable consistency when you are ready to use it.
I hope you love this sauce as much as I do. Let me know if you come up with any other great uses for it.
Until next time, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.