There's nothing like demystifying a treat like caramel sauce to make me feel invincible in the kitchen. For me, this simple recipe is a delicious revelation.
For years, we have bought caramel sauce at the store to drizzle over homemade sundaes. The other night I found a pint of vanilla ice cream in the freezer, but when I looked in the fridge for the caramel sauce there was none to be found. I automatically grabbed my purse to dash out to the local market to satisfy my craving. Then I reminded myself that cooking at home is usually easier, tastier, cheaper, and quicker than buying something at the store. I figured a tome like the Joy of Cooking would have plenty to say on the subject of caramel sauce, and it did. The recipe I found was simple and delectable - plus we already had all of the ingredients on-hand. Within minutes, and without stepping out in the rain or spending a penny, I was eating one of the best caramel sundaes I can remember.
adapted from The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- pinch of salt (I added a few more pinches, because I like my caramel salted)
Place sugar in a small heavy sauce pan. Pour water evenly over the top. Turn stove top to medium-high heat. Hold sauce pan by the handle and swirl occasionally until sugar has dissolved. (Avoid letting sugar burn until completely dissolved.) Cover pan, turn heat to high, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove lid and continue to boil until syrup turns brown around the edges of the pan. Again grab the handle and swirl syrup occasionally until it turns a deep amber and begins to smoke.
Remove pan from heat. Add butter. Gently whisk, until all butter is mixed in.
Stir in cream.
If sauce become lumpy, set pan over low heat and stir until smooth then turn off heat again.
Stir in vanilla and salt.
Pour warm caramel over ice cream or slices of fresh pear. Or maybe even eat a spoonful just because you made it.