Sunday, February 7, 2010

HOMEMADE CARAMEL SAUCE



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.

INGREDIENTS
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.





33 comments:

  1. So simple and good on those perfect pears... caramel is a great idea!

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  2. I love making caramel sauce; it's so rewarding. Your sauce looks fantastic. I love the juxtaposition of the caramel and the fresh apple. YUM!

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  3. Oh yum, this is a definite must try soon; thanks for sharing.

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  4. I almost don't want to know, or see, how simple this sauce is to make. I recently made a decadent hot fudge sauce that took all of 10 minutes, 9 of which were spent boiling. Life was good and it was that simple. Why other people think that cooking is so time consuming and torturous can kind of baffle me. I suppose it's about priorities.

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  5. Once again, I am the lucky person (along with the kiddies) who got to enjoy this liquid pleasure. It was so good. It does add such joy to food when you make it yourself, with love. Thanks again, darling.

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  6. It looks like you're storing this recipe in a canning jar, or can this recipe be processed in a water bath or pressure canner to be stored for longer periods?

    Thanks!

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  7. Hey Juliette,
    I do store the caramel in a canning jar - my go-to storage container for most things. I haven't tried to seal the jars for longer term preservation. We just pop the jar in the fridge and it usually gets eaten within a week.
    If you do try to preserve the caramel, I'd love to hear how it goes for you.
    Thanks for stopping by,
    E

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  8. I don't have heavy cream...can I use just regular milk?

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  9. I don't think milk would work, but I believe there are caramel recipes that call for sugar, butter and maybe corn starch?
    Cheers!

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  10. This was my first time making caramel sauce, and it was so easy and delicious!!

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  11. I'm so glad you like the recipe! I warm you, we have found it to be a bit dangerous to be able to make our own caramel sauce so easily!
    Thanks so much for the comment.

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  12. I made it and mentioned your recipe, too. Caramel is a fun sauce to make.

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  13. Thanks Sara! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe:)

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  14. AnonymousJune 02, 2011

    Wickedly, wickedly delicious (and easy!)...so good, after enjoying it with my ice cream in the evening, I couldn't resist a carmel latte in the am...who has enough to preserve!? Not I...

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  15. grogthefrogJune 25, 2011

    I halved the recipe to make for a serving of fruit for 2. Apple, pear and bannana.
    I then added just a few chocalte chips as well as a pinch of chile powder.....
    ...AMAZING!!

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  16. E,
    Great that your home safe and sound. So happy to be with you on your journeys abroad and will miss my "vacation" with you.
    Have I told you that I love this site?...I do.
    Oli

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  17. I so have to try this recipe. My husband loves all things caramel and this is simply perfect! Have a wonderful day:) Kisses

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  18. Hi Diana, I hope you hubbie likes the caramel... We find it to be dangerously good!
    -E

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  19. Oh MY YUM! Never knew it was so easy to make! Thank you!! You made me a hit with the kids!

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  20. Oh, my, goodness!! This is awesome! And so easy. I have been using Mark Bittman's recipe, from How to Cook Everything. But it's for candies, not sauce, so I always had to thin it out. And it makes such a large portion that we end up throwing some away. I hate waste, so I pulled out my Joy of Cooking and was bummed to find that the pages were missing (it's a book club edition). So, I was so glad to find your post and have the recipe turn out fabulous. Thanks!

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  21. Hey allthingsheath, Thanks so much for that nice comment. I'm so glad you seem to love this recipe as much as we do. We almost always have a jar of it in the fridge. Thank you Joy of Cooking!
    -E

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  22. Just found this recipe and made it this morning. Oh. My. Goodness. Delicious! I love your instructions. Boiling sugar is a bit like using the broiler - how quickly things can go from perfect to Uh-oh. Your instructions make it very clear and easy. I actually doubled the recipe to use for a caramel apple pie, but I believe I'll be "testing" it frequently with a spoon until that pie gets made. Thank you!

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  23. Joan, I'm so glad you are enjoying the caramel sauce. The "testing" is one of the best parts;)
    -E

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  24. Thanks so much for a great recipe. I used my sauce to make a caramel apple cheesecake and it was so decadent and also as a dip for fresh cut apples.

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  25. I have made this a few times when I have some extra cream in the fridge and it is sooooo yummy!!! Like you, I add a few pinches of salt because I looove salted caramel! I share it with my best friend who also really enjoys it :) I hope you don't mind but I have recently started a blog and I am sharing the recipe (with a link back to your site, of course). :)

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  26. Do you Have to store this in the fridge or is it ok to leave out?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Elizabeth, I would keep it in the fridge.
      Thanks,
      E

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  27. My cousin makes this recipe every time we have ice cream sundaes - vanilla ice cream, fresh berries, and caramel sauce. It blows my mind every single time. I had to have the recipe, and now I make it on a near weekly basis. I used to use regular pure vanilla extract, until today when I used the Madagascar Pure Vanilla Paste. I was emotional over how amazing it was. And to see the little vanilla seeds gives it something extra special. I've decided this will be my Christmas gifts this year.
    p.s. I heart your blog

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    1. Adriana, Thanks so much for this sweet note - I was really touched.

      We are dangerously addicted to making caramel sauce as well. I have a new version I've been working on for my cookbook - I hope you'll enjoy it.

      Using Vanilla paste is a beautiful idea - thank you for sharing your inspiration with me! I'll try that one next time.

      Happy holidays to you,
      E

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  28. Thanks for the recipe! I'm making "sundae kits" for some Christmas presents today and I'm wondering if I can just make a bigger batch at once or if it works better to just do this amount at a time? If I do make a bigger batch, would the 2 minutes of boiling change before I remove the lid? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Renae,

      Sundae kits? Brilliant. I'd like to be on your gift list:)

      I think you could double your batch size but I wouldn't go much bigger than that. Caramel is a fussy thing and I think you'll have more success making smaller batches.

      For a double batch: the dissolving phase may take a bit longer; the boiling should remain at 2 minutes; the darkening phase may take a bit longer. Trust yourself - when you see the caramel really darkening around the edges and it starts to smoke - you'll be done.

      Happy Holidays to you!
      Erin

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  29. Can I DON'T use Vanilla extract, mine just finished.

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    Replies
    1. Sheera, The flavor sauce is much better with vanilla, but I'm sure you're fine without it too. Sugar, butter and salt usually equal deliciousness;)

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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