Monday, October 17, 2011

Caramel Sauce

Which would you choose, a caramel sundae or a hot fudge sundae?  I am a caramel girl.  I think it is because it reminds me of my grandpa who loved caramels.  Every time I eat caramel on anything I remember him enjoying a bowl of ice-cream topped with rich and sweet caramel sauce.  But in all honesty, I can eat it with a spoon and ditch the ice cream altogether, YUM!

Caramel is  melted sugar and it has a reputation for being tricky or temperamental to make.  I will admit that it isn't the easiest thing ever, but if you follow the directions and use the right tools you will end up with yummy, thick, delicious caramel sauce that makes vanilla ice cream better, and any apple dessert amazing.  So, be brave and try a batch you won't want to go back to the store purchased kind again!  

The Basics
There are two ways to make caramel.  The dry method involves heating sugar in a pan until is begins to melt.  There is nothing else added and it can be tricky.  The wet method, which I prefer, is done by bringing sugar and water to a boil and carefully supervising it as it goes through the stages of cooking.

You need the right tools and the right environment.  Please don't leave your eight year old to stir the pot or be cooking a masterpiece dinner at the same time.  This stuff needs some attention and care when working with it.  Boiling sugar is extremely extremely hot.  It will burn you if you are not careful.  We are heating this stuff to over 380 degrees (water boils at 212 degrees F!!)

Please Have:
a large heavy pot (you don't want the sauce to boil over)
heat safe stirring utensils (wooden or silicone is awesome!)
Candy thermometer that you trust.  Some are not accurate and you don't want burnt caramel.
A bowl of ice water next to your work area just in case you get boiling sugar on yourself.

Please for your safety and to guarantee the results of your sauce:
Give your attention, your full attention to this sauce
Do not touch or taste the sauce
Be careful when adding the cream

Homemade Caramel Sauce
Recipe Source: I'm not sure.  This recipe was tucked in with some of my grandmother's old recipe cards. 

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 liquid cup water
1/2 liquid cup heavy cream, heated until warm
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine grain salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy pot combine the sugar, syrup, and water. Put you candy thermometer in the pot, making sure the tip is under the liquid.

Over medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is bubbling.  Continue the boil, but  not stirring it until the sugar turns an amber color and the thermometer reads 380 F.  Watch closely because it will burn very quickly.  Immediately remove the syrup from the heat and pour in the cream.  It will bubble up, but don't be alarmed.

Using your spatula or wooden spoon stir the mixture very well.  Some syrup may want to settle on the bottom but keep stirring. Once your mixture is smooth stir in the butter and salt.  If you have lumps that sneak in, return the pot to the heat and stir well.  Allow the mixture to cool about 5 minutes then add the vanilla.

This will keep for a few days on the counter or in the refrigerator 2 months.  Reheat in the microwave or over low heat on the stove.

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  1. So, I never knew about the dry method. I don't think I will try it. I can see burnt sugar in my future. I prefer chocolate over carmal but lets face it, I love anything with sugar.


  2. MR I'm so glad to see you on here! I'm afraid of the dry method too, I don't think I could pull that one off...EVER :)