Caramel Sauce

2015-10-24 15.34.37

This is my go-to dessert staple. My signature recipe, if you will. One of my favorite things to make, and if you ask the people who eat the desserts I bake, one of their favorites, too. They’ve told me I should bottle and sell it. Caramel is a favorite of mine, which is probably why I enjoy making it so much. And this recipe may be my most favorite caramel taste. It is the perfect balance of sweet and salty, but the flavor also adaptable – you can up the salt and easily convert it to salted caramel sauce. Or you can add a liquor to make it a bourbon caramel sauce or orange caramel sauce.

It’s also versatile. Being the perfect sauce consistency, you can put it on almost any dessert. Or you can swirl it into  a homemade ice cream or drizzle it on top. Or you can use it in a cookie, wuch as the Caramel Pecan Christmas Cookies, which is the recipe from which I adapted the sauce. Or you can just eat it out of a bowl by itself. Ok, maybe that is a bit much. But it’s really that good.

The keys to the sauce are patience and attention. Caramel goes from caramelly to acrid in about 3.2 seconds.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  (For Salted Caramel, add 1 – 2 teaspoons salt to taste)
  • Optional: 1 – 2 Tblsp good bourbon or other liquor.

Directions:

  1. Cook sugar in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt.
  2. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted to a deep golden caramel. Tilt pan and carefully pour in cream (caramel will harden and steam vigorously).
  3. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, salt, and liquor
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