Caramel Sauce can be made with a number of flavorings to keep it interesting, like salted, vanilla, port wine, and apple whiskey…all of them taste divine!
Caramel sauce for all occasions
I like recipes that are bedrocks, yet can be manipulated to make many different version. With caramel sauce, you can flavor it with salt, vanilla, both salt & vanilla, or even use a spirit for a base...each will make a divine sauce!
Some examples for using caramel sauce would be...
- drizzled onto tarts, cakes, or cookies
- mixed into gelato for a salted swirl
- as a sauce for bread pudding
- poured onto ice cream
- spooned directly into mouth (did I say that out loud?)
Tips for making caramel sauce
I've made caramel sauce many times, and I've learned a couple of things that I'll pass on to you...
After burning the sugar or having the sugar syrup seize on me in the past, I now initially add a bit of water and a tablespoon of corn syrup to stabilize the mixture. You can leave out the corn syrup if you'd like, but it really helps keep everything on the right path. It might take a couple of minutes longer for the water to evaporate...that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.
If the sugar crystalizes during the melting stage, add some water with 1-2 Tbsp corn syrup to resoften sugar crystals and recaramelize the syrup.
Don't let your attention wander…the sugar syrup can go from just lightly amber to a black mess in less than a couple of minutes. Be diligent and be warned!
Making caramel sauce takes some time and patience
The most important step in the recipe for caramel sauce is to be patient, vigilant, and stir, stir, stir after you've added the cream.
The basic caramel recipe is below. Using whiskey, wine, or bourbon as a base has a slightly different procedure...head here for that recipe.
However you flavor it, you'll be so glad that you took the time to create this caramel sauce goodness.
Caramel sauce makes a great gift as well!
You can share this caramel goodness with family and friends...it makes a great hostess gift.
Don't be shy about making and using caramel sauce...you'll be glad you did!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Basic Caramel Sauce
- 3-quart heavy saucepan
- pastry brush
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- ¾ cup heavy cream, warmed
- 4 Tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
- In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup until the mixture looks like wet sand. Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat until the caramel has a deep amber color, about 10 to 12 minutes. DO NOT STIR during this process, but wash down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush. Watch it carefully as the caramel will turn dark very quickly at the end.
- Once deep amber color is reached, remove from heat and stir in butter (mixture will boil up, so stir it to keep from bubbling over). Return to heat and stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the warmed cream, stirring constantly (mixture will boil up again). Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils, so keep stirring!
- Remove from heat, transfer to a clean jar, and cool to room temperature before using. It will thicken as it cools.
- Seal the jar tightly and store the Caramel Sauce for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
- Salted Caramel Sauce: add 1 teaspoon salt after you remove the caramel from the heat.
- Vanilla Caramel Sauce: add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract after you remove the caramel from the heat.
- Salted Vanilla Caramel Sauce: you guessed it...add both the salt and vanilla after removing from heat
- Whisky Caramel Sauce: take your caramel sauce to another level of flavor with this boozy version...you'll be glad you did!