The spirit of adventureBasic Caramel Sauce is wonderful, and adding salt and vanilla gives you more versatility when using it. But if you really want to take caramel to the next level, consider using different types of liquor to bring their flavors to the roster. I adapted the caramel recipe from Epicurious’ Red Wine Caramel Apples, changing the spirit from wine to whisky (a natural choices as ever I saw one). I’ve used this Whisky Caramel Sauce on my Apple Almond Whiskey Tart and Port Wine Millionaire’s Shortbread, just for example.
It’s the same but a little differentThe technique for Whisky Caramel Sauce is a little different than the basic version. You’re reducing the spirit to a thick syrup, then adding it to the caramelized sugar in place of some of the cream. Like the basic version though, the most important step in the recipe is to be patient, vigilant, and stir, stir, stir after you’ve added the whisky reduction and the cream. Caramelizing the sugar is slow at first, but will quickly go from brown to burnt. Adding a tablespoon of corn syrup (an invert sugar, if you will) helps stabilize the sugar syrup as it browns. You can leave it out, however 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. You can experiment with whatever flavorful whisky, wine, or bourbon you have on hand to make the caramel sauce. The hardest part is figuring out what to put it on…tarts, ice cream, scones, or maybe just eat it with a spoon (not that I have ever done that). Have any extra sauce? Jar it up and share with a friend…it makes a great gift. It’s guaranteed that whatever you serve it on will be memorable! Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers! Tammy
Whisky Caramel Sauce
Whisky Caramel Sauce is a variation on basic caramel sauce...using reduced whisky (or wine) brings another level of flavor to your dessertsAdapted from Epicurious
- small saucepan
- 3-quart heavy saucepan
- 1-1/2 cups whisky or your wine, bourbon, or other spirit of choice
- 2 cups granulated sugar (14oz, 400g)
- 1 Tbsp corn syrup (3/4 oz, 20g)
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream (3 oz, 84g)
- Boil the whisky in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large saucepan, melt sugar and corn syrup with enough water to look like wet sand (about 1/4 cup), then bring to boil over medium heat until the caramel has a deep amber color (about 10-12 minutes). DO NOT STIR during this process, but wash down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush. Watch it carefully…the caramel will turn dark very quickly at the end!
- While sugar is boiling, heat heavy cream until tepid (about 1 minute in the microwave on HIGH).
- Add reduced whisky (BE CAREFUL – mixture will bubble up and steam) and swirl the pan. Add warmed cream and simmer, swirling pan again, until incorporated.
- Continue to simmer, stirring continuously, until a digital thermometer registers 238°F.
- Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature before using (caramel thickens as it cools).
- Cover any remaining caramel tightly and store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency (and to keep it from separating)
You can use any type of full-flavored whisky, wine, or bourbon you’d like. The original recipe called for red wine, and I’ve used a port wine as well. Just remember that since the spirit will be reduced, the flavor will intensify. Adding 1 Tbsp corn syrup stabilizes the caramel during browning. You can leave it out, however 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. Make sure to wash down the sides of the pan while sugar dissolves and swirl pan during caramelization of the sugar. When adding the reduced whisky, add to pan and swirl (don't stir). Same with heavy cream. You need to continuously stir the caramel while bringing up to temperature or mixture will bubble up.