I’ve been trying to enjoy this Fall-like weather as much as I can, and nothing reminds me of Fall more than a rich and creamy caramel cream sauce. This is one of those recipes that I like to use when I don’t necessarily have time for a big fancy dessert, but still want an impressive end to a meal. Almost everyone loves caramel sauce, and you can serve it over fruit for a very simple snack or dessert. Spring might not be here just yet, but I’m making the most of it! If it continues like this, then I’ll have to bust out my copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte recipe…! In the meantime, I’ll settle for caramel covered apples 🙂
My first attempts at making caramel sauce were major fails, and I think it was because I was so intimidated by the mere idea of it! Boiling hot sugar, and a recipe that can go from perfectly golden to horribly burned in a matter of seconds…um hello?! Scary city. But then last year I got the bright idea of serving a dessert for Thanksgiving Dinner (recipes to come, so keep an eye out for that!) that called for a caramel crème sauce. And I needed enough of the stuff to make desserts for 25 people. Yes, I’m crazy. I considered buying it pre-made for about two seconds, before coming to my senses. If you usually buy this instead of making it homemade, then stop right there! This recipe is for you. It’s easy but does require a bit of patience! But it is oh-so-so satisfying when you serve it up and hear “wow – you made this yourself!?” – totally worth it!
First of all, I need to preface this recipe by telling you that there are two ways to make caramel sauce: the wet method and the dry method. I don’t personally like the dry method because it results in a flavor that I don’t really care for, and I find it more difficult to work with. If you want to try the dry method, then there are lots of recipes out there to try: like here.
My method, however, is pretty hard to mess up (yes, even for absolute beginners) and produces a thick and smooth, slightly-salty caramel crème sauce.
- 1 cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of water
- ½ cup of heavy cream, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- Add your sugar and water to a small saucepan, and heat on low until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once the sugar has completely dissolved, increase the heat slightly (to medium), until the sugar and water comes to a slow boil.
- Continue to cook your sugar & water, and after about 5-10 minutes the color will go from completely clear to a slightly yellow color, then a darker golden color.
- Once your sugar is a golden-yellow color (or darker if you prefer a richer sauce), remove immediately from the burner.
- Now, slowly whisk in your heavy cream. The pot will bubble up quite a bit - don't worry, this is normal! Just keep whisking and make sure it doesn't overflow.
- You should now have something that looks like a caramel cream sauce! Sprinkle your sea salt into the mix, and store in a container of your choice. I use Korken jars from Ikea.
- Resist the urge to stir – this isn’t necessary!
- The time it takes for your sugar to turn golden depends on the amount of water used, and how high your burner is turned on. I prefer the low & slow method because I’m less likely to burn the sauce, but you can use a higher heat to accelerate the process. Just keep a close eye because it takes literally 5-10 seconds of too much heat to totally ruin your sauce!
- Don’t freak out, because this will bubble like crazy when you add the cream! If it looks like it might overflow, just blow on it and the bubbles should go down.
- If you have clumps of crystalized sugar in your sauce, just pass it through a fine sieve and filter them out.