Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce
Learn the basics of how to make the most incredible homemade salted caramel sauce with this step by step tutorial. Makes a great gift!
I have posted recipes featuring salted caramel sauce on my blog so many times. It’s probably one of my favorite things to bake with. Besides chocolate. Or vanilla. Or stone fruit. Or apples, or cookie butter, or berries, or nuts, or pumpkin, or rhubarb…
Ok so I have a lot of favorites. But salted caramel is definitely up there! I love how rich it is, and buttery, and that little hint of burnt sugar complexity… mmm! And I’m a huge fan of the current trend of adding a little salt, to really balance the sweetness.
I have (yet another!) caramel recipe I want to post in the near future, so I thought I’d first share a simple tutorial for making a homemade salted caramel sauce.
The whole thing is done in probably 15 minutes or less, so it’s definitely quicker than making a trip to the store to buy a factory-made jar. But it can be a little tricky if you aren’t paying close attention. I’ve definitely dorked it before! But now I’ve made it so many times, I can almost do it in my sleep. That being said, do not attempt unless your kiddos are at school or otherwise well-occupied. Second-degree sugar burns are no joke. They don’t call that shiz “culinary napalm” for nothin’.
You’ll want to make sure and have all your ingredients and equipment close at hand. The process happens very quickly and you wouldn’t want to turn your back to grab a jar and have the whole thing turn smelly and black on you.
Warm the cream, butter, and salt over low heat until small bubbles appear around the edge and the salt crystals have completely dissolved. Cut the heat, add the vanilla, and set aside. I used Lagrima pure vanilla extract. Lagrima was one of the sponsors at IFBC 2013 this past weekend, and they offer a truly excellent product. If you’d like to give it a try, you can use the code TRYIT at checkout for a 15% discount!
Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium pot and heat over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally (don’t stir, or it could crystallize!), until a warm amber color is achieved. I like to let my sugar get pretty dark, just because I prefer a deeper flavor, but you could take it anywhere from a pale golden color to a deep brown.
You’ll notice it goes from looking granular, to melting down to a liquid, to a fierce boil with big bubbles, then smaller bubbles, then tiny bubbles. When the bubbles get really small, the color should be just about right.
Once you’ve got the color where you want it, turn the heat down to low, and pour in the cream mixture all at once, while whisking. The mixture will bubble up. A lot. Hopefully you paid attention and didn’t use your bittiest pot. 😉
Keep whisking, over low heat, until the mixture is nice and smooth.
Immediately transfer the hot caramel sauce to a heat-proof vessel, to stop the cooking process. I like to use a pyrex measuring cup, if I’m going to be pouring it right away for a recipe, or a mason jar, if I’m stashing it for later use (or giving it as a gift :D).
As it cools, the caramel will thicken. It could thicken quite a bit, depending upon how long you cooked the sugar. I’ve had mine harden up to be more of a chewy candy-type consistency. Which can work out great. Roll and cut into bites, wrap those babies up in little scraps of parchment and you have an awesome treat. Or, if you really wanted a pour-able sauce, just warm it a bit in the microwave, and dribble in a little hot water, a teaspoon at a time, until you have the consistency you’re after. The flavors in a thicker caramel are super-concentrated, so a little bit of water will not dilute the taste at all.
There you have it! Pretty quick, right? And there’s really no limit to what you can do with it. I suggest jarring it up and giving it as gifts! Your friends and family will love it over vanilla ice cream. Or on brownies. Or cream puffs. Or in their morning coffee…
And stay tuned for future posts featuring this buttery, rich, and sweet/salty sauce!
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Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- In a small pot, gently heat the cream, butter, and salt until the butter has melted and the salt has completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- In a larger pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.
- Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pot occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
- Continue to boil the sugar mixture until the bubbles begin to get smaller and it becomes amber-colored.
- Reduce the heat to low, and pour in the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps or crystals.
- Immediately transfer the hot mixture to a heat-safe vessel and cool completely.