Monday, October 5, 2015

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

This is the easiest recipe to follow and it doesn't require heavy cream or corn syrup. This caramel sauce is great for dipping, stirred into coffee, in pies, on top of ice cream, eaten with a spoon right out of the bowl, or you can even bathe in it. I'm not here to judge. It's delicious and versatile. You can cut the salt in half and it will just be regular old caramel sauce. This is seriously good; buttery and rich, sweet and slightly salty. It's easy and can be doubled, tripled, etc. I love how many ways you can use this. Enjoy!

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
    adapated from Martha Stewart
     makes about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.25-1.5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half
In a large sauce pan add the sugar, salt, and water and place over medium heat. Be careful not to stir the mixture, if you need to you can swirl the pan. Cook over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes or until the sugar turns into a light-medium amber color. Be really careful that it's light-medium amber, you might go 20 seconds too long and it will turn dark and taste extremely bitter. Remove from the heat and very carefully add the half and half and butter, whisk immediately to combine. It will bubble up when you add the half and half and butter, so be careful because it's super hot. Just keep whisking and it will come together. Once combined add the vanilla extract and give it a stir with a spatula. I put this in a ramekin to cool, then cover it with cling wrap and pop it into the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. If you need to you can reheat it or just let it come up to room temperature. This will continue to thicken as it cools and will thicken more in the fridge. 

The top picture is the caramel warm, and the bottom picture is out of the refrigerator. You can see it thickens up quite a bit. So if you need to spread or drizzle this on something, you'll want to pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Per tablespoon of caramel: 71 calories, 12.25 carbs, 2.5 grams of fat.

A few tips . . .

  • Add the butter and half and half at the same time, otherwise this might turn out too watery. You need to extra fat from the butter to thicken up the caramel since we aren't using heavy cream
  • I had a failed batch because I used a slightly less than about 1-1/4 tablespoon of butter. I think it was a little less than a tablespoon, and it just didn't thicken up right. 
  • Make sure you don't water anything down. For example don't use a 1/4 cup measuring cup that's wet it to measure out the half and half. The extra water can mess up the end result.
  • Use a light colored stainless steel pot, not a dark non-stick pan. One of my failed attempts was using a dark pan. The caramel took twice as long to deepen in color, and it didn't get dark enough and the caramel sauce was really light and runny.
  • Have extra ingredients on hand in case you mess up the first attempt and need to give it another go. That way you aren't stuck without a way to make a back up batch if you're cooking for guests!

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