I really don't know why I didn't start making caramel dipping sauce earlier in my life. It is delicious, rich, flavorful and very addictive. This is delicious to dip apples (and dark chocolate!) into, and of course is great to pour over ice cream. I've also started mixing it into my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe for one of the ultimate adult frostings - especially with a sprinkle of sea salt on top. People take their first bite of this like a typical dessert, then as the rich caramel flavor develops and melts across the tongue, I've noticed faces light up, as they instantly reach for more.
As far as caramel sauce goes, this recipe is even easy to make - it doesn't require a candy thermometer, and you don't have to worry about the sugar crystallizing. And it keeps in the fridge for a few months! I'm pretty much in love, and will probably always have a jar of caramel in the fridge from now on. It would also make great holiday gifts, packaged in cute little glass jars. So I think you all should probably go make some caramel right now. You won't regret it.
~about 1 1/2 cups sauce.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup whipping cream (UK)/heavy cream (US)
Make the Caramel:
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy sauce pan over low to medium heat. Stir or whisk gently until the sugar dissolves, and the liquid becomes clear and starts to boil (this may take 5 minutes or so). I like keeping it over lower heat at this point so it doesn't spray up and stick to the sides. Measure out your heavy cream while your sugar is boiling.
- Once it is boiling and the liquid has cleared up, stop stirring and continue cooking over medium to high heat. You can use a silicon brush and water to brush any splattered sugar down the sides of the pot. Let it boil away until you notice some yellowish color starting to appear, and then watch your pot closely! If you notice it cooking unevenly, then gently swish around the pot, to even up the cooking. This can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on how hot you have the stove. Be patient!
- Continue cooking until the sugar syrup develops a golden amber color (see the pictures above). Once it reaches the color you want, take it off the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream, while stirring. Continue stirring until it is totally smooth. If you have some clumps of thickened caramel, you can return the pot to low heat to let it melt down again, while continuing to stir. Let the sauce cool to room temperature (and thicken).
Store in an air tight container in the fridge. I read it keeps for about 3 months, but it would never last that long in our house. It seems to disappear steadily, a little bit each day...
- Don't worry if your sugar crystallizes a little while boiling, once it starts reaching caramel temperatures, the crystals will melt away.
- You can control the flavor by what color you cook your caramel too - it will get more flavorful as it darkens, just don't let it burn! Play around!