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Until recently, I had never made a soft, creamy homemade caramel sauce before! I’d made plain, hard caramel a few times for desserts like crème caramel, chocolate salammbos, and hazelnut dacquoise, but never as a lovely sauce for ice cream, lattes, and desserts like our additive caramel pecan bars. Unlike a plain caramel, which consists of just sugar, this sauce is enriched with butter and cream to make it rich and creamy. Plain caramel hardens within a few seconds, but the addition of dairy in this sauce keeps it from hardening.
I encourage you to give this recipe a go this autumn. It’s quite quick, easy, and extremely delicious! Serve with saltine crackers for a “salted caramel” snack, or apple slices for a healthier option. Warning: you might end up eating spoonfuls of this sauce, like I did when I was taking the photos for this post. Yum! 😋
With all this sticky deliciousness, it leaves the pan and utensils sticky and hard to clean. No worries! Just fill the saucepan with tap water and place the utensils in it. Boil the pot and utensils until the sticky residue is dissolved, then wash as normal.Print
This easy-peasy caramel sauce is rich and creamy: perfect for ice cream, fruit dip, or just by the spoonful.
- 1 cup granulated sugar (198g)
- 1/2 cup filtered water (118 ml)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (70g)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (118 ml)
Preparing the Butter & Cream
- Cube the butter and place it close to where you will be making the caramel. Measure out the cream and place it there also.
Making the Caramel
- In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan, whisk together the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. If sugar crystals stick to the sides of the pan, brush them into the water with a wet pastry brush to prevent the sugar from crystallizing later.
- Turn up the heat a little and bring the sugar syrup to a boil without stirring. It’s crucial that you do not stir the syrup as it boils, as this will cause the sugar to crystallize, spoiling the caramel. Instead, gently swirl the saucepan occasionally if you would like. Please be careful when working with caramel, as it is a lot hotter than boiling water.
- Watching the caramel closely, continue to let it boil, without stirring, until it turns a rich golden brown (about 350 F on a candy thermometer). Be careful not to let the caramel get too dark, as it will taste burnt, and watch it closely, for the caramel can burn in a matter of seconds.
- Immediately add the butter and whisk it in vigorously until combined. The sauce will bubble and foam up a lot when the butter is added.
- Remove the pan from the heat and wait for 3 seconds before whisking in the heavy cream. The caramel will bubble again. Continue to whisk until everything is well mixed and smooth.
- Let the caramel cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then pour into a 16 fluid ounce glass jar. The sauce will be runny at this stage, but it will thicken significantly as it cools.
- Let the jar of caramel cool on the counter for about 2 hours, until it reaches room temperature. Seal the jar with a lid and store in the fridge for as long as 2 weeks.
- If you plan on using the sauce for our addictive caramel pecan bars, it’s best to use it after it has cooled for two hours otherwise the sauce will be too thin.
Use great caution when working with caramel, as it is much hotter than boiling water.
To clean the saucepan and sticky utensils, fill the saucepan with tap water and place the utensils in it. Boil the pot and utensils until the sticky residue is dissolved.