Ditch the store-bought stuff and revel in this smooth Caramel Sauce that you can drizzle all over your favorite desserts. If you love caramel and want to put your own spin on this American classic, try my recipe.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Would you like to add something to your desserts that will take them to the next level? This caramel sauce is the solution. It’s a thick mixture produced by heating sugar until the granules are melted and then adding an array of easy-to-find ingredients to give it a nutty taste and amber-like color. Making caramel can seem difficult at first but it is a straightforward process and this recipe takes you through every step of the way. When you’re done, you will have learned an effortless easy-to-do recipe for a caramel sauce that’s smooth, creamy, and aromatic, and can be applied to all your favorite desserts.
What Can I Use Caramel Sauce For? //
Caramel sauce is usually used for desserts. You can drizzle it over ice cream, cakes, and pies. Add some Irish whiskey to it and use it atop these Guinness Irish Cream Cupcakes. Or, cross the Irish Sea and use it to make Rich and Crunchy English Toffee. Use it as a filling for baked goodies, like cupcakes, cookies and my Simple Homemade Brownies. You can mix it with peanut butter, chocolate, and whipped cream as well, and make a spread. This will add a velvety texture, elevate the dessert’s sweetness, and make it more aromatic. Remember the chocolate ice cream that I made the other day? This sauce just might be amazing on it. With some crushed-up pretzels. Oh. My. God.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
How To // The Steps
Step 1: Put the sugar into a sauce pan.
Step 2: Cover the pan with the water. Cook the sugar and water over MEDIUM heat.
Step 3: Bring the sugar to a boil. Have your cream and everything ready to go.
Step 4: When it starts to get to this stage, keep a close eye on it. This takes about 10 minutes.
Step 5: When it turns a dark, golden amber color (350°F on a candy thermometer, but who needs one of those?) you are ready to pour in the cream.
Step 6: It is going to bubble like crazy. Just keep whisking and it will all come together.
Step 7: See, I told you so. Just like magic. Take off the heat and add the vanilla.
Step 8: Allow the caramel to come to room temperature. It will thicken up as it sits. Keep it in the fridge.
Tips & Tricks //
- Have everything out and ready to go. Keep a cup of water and a pastry brush next to the stove. You can brush the sides of the pan with water if crystals start to form. Measure out your cream and have the vanilla out.
- Once the sugar starts bubbling, do not walk away from it. Do not check email or go fold a load of laundry; you really need to keep an eye on it.
- Do not stir the sugar. Once dissolved, if you stir the sugar, it will form crystals up the side of the pan. While a cool science experiment, it is not something that you want when you want a smooth and rich caramel sauce.
Seizing (when the sugar in the caramel crystallizes) can be countered by adding more hot water. However, here’s a tip from reader PatW that I think should yield better results: “Have your cream heated to just below boiling before you add it to the hot sugar. That way, the caramel doesn’t seize as much, or doesn’t seize at all.”
Granulated sugar produces that smooth and creamy texture we’re after. So, while you can use brown sugar or coconut sugar, for instance, know that the texture and flavor will reflect the changes.
Yes, but the consistency of the sauce will be compromised. If you don’t have heavy cream, use half ‘n’ half. Regular milk might thin out the sauce more than you would like.
How To Store Caramel Sauce //
You can make caramel sauce in advance and then store it until you need/want it. After making your caramel sauce, cool it down to room temperature and transfer it to an airtight container. Storing it in the fridge will make it last for 3 weeks. You can also store it in the freezer where it will last for 3 months. If it hardens you can reheat it in the microwave for 1 minute. Remember to stir it twice. If you want to heat it on the stove, place it in a bowl over simmering water (i.e., double boil it) for 7 minutes while stirring.
Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream warmed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Put the sugar into a sauce pan.
- Cover the pan with the water.. Cook the sugar and water over medium heat.
- Bring the sugar to a boil. Have your cream and everything ready to go.
- When it starts to get to this stage, keep a close eye on it. This takes about 10 minutes.
- When it turns a dark golden amber color (350 on a candy thermometer, but who needs one of those?) you are ready to pour in the cream.
- It is going to bubble like crazy. Just keep whisking and it will all come together.
- See, I told you so. Just like magic. Add the vanilla off of the heat.
- Allow the caramel to come to room temperature. It will thicken up as it sits. Keep it in the fridge.