Monday, March 12, 2012

Caramel Sauce

Spring is rapidly approaching and soon after will be the warm months of summer.  With spring and summer comes cool treats to help beat the heat.  One of the most popular desserts of the spring and summer seasons is ice cream.  I know I am so ready to power up my ice cream maker, I have a plethora of ice cream recipes just waiting to be made!  Along with chocolate sauce, hot fudge, and sprinkles; caramel goes hand in hand with ice cream.  Since those warm months will be upon us shortly, we need to prepare ourselves with all the necassary add-ons for ice cream.  A rich, homemade caramel sauce is a must for ice cream, sundae's and so much more.

Why homemade sauce?  Although the storebought stuff is good, you really don't know what you're missing until you've tasted homemade caramel sauce.  Once you taste this rich, buttery concoction you'll never go back!  It is so amazing how a few kitchen staples can be added together to create such a delicious treat.  Odds are you already have everything in your pantry to make this sauce.  There aren't any fancy, hard to find ingredients in this recipe; just basics.
Caramel sauce doesn't take too long to make.  It just needs your total and undivided attention.  It can turn from the most perfect amber hue to a burnt mess in a matter of seconds.  It does take a little patience and trusting your gut and senses to know what it's reached that perfect hue and smell.  In the end, that 20 or so minutes you set aside to make this sauce is so worth it.  Just be prepared, have patience and be careful with these incredibly hot ingredients...we wouldn't want you coming out of the kitchen with battle wounds from homemade caramel!    

Caramel Sauce
Ingredients:

1 Cups sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
2 Tbsp water
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream, room temperature
3 Tbsp butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 Tsp Kosher salt
1/2 Tsp vanilla

Directions:

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large, heavy saucepan and stir to combine.  Place pan over low-medium heat and stir until sugar in dissolved and syurp is bubbling.  Stop stirring, completely, and allow mixture to boil until a deep amber.  Remove from heat immediately.  Slowly and carefully add the cream and stir continuously.  (Use caution as mixture will bubble vigorously

Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture and scrape down the sides of the pan.  (If any lumps develop return to heat momentarily and stir to desolve lumps)  Carefully add butter and salt and stir to combine, until butter is melted.  

Allow the sauce to cool for about 3-5 minutes.  Once the sauce has rested, gently stir in the vanilla.  Allow sauce to cool completely, transfer to jar and store.

Note and tips:

Measure all ingredients in advance.  You have to work quicly when making this sauce, so having everything ready before beginning is essential.

A candy thermometer will be helpful when making the sauce.  Don't rely soley on the thermometer, as each thermometer may read differently.  Judge the sauce by the color, as well.  Be sure to keep a close eye on the sauce as it can burn quickly.

The sauce can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  To reheat simply place in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stirring after every 10 seconds pass.  

Recipe source:  slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction

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