I made my fourth batch of Salted Caramel Sauce yesterday. I got the recipe from Always with Butter back in December, and I made a couple batches for holiday presents. I’ve since done some reading about caramels, and the recipe is pretty standard, but out of respect for Always With Butter I’m not going to include the recipe here. Please go get the recipe from her site if you want to give it a try. You may want to learn from my mistakes, though. Making candy is kind of nerve-wracking, especially with kids in the house. I definitely recommend doing it when there is no chance of a little one getting anywhere near.
My first batch nearly caught on fire. The recipe tells you to leave the caramel on high until it turns golden brown, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. I had set myself a timer to check it at 18 minutes and started to do dishes. Sometime well before that Ashley gave out an alarmed cry of “Sam!” – at which point I noticed the smoke, ran to the stove, took the pot off the burner, and hurried it to the sink, where its black, smoky stench mocked me until it cooled down.
My second batch was lovely. This time, I left the burner on a lower flame and set a timer for 10 minutes. Yet again, when I was in the middle of doing something else, I noticed the caramel start to smoke and turn a dark brown. It was decidedly darker than the “golden brown” described in the recipe, but I thought I had caught it just in time to go forward with the recipe. Let me tell you, it was amazing in the end. Delicious and rich. I wanted more.
For my next batch, I watched that caramel like a hawk. The problem was, as I watched it, the sauce looked golden brown very quickly, and I just couldn’t tell when to take it off the stove. I eventually went for it at around the 13-minute mark, and the sauce was a lovely golden brown. Honestly, though, it was boring. If I’m going to eat something that is pretty much straight sugar and cream, I want it to be worth it.
Yesterday, after almost three months, I decided to try again, and this time I took notes.
Here’s my version of the instructions:
Salted Caramel Sauce
Pour water into a saucepan with tall sides. (The caramel will splatter all over your stove and you otherwise, and it will be extra dangerous when you add the cream.)
Pour the sugar into the center, without touching the sides of the pan. Do not stir! (The lady knows what she’s talking about here. No need to stir until you add the cream.)
Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves (on my gas stove, this was a “3” out of “7” hot).
While the sugar is bubbling away, heat up the cream in a separate saucepan or the microwave. I used thawed cream I had stored in the freezer, and it worked fine.
Turn it up to medium high (on my stove, this was a “5”) and boil without stirring until it JUST starts to turn dark brown. This took almost exactly 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, and slowly whisk in the cream. Wear gloves or oven mitts. The mixture will expand really high, really fast, and it’s kind of scary. Just keep whisking and add all your cream slowly. Once all the cream has been added, return to the burner and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. You’ll only need low heat here, because the mixture will be so hot.
Remove from heat. Add salt.
Pour into glass jars, and cool completely. Resist the urge to lick the spoon or spatula as you’re scraping the pan. This advice comes from sad, personal experience.
It will be a sauce when hot, perfect for ice cream; and like soft caramels at room temperature. It’s a little harder to get out of the jar when cold, but when it’s sitting in your refrigerator, I dare you to resist the temptation.
For breakfast today, I had a spoonful along with the last two spoonfuls of hot fudge sauce from Violet’s birthday cake. Yum.