I’m pretty serious about making caramels, so it should be no surprise that I own a cookbook dedicated solely to caramel. This Classic Caramel Sauce is so much richer and more flavorful than the stuff that comes from a bottle or jar at the grocery store. The most difficult part of making caramel sauce is watching it intently and stirring (and refraining from stirring) at just the right times to make sure it doesn’t burn. So, if you feel like you can dedicate half an hour to watching caramel cook, give this recipe a try.
I like making this caramel sauce a bit thicker than the original recipe calls for and using it for a glaze on cakes. I drenched my Norwegian Sour Cream Pound Cake in caramel sauce below.
Classic Caramel Sauce
Makes 1 cup
(from Carole Bloom’s “Caramel”)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulate sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons (2 ounces, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil.
- In a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan combine the sugar, water, and honey, and cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Brush around the inside of the pan with a damp pastry brush at the point where the sugar syrup meets the sides of the pan. Do this twice during the cooking process to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Cook the mixture over high heat, without stirring, until it turns amber colored (6-10 minutes). The darker amber the sugar mixture is, the fuller flavored the caramel will be. David Lebovitz recommends caramel to be the color of an old copper (US) penny. I tend to err on the side of the caramel being darker colored, but I make sure to watch the caramel carefully as it can start to burn in a matter of seconds.
- Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the hot cream to the sugar mixture while stirring constantly. Use caution as the cream will bubble up and foam. Continue stirring to make sure there are no lumps.
- Stir in the butter until it’s completed melted. Depending on how thick you like your caramel sauce, you can take the sauce off the heat at this point (it will be quite runny), or you can keep cooking it over medium-low heat for another 2-5 minutes until it thickens a bit. When I drizzle caramel sauce over my cakes as a glaze, I continue to heat it for at least 5 minutes until it reaches the desired thickness.
- After the caramel sauce has been removed form the heat, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Transfer the caramel sauce to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, cool sightly, and server warm.
Note: The caramel sauce can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Slowly warm in a microwave or over a double boiler until it is a bit more fluid before use.