Making caramel is actually easy; but be prepared for noise, and a bit of spitting.
The size of your pot matters (I didn’t need to tell you that, did I?). Use a 3 qt. (medium size) heavy saucepan.
As with many of life’s successes, timing is everything! I can’t really give you the timing because it will depend on your own stove and utensils. How’s that for frightening you away from this recipe?
Honestly, though, it is easy to make your own caramel sauce. Yes, I’ve made some mistakes with it, but even the mistakes tasted good. Once, I cooked the sauce too long and it took on a smoky flavor. It was still delicious in my coffee, since the coffee had its own smoky dimension.
The second mistake was using a small pot (1 1/2 qt.) instead of the medium size one (3 qt.). It took too long for the sugar to melt, because of the reduced surface area in contact with the heat source. It turned out less like sauce and more like caramel candy. Well, that mistake I could live with.
The sauce can be stored in a covered jar in the fridge. Just uncover and warm in the microwave ( or a warm water bath) when you are ready to use it. I’ve used it on ice cream, in coffee, as a fresh apple dip, and even in an apple pie filling, with walnuts, to make a super delicious dessert.
Beware, though! This stuff is addictive. It’s also destined to become one of your pantry staples.
Sea-Salt Caramel Sauce
1 c. sugar
4 T. butter
1/2 c. half & half
1/2 tsp. sea salt
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bring all ingredients to room temperature before making the sauce
have all ingredients and utensils ready next to the stove – you will want to grab them quickly
the sugar gets extremely hot, so use caution, and do not allow children around the mixture until it cools.
Place sugar in a 3 qt. sauce pan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. As it melts, stir it carefully with a silicon spatula.
When all of the solids have turned to liquid, turn off the heat and whisk in the butter and cream, fully incorporating the mixture. This is when you will get the sputtering and spitting – just ignore it and keep whisking.
Alternate between the whisk and the spatula. The whisk will incorporate the ingredients, the spatula can loosen thickened caramel from the whisk and sides of the pot.
You can turn the heat back on low and continue whisking, if you get some lumps.
Once it looks like caramel sauce, whisk in the vanilla and salt.
Pour into a clean canning jar and allow it to cool. Put the lid on the sauce. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
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