I’ve intended to post this caramel sauce recipe for quite some time and I’m finally doing it as a lead-in to a post I’ll write soon about salted caramel dark chocolate cupcakes.
I started making this sauce from scratch a few years ago. Until then I was afraid to make it myself, even though I knew the homemade version was far superior to anything you’ll find at the grocery store. As it turns out, caramel sauce isn’t hard to make. Yes, the syrup is hot as lava…but once you get over your fear of molten sugar water, you’ll be fine and the only special equipment you need is an inexpensive candy thermometer.
I use mine most frequently in caramel buttercream frosting for carrot cake. I also like to dip apples in it or drizzle it over apple pie. If you like lattes with caramel in them, it’s good for that too! Or if you’re anything like I am, just a spoonful of caramel sauce straight out of the fridge is sometimes all I need to satisfy a craving for something sweet.
Recipe slightly adapted from Baking Illustrated
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pour the water into a heavy 2 qt saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center, avoiding the sides. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Uncover and continue to boil until syrup is thick and straw-colored (300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another minute or two until syrup turns amber (350 degrees F). Watch the syrup carefully at this point as it will start to turn brown very quickly.
- Meanwhile, bring cream and salt to a simmer over medium-high heat. If the cream boils before the syrup is ready, take it off heat and cover it to keep warm.
- Remove syrup from heat and carefully pour about a quarter of the hot cream into it. It will bubble vigorously – wear an oven mitt to be on the safe side. When bubbling has almost stopped, add the remaining cream, vanilla and lemon juice, and whisk until the sauce is smooth.
- Let cool completely if not using it as a warm topping for dessert. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Recipe for salted caramel dark chocolate cupcakes to be posted soon.