Monday, March 21, 2011

Homemade Caramel Sauce

I'm sorry.  I am an evil person for posting this recipe and I admit it.  This caramel sauce is not good for you in any way, shape, or form.  There is nothing healthy about it.  It does not contain one ounce of nutrition, and it will land right on your hips, stomach, and/or backside.  And it may stay there forever.  If you are currently watching your weight, trying to make a healthy lifestyle change, or eating only wholesome food, you need to stop reading now.

Now....I'm warning you.


OK, if you must continue reading, then I feel free to be honest and tell you that this simple indulgent is worth every single bite.  Oh.  My. Goodness!  I ate this straight out of the jar...with my finger.  I might have even dipped said finger back into jar because I could not help myself.  Straight out of the jar, on top of a bowl of ice cream, or for another recipe, this caramel is delightful.  Sinful in fact.  Gooey, sticky, sweet (but not too sweet)--all the wonderful goodness that caramel should be.  I made this recipe specifically for a batch of Samoas Scones ( in Samoas Girl Scout cookies) but after tasting the outcome, I was seriously torn.  I wasn't sure if I could part with this caramel for a recipe.  I mean, what if the recipe disappointed me and I wasted this heavenly delight.  As it turns out, I decided to sacrifice some of the caramel for sake of the scones and I was glad that I took a leap of faith.  The scones, well, they were so sinful that they are dangerous to have in my house.  I simply have no will power against them.

Just between you and me, I will post the recipe for Samoas Scones tomorrow.  But now, some caramel specifics.

Caramel isn't the easiest thing to make, but you can do it.  This recipe is foolproof if you follow the steps as written and keep a couple things in mind before you begin.  1.)  You need a candy thermometer.  It does not need to be a fancy thermometer, but it does need to read up to 400 degrees F and be accurate.  2.)  You need a heatproof utensil to stir.  I used a wooden spoon because that is what I had on hand, but you could also use a silicon spoon or any other high-temperature, heat-resistant utensil you prefer.  3.)  You need a thick bottomed saucepan that holds at least 5 cups.  The caramel will bubble and expand (ALOT!) and if your pot is not big enough, it will spill all over the place and that is a mess that I would hate to have to clean up.  You can make caramel using a nonstick saucepan; however, because the pan is dark, it will be difficult to tell when your molten sugar turns amber.  You will need to take out a small amount of the molten sugar to take a look at it as you are approaching 380 degrees F.  4.)  Be prepared.  Things move very quickly beginning at step 2; therefore, I would recommend having all of your ingredients measured and set beside you before you begin.  Additionally, do not try to multitask when you are making caramel.  You are making something that is dangerously sticky as well as dangerously hot, and that is not a good combination if you have an accident.

The last thing you need to know is that I used a vanilla bean, but you may use vanilla extract instead.  To do so, substitute 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in step 3 and eliminate sifting in step 6. 

Off you go. 
Make some caramel and get ready for a tiny bit of heaven.

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated until warm
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan (at least 5 cup capacity), stir together sugar, corn syrup, and water until sugar is completely moistened.  Place a candy thermometer into the pot making sure that the tip is immersed in the sugar mixture.

2.  Turn on stove top to medium-high and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling.  Stop stirring completely and allow mixture to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber and obtains a temperature of 380 degrees F.  Immediately remove from the heat.

3.  While the sugar is heating, cut vanilla bean in half, scrap out all seeds, and place both the vanilla bean and the seeds in a small bowl with the heavy cream.  Heat for 1 minute in microwave.  Remove bean and set aside until sugar is ready.

4.  Slowly pour warm cream-vanilla mixture into molten sugar in small quantities.  It will bubble up furiously and overflow pot if too much is poured at one time.  Stir and continue to pour mixture into pot until all cream is added.

5.  Using a wooden spoon or high-temperature heat-resistant spatula, stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up any thicker part that may settle at the bottom of the pan.  Vanilla seeds will not fully incorporate.  Stir in butter and salt.  The mixture may appear streaky but will become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.

6.  Place small mesh-strainer on top of storage container; pour caramel into container sifting out any larger vanilla seeds.  Allow to cool.  Caramel will keep at room temperature for 3 days or refrigerated for 3 months.

Recipe adapted from
Printer Friendly Recipe

This recipe is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday.


Micha @ Cookin' Mimi said...

I love caramel sauce and yours looks so good. Stopping by from Tasty Tuesday.

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

Be still myheart! YUM!

Mamahollioni said...

Micha & Sherry--thanks for stopping by! I look forward to stopping by your blog/recent entries and visiting both of you too.