Have you ever gotten a taste for something that you’re usually not really into, but the craving keeps pulling at you? Tugging at your little baby heart strings? Just calling you and calling you…
Oh… you say that just happens to me? ! Maybe you’re right because this craving I had recently, I could not shake! What was it for?
Vanilla ice cream!
I know… I know. You’re saying, “Really, Shauna? Vanilla ice cream?”
Yep, I have no regrets!
So vanilla ice cream called and I answered by getting in my car and driving to the store to pick up a pint. I got back to my place and I was ready to get a taste, but I had to stop. My sweet treat needed something else… some finesse! What did I do?!
I made some doggone caramel!
What is caramel?
Caramel is an absolutely wonderful confection that blesses my heart whenever I make it. It’s the perfect combination of ingredients that creates this beautiful brown sugary sweet sauce that can be put and used on so many things: ice cream, popcorn, candy, cookies, and you can even dip fresh fruit up in that thang. Everyone knows that adding fresh fruit makes caramel super somewhat not really healthy… in other words, the healthiness of caramel is all in my mind.
What’s needed to make caramel?
- Granulated sugar – you’ll often see me refer to this as “regular” sugar.
- Butter -I used unsalted as it gives me more control of how much salt is in the caramel.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
How’s caramel made?
The first thing you want to do is combine the water and sugar in a medium pan or pot. I like to turn my stove eye on to medium-high. Make sure that the pan you use has a bottom that allows you to clearly see the color change of the sugar mixture. Whisk continuously as the mixture heats up as to dissolve all the sugar in the water.
You can stop whisking when the sugar water mixture starts boiling robustly.
Don’t stray too far from your pan once the boiling starts because you want to be around for when the color change starts.; this could take 5 to 10 minutes. When the color change begins, you’ll see an orange-ish/amber color peek through.
You can swirl the pan, if you choose, while it’s on the stove top, and soon it will all become an amazing amber color.
At this point, you can keep your pan on the stove top still on medium-high heat to add the butter, or you can remove it like I did. Whichever you decide to do, you want to whisk the butter in until melted and it’s well combined. If you left your pan on the stove to whisk in the butter and it is combined, here is where you want to remove the pan from the heat. I’ve done it both ways and my sauce has come out the same each time.
Once the pan is off the heat, add the heavy whipping cream, BUT, do so gradually, carefully, and whisking until combined! The addition of the cream will produce a super robust boil.
Your mixture will look more uniformed and here is where you want to add in the vanilla and salt. Aaannndddd…. whisk! Pour your caramel sauce into a glass container to cool. When it has cooled, you can use it immediately or store it in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy later.
How long does the caramel sauce last?
Not very long in my place, you hear me?! It will keep though, I promise. Store your caramel sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 12 to 14 days. When you’re ready to use it, you can spoon it from the container straight from the fridge, or warm it back up in the microwave for a minute or so and give it a quick stir… then put that sh&* to work!
Simple Caramel Sauce
- 1 C Sugar (Granulated)
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- ¼ C Water
- ½ C Heavy Whipping Cream
- ⅛ to ¼ tsp Salt (depending on taste)
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- Combine water and sugar in a medium sized pan or pot on the stove top & turn to medium high heat. Ensure the pan or pot bottom will allow you to see the sugar mixture color change – you may not want to use a pot or pan that is copper colored.
- Begin whisking the sugar mixture and until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- When the sugar mixture comes to a strong/robust boil, you can stop whisking. Stay close by once the mixture starts boiling as it could take 5 to 10 minutes for the mixture to start to change. When the change starts, you should see an orange-ish color peak through. You may want to swirl your pan/pot a little. The mixture should eventually become an amber color.
- When the sugar mixture becomes an amber color, add the butter and begin whisking until well incorporated.
- Remove the pot/pan from the stove top heat.
- Carefully, add the heavy whipping cream and whisk until incorporated. The addition of the cream will cause a robust boil, so be extremely cautious when adding it.
- Continue whisking and add the vanilla extract and salt to the caramel until incorporated.
- Put your caramel in a glass container to cool. Enjoy it after cooling or store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- Use a pot or pan that allows you to see the color change of your sugar mixture.
- You can use salted butter in this recipe, but be aware of the salt you add and salt to taste.
- Store your caramel in the fridge in an airtight container (I used a glass container) for up to 2 weeks.