I decided I needed a post on caramel sauce before I misplace my recipe! This sauce could be used as an ice cream topping. Or straight out of the jar. But I’ve explored other ways, such as a center for chocolate molded bon bons and in caramel frosting for cakes and cupcakes. It’s on the thick side once it sets and after refrigeration, but warming it up a little in the microwave will loosen it up again so that you can easily pour it over ice cream or other dessert.
See you after the recipe for step-by-step illustrated instructions.
When making caramel, it’s very important to have all your ingredients ready and measured before you start. Below is a photo of the ingredients and equipment I used (except the heat-resistant silicone spatulas).
First, add 2 tablespoons corn or glucose syrup and 2 tablespoons water into a small pot with high sides and a heavy bottom. Carefully sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over top. You don’t want the sugar to hit the sides of the pot. By the way, my pot was the next to the smallest in my fleet. It’s probably a 2 quart pot.
Heat the pot on medium high heat. “Poke” the sugar into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula to moisten the sugar and to get it to melt evenly and mix with the water and syrup. Occasionally brush the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water to ensure that no sugar crystals form. If that happens, you will have a grainy mess and no usable caramel!
When the mixture starts bubbling, stop stirring.
Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot. Make sure the bulb is submerged in the liquid, but doesn’t directly touch the bottom so as not to destroy the thermometer. This thermometer has a metal bar at the bottom to prevent the bulb from touching the bottom of the pan. Check it out on Amazon here: Winco Deep Fry/Candy Thermometer. I’ve tried a few different types, including digital thermometers, and this is the best one so far. If you have too a small quantity of sugar syrup, though, it will not work because the bulb won’t be submerged.
Wait for the temperature to rise. You may swirl the pot occasionally to ensure even cooking. Meanwhile, heat 3/4 cup cream, 4 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small pot. Heat on medium until the butter melts and the mixture just comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Back to the pot with the sugar: Below, you can see the bubbles getting smaller in most places and the color changing to light amber. We are almost at the end.
When the thermometer reaches 315-320°F (don’t let the caramel get too dark–stick to light amber), remove the pot from the heat and slowly pour in the cream/butter/salt mixture.
The mixture will bubble up. After it settles down, stir until incorporated and then return the pot to medium heat to keep bubbling.
Let the mixture cook until the final temperature. You can gently stir occasionally to ensure that the cream and butter do not scorch the bottom of the pot. I have too much experience with that problem!
Here, the caramel is getting darker and the bubbles are the right size, which is small. When the thermometer reach 232°F, remove the pot from the heat, remove the thermometer, and get ready for the final step.
The final step is to stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Transfer the caramel sauce to a heat-proof storage container. Here, I wanted to measure the amount, so I poured it into a Pyrex measuring cup.
I found a Ball canning jar as the final destination for my caramel sauce to cool and set.
A view from above. After about 2 hours, I refrigerated the caramel sauce.
Here is the caramel sauce after setting. Mmmmmm good. I used this caramel to make caramel frosting!
Caramel is not the easiest thing to make because if you lose focus, you might get a grainy mess or a burnt mess. But if you use a methodical approach and are prepared with each step ahead of time, it is one of the most satisfying treats to make in the kitchen.