Saturday, December 17, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas- Week 10: Salted Caramel Sauce

A friend of mine called me yesterday to ask me some questions about this salted caramel sauce I always make for parties and gifts and what not. I'm so glad she called because she reminded me that I had planned on sharing the recipe on the blog for Christmas! (Well, I'm also glad she called just because she's cool )

First off, the recipe is not my own. I use this recipe from the Cooking Channel's Kelsey Nixon:
Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

The recipe is actually pretty simple and doesn't contain any particularly special ingredients. It's mostly just made up of things you probably have around the house.

You will need:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher or sea salt (not regular table salt)

And put a spoon in your freezer....I'll explain later...

Ok, so if you want to some amazingly delicious salty- sweet caramel sauce, here's what to do:

First, put the sugar and water in your largest saucepan. I use a larger saucepan because hot sugar can be super dangerous. Don't start to heat it until both ingredients are in. Then, heat the mixture on low and whisk to combine.

Now take the whisk out and resist the urge to stir the mixture any further. Turn the heat up and allow the mixture to reach a boil.

Here comes the magic. Let it continue to boil until the mixture turns a deep amber color (5-10 minutes).

The color is starting to change...
Just about there.....
Here's where I stopped it. It will be deep amber on the sides, but probably never turn the full color in the middle because you can't stir it to evenly distribute the color. But it's ok- it's SUPPOSED to look like that.
I allowed this batch to get a little darker than I usually do, but it ended up tasting amazing! You want to let it get nice and dark, but don't let it start to burn or smoke. If you do see a little smoke starting, take it off the heat imediately.

Now that we're done boiling the sugar and water, take the pan off the heat. Pour in the heavy cream. A little warning: this step can be a little terrifying the first time you do it. It foams, bubbles ,clumps up and makes crazy noises. But once again, don't worry- it's supposed to do that.

Whisk in the cream very carefully. It will look something like this after you've whisked it:

Now just toss in your butter. I don't pre-soften mine or anything because the mixture is so hot it will melt the butter in a minute or less.

The last step is to add some salt. The salt is what really makes this sauce super special. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt, but I probably use more. I don't measure it.

I suggest starting with the one teaspoon and then carefully taste testing it and adding to it if you want.

Are you wondering how to taste test sugar that's been boiling without burning your tongue? That's what the spoon in the freezer is for! The coldness of the spoon allows you to taste it while the mixture is still hot. Still, proceed with caution.

And that, my friends, is all there is to it. I promise- it is a very easy recipe. This recipe usually yields about 1-2 jars (depending on the size of the jar of course). I don't typically double the recipe or anything. If I want to make multiple batches, I just do it one batch at a time for safety reasons.After the sauce has cooled, put the lids on your jars and refrigerate them immediately. The recipe says it will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I hope you'll try this recipe out! It's SOOOOO GOOD!

P.S. Wondering what you can use the sauce for? Anything really but some of my favorite choices are ice cream or apples! I've also used salted caramel in baking recipes and to make salted caramel buttercream!

Or you could just eat it with a spoon. I won't tell.

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