I’ve been going caramel crazy since last week, cooking batch after batch of this oh so delicious creamy caramel sauce recipe. I wanted to test the effect of the length of time the sugar is caramelized against the length of time the sauce is reduced. I got really interesting results ranging from light colored and thick caramel sauce to a rich, deeper color caramel sauce with a thinner consistency. I finally struck a happy medium, a butterscotch color I personally prefer and a texture that is not too thick and not too thin.
This is actually the same caramel sauce recipe I used for the Velvety Vanilla Ice Cream with Pecan Pralines and Creamy Caramel Sauce. But I wanted to delve a little deeper and show a closer view in the making of caramel sauce in its different stages, which I found quite fascinating.
This might be a prelude to a later project.
Here’s the making of a delicious homemade creamy caramel sauce in the winter. It involves some minutes of stirring but will be well worth the effort.
Please note: The exact times taken in each of the following steps, and the exact appearance of the mixture at each stage while being cooked, will vary slightly by season and altitude. Colder air, being denser and heavier, requires more time for some of the steps. The outside temperature the day I made this sauce was right around freezing. If you compare these pictures to those in my earlier post which was made in the summer, you will see that in the summer the mixture behaves slightly differently, as noted below.
I used to stir when adding the water to the sugar, but realized that it was not necessary since the heat will take care of dissolving the sugar. Just swirl the pan a bit to spread the water. Note that in the summer, the small bubbles at the bottom of the pan as shown in picture 2 did not occur.
No action needed for the first few minutes. For now, just turn on the heat and let the sugar caramelize.
In the summer the mixture will not have the appearance of foaming.
In the summer the mixture is not foamy, and turns color more quickly.
Take care adding the heavy cream, so pour it slowly. The sugar syrup is very hot and will sputter. After adding the cream, it’s ok if the sugar seizes as this will completely dissolve in a few minutes. Start stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. I find that a flat, straight edge wooden spatula such as this really does a great job because I can feel the bottom of the pot and prevent the mixture from sticking. Note that in the summer, there is less crystallization of the sugar.
In the summer the mixture did not threaten to boil over, whereas in the winter I had to remove the pot from the heat twice to prevent it from boiling over.
Once the caramel sauce is completely cool, it will thicken even more.
Store bought caramel sauce can be delicious too, but I think once you try homemade, it will be hard to settle for anything less.
This creamy caramel sauce is great on ice cream, brownies, cookies and almost anything. Why, it’s so good I find myself enjoying it just by itself. It’s a caramel sauce so seductive it will be hard to to resist.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Warm cream in microwave for about twenty seconds to bring it to room temperature.
- Place the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the water to the sugar. Swirl the saucepan so that the water spreads over the sugar.
- Turn the heat on to medium. Bring sugar mixture to a rolling boil. Do not stir. When the mixture turns a light golden amber color, remove the pot from the heat. Gradually pour the heavy cream into the syrup. Pour very slowly as the whipped cream may boil over.
- When all the heavy cream has been poured in, return the pot to medium heat. Start stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to blend and prevent scorching the pot. If some of the sugar syrup has seized or crystallized after adding the heavy cream, do not worry. At this point, the mixture should be stirred constantly and the crystallized sugar will eventually dissolve and blend a few minutes later to form a smooth sauce.
- Still on medium heat, add butter and salt. Continuously stir to prevent scorching. If the sauce tends to bubble over, just remove it from the heat and stir for a few minutes until the bubbles subside. Then return the pot to the heat to continue cooking.
- Cook the sauce until it is reduced and reaches a light golden color. The texture will be slightly thick and will thicken even more upon cooling.
- Pour the caramel sauce into a glass container and allow to cool completely. Cover the container once cooled. Can be kept at room temperature for about a day. Refrigerate afterwards. Will keep for more than a week in refrigerator.
- Yields about 2 cups.
Oh So Delicious Creamy Caramel Sauce