Lately there has been a lot of caramel sauce floating around the blogosphere. Some of my favorite blogs have posted things like a Pumpkin Pie with Caramel, Caramel Pecan Hand Pies, Caramel Apple Pie, Salted Caramel Buttercream, oh, and another Caramel Apple Pie. I guess mostly I’ve been seeing lots of caramel and pie.
Tonight a bunch of TAs are getting together for a potluck dinner (sort of a Thanksgiving Round 2). I volunteered to bring dessert, but when it came down to it I didn’t want to make apple pie, especially without a pie pan. And I had seen so much caramel on the Internet that I really wanted to make a caramel sauce for something. I mean, yes, I could make a caramel-apple pie, but then we get back to the whole “no pie pans in Austria” conundrum and a caramel-apple galette just sounds messy.
So anyway, while looking for alternatives I decided I would make a simple apple tart where the caramel sauce would really stand out. And, man, I have a feeling this caramel sauce will stand out no matter what it’s paired with. It’s super butter-y and not cloyingly sweet, just like a caramel sauce should be.
I know a lot of you are probably afraid to attempt a caramel sauce, but you shouldn’t be. I actually was ready to give up half way through this recipe, but I saw it through and I’m glad I did! It came out perfectly in the end.
My tips to first time caramel sauce-makers: Give it your full attention–a lot of times when I make something that requires a lot of stirring, I read a book while standing over the stove. Don’t do that here, just pay attention to the caramel. Use a heavy bottomed pot, if you have one, as then everything will cook more evenly and not too quickly. If the caramel sauce comes out too thin, just wait. It will be fine in the end! And lastly. if you get some chunks of crystallized sugar/toffee that just won’t melt, just fish them out with a spoon, and keep on with the rest of the process.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 12 T butter, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large pot, melt the sugar, whisking the entire time. It won’t seem like anything is happening first, but then the sugar will start to liquefy and caramelize.
When the sugar reaches 350ºF (if using a candy thermometer) or when it is a red-brown amber/caramel color, it is time to add the butter. Add it all at once, carefully, as there will be a lot of bubbling. Whisk until it is fully incorporated. Next, add the cream, again being careful of the bubbling sugar.
After the cream is stirred in and the sauce is smooth, remove from heat and add the vanilla and salt.
Let sit for an hour or so to thicken before pouring it into a container. Store in the refrigerator. You may want to warm the sauce or let it come to room temperature before serving.
Serving possibilities are endless! You can dip apples or pretzels for a snack, stir some into coffee or hot chocolate, drizzle over ice cream or cake, or use to make a frosting!
P.S. Interested in travel, history, historic preservation, or architecture? Or just want to read more of me being “wordy”? Check out my latest post about Ellis Island on the Adventures in Preservation blog!