Caramel Sauce

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Making your own caramel sauce from scratch is a lot easier than you might think, and it takes practically no time at all. This recipe comes from my friend Suzanne who is a baking genius. I’ve watched her make caramel sauce many times and finally got around to doing it myself.

My one note of caution is to be extra careful while you are cooking the sugar, as with any candy making process. Once the sugar has melted it has a much higher temperature than boiling water. Also, when you add the cream, the mixture will foam up, so use a pan with high sides.

Caramel Sauce Recipe

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  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes a little over one cup of sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (210 g) of sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (85 g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

Method

1 First, before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go - the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Making caramel is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients. If you don't work fast, the sugar will burn. Safety first - make sure there are no children under foot and you may want to wear oven mitts; the caramelized sugar will be much hotter than boiling water.

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2 Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on. Note that this recipe works best if you are using a thick-bottomed pan. If you find that you end up burning some of the sugar before the rest of it is melted, the next time you attempt it, add a half cup of water to the sugar at the beginning of the process, this will help the sugar to cook more evenly, though it will take longer as the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize.

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3 As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

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4 Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.

5 Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.

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Links:
David Lebovitz on making caramel

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Showing 4 of 200 Comments

  • Jessica Gregory

    I work for a bakery and I am trying to find a caramel recipe that doesn’t pool once added to churning ice cream. Does anyone have any experience with this? Or have tips? I’ve tried bring the caramel back up to 350 degrees on made- which thickens it a little,,,,but still pools in the ice cream pint.

  • Elaine

    This recipe is awesome! Have you ever doubled or even tripled this recipe with success?

  • Jackie

    Thanks for the recipe. Could I substitute 1/3 cup of the sugar with maple syrup? I believe I also have to reduce the cream and butter a bit to compensate for the liquid. My goal is to use this as a filling in molded chocolate. Thoughts? Suggestions?

  • Mari

    I made this caramel sauce and was very pleased with the results. I have another recipe that starts out with adding the sugar with 1/2 cup of water and boiling for 15 minutes until amber in color, so I was a little skeptical when this recipe didn’t call for the water. But I found I like it better without the water! its a more intense real caramel flavor! Followed the directions exactly and it turned out great! I put some in a cup of espresso to make a caramel cappuccino, (wonderful)! Also used it as a topping over vanilla bean ice cream and I’m going to use it over a apple oatmeal cake tonight for dessert ! It has so many uses indeed! Thanks for another great recipe!

  • John

    I keep burning the sugar. It has a bitter taste. And when I try it with water, it never gets dark.
    I’m obviously doing something wrong!

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