Homemade Easy Caramel Sauce
Incase you haven’t noticed by now, I generally like to make as much as I can from scratch. I feel like there are 2 really important things that happen when you cook stuff from scratch. The first is that it really gives you a thorough understanding of the final product and how it comes to be the way it is. Once you understand the final product and how it came to be, it is really easy to modify it for various purposes. You are not forced to adapt to an existing products limitations, the only limitations are the ones that you create for yourself. The second really important thing I find, for cooking stuff from scratch, is that you have full control over the ingredients. Not only do you get to control quantity of ingredients completely, you also get to control the quality of the ingredients. I don’t mention it much, but when I cook I generally always try to use organic/pesticide free/natural ingredients. You will never, ever see me use anything with any type of artificial sweetener, artificial color, artificial flavor, chemical preservatives, hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. These are all ingredients on my blacklist. I generally won’t let anything made with those ingredients even enter my house. There have been times when my husband has purchased something (without reading the ingredients list, as husbands do…) and as soon as he walked in, either he had to go return it, or it went straight into the garbage. I was also the same way when I was living at home with my parents, it used to annoy them at first, but they came to appreciate it by the time I got married. I have a pretty low tolerance for anything artificial/chemical. When I cook colorful, its always naturally colored. When it comes to sweets, it’s very, very easy to get sucked into the world of hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, sweeteners and colors. Even some ready-made caramel sauces are artificially colored. Caramel?! If you make caramel correctly it should color itself! I find the whole world of artificial and chemical anything nauseating to be honest. I am a HUGE advocate of cooking natural ingredients. For this reason, cooking from scratch has become something that I practice in every dish that I can. If it’s possible for me to make something from scratch with the ingredients and tools I have access too, I will most definitely be making it from scratch.
In terms of this particular recipe, my homemade easy caramel sauce, it’s not even difficult to make at home. It just takes a handful of ingredients nothing complicated, just some time, and patience is all that’s needed. There are no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors, it’s as pure as you can get. Of course, if you are watching your sugar consumption, maybe this is not the best recipe for you! haha! But in moderation even this is not so bad for you! Once made it has such a strong flavor that you really only need a little, to make it go a long way. I’ve made this recipe many different ways, with many different ratios of butter/cream/sugar. Depending on the application, the ratio should change. When I need it to stay thick and stretchy, like the type you would find as a filling in chocolate bars, it’s the same ingredients just a different ratio. Today I am going to share with you my recipe and ratio’s to make this into a caramel sauce. This sauce works great for so many different applications. You can use it as is, as a topping on ice-cream, I like to use it to make homemade caramel latte’s, I also like to use it in many cupcake recipes that I make. This particular recipe has dairy in it, but I will soon also be sharing with you my “vegan caramel sauce” recipe which I also make regularly. This sauce also makes a great gift to give to people, especially people with a sweet tooth! =)
Let me show you how easy it is to make!
First thing’s first, you need to make sure you choose a pot with a heavy bottom, and high walls. You don’t want the sum of your ingredients to come even close to the top of the pot, otherwise by the end you will have a terrible mess to clean up. It’s better if it’s a heavy bottom steel pot, I happened to have mine filled with frying oil at the time I made this, so instead I used my heavy bottom non-stick pot. It worked fine. Add your sugar to your pot, and put it onto the stove on medium heat.
The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the sugar to caramelize. You will be staring at the sugar for a long time, probably lose your patience, wonder if anything is actually happening, and want to give up. Don’t give up! It’s probably right around that time that things will start to happen. Eventually and very suddenly the sugar will start to caramelize.
You don’t have to shake the pot like I did to make it look like this, I just wanted to show you how much is actually caramelizing. It’s your choice what to do, just DO NOT use any utensils. The only thing you could do is shake the pot to get things to move around. When sugar melts, it melts at REALLY high temperatures, and its also VERY sticky. There’s no reason to create something difficult to clean right now.
Eventually you will notice that instead of brown crystals it is starting to liquefy. (see the back of the pot). This is good. The rest will follow suit. It will happen quickly, and exponentially.
Soon it will look like this. I got most of those crystals because I shook the pot a little bit too early. It’s okay if the same thing happens to you. At this point you can lower the heat to medium low, and continue to cook, make sure to shake the pot a lot at this stage to help the large crystals dissolve into the syrup.
You may think you are done at this stage, but you need to look carefully, if you stop at this point, those crystals will never dissolve (see arrows in picture). Make sure to move the pot in circles to help the crystals dissolve (if this is all that’s left, it will happen quickly).
Soon everything will be dissolved, this is exactly what you want! Take the pot off of the heat now. DO NOT touch the syrup.
Once the pot is off the heat, quickly add COLD butter and Whisk it in. This should be the first time a utensil touches the caramel. The sauce will start to bubble up the pot, that’s what you want. As soon as the butter is mixed in thoroughly, add the heavy whipping cream, and whisk that in. If for some reason, the caramel has cooled too much and is not combining with the heavy whipping cream, return it back to the stove on medium heat, keep whisking until everything is combined. (I could not whisk and photograph at the same time, so I do not have photos of this), as soon as the cream has been whisked in, add your salt and vanilla extract. That’s it, your sauce is done! Pour it into a glass container or jar. (It can melt plastic). The quantity that you get with this recipe fits perfectly into a Pint Size Mason Jar. Place it into the fridge to cool for 3-4 hours or overnight. It will be ready to use once it cools. =)
*If you are having trouble cleaning the pot and/or whisk that you cooked the caramel with, fill up the pot with water and bring it to a boil on the stove for 5 minutes with the whisk inside. The hot water will dissolve any remaining caramel that may be stuck to the walls of the pot and/or whisk. This is the easiest way to clean the pot.
That’s all there is to it! It’s so simple to make at home you will never buy the ready-made stuff again! =)
I hope you give this recipe a try for yourself! Please be sure to let me know in the comments if you do! I would love to hear what you thought of it! Be sure to subscribe so that you can be notified when I post new recipes! (link in the sidebar). Follow me on Instagram @saltyoversweet and find me on Facebook (the link is in the sidebar).
- 1 1/2 cups - White Cane Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons - Unsalted Butter (cold)
- 1 1/2 Cups - Heavy Whipping Cream (cold)
- 1/4 teaspoon - Salt
- 1 Teaspoon - Vanilla Extract
- Put your white cane sugar into a heavy bottom pan with high walls. (Steel is better, but I any heavy bottom pan that heats evenly will work).
- Place the pot onto the stove on medium heat.
- Don't walk away. Watch the sugar until it begins to turn brown in areas.
- Continue to watch - move the pan around as it begins to brown. (DO NOT use any utensils)
- Eventually the large brown crystals will begin to liquefy.
- Continue to move the pan around until everything in the pot has liquefied. If there are any large crystals left, keep moving the pan around until all the crystals have dissolved into the caramelized sugar.
- Once everything has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and add your cold butter and whisk it in immediately. The caramel will bubble and rise up the walls of the pot, that is expected, whisk until the butter has been completely combined with the caramel.
- Right after that, add the cream and whisk until combined thoroughly. If the caramel has cooled too much for the cream to mix in, place the pot back on the stove on medium heat, and whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Once the cream has been combined in, remove the pot from the heat and add in the salt and vanilla and whisk it in.
- Your sauce is now done, be sure to pour it out into a glass container or jar. (It can melt the plastic). Put it into the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. The sauce will be ready to use after it has cooled in the fridge.
- If you ever need the sauce to be thinner you can always stick the glass container or jar into the microwave for a few seconds to thin out the sauce.
- *This recipe yields 1 Pint of Caramel Sauce.
- *This sauce is inherently gluten-free.
- *I will soon be posting a vegan version of this sauce.
- *This sauce goes great in coffee, cupcakes, and on ice cream.
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