RECIPE #168, DAY #206
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Caramel Sauce” from Nathalie Dupree’s Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking*
TIMING: 30 minutes or even more, which involves a lot of standing over the stove
DIFFICULTY: Experience appreciated
TOOLS: A small-medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, a whisk, a candy thermometer, and a wooden spoon
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: We all know caramel sauce is an indulgence to be enjoyed infrequently and in moderation, correct?
EXPERIENCE: I really didn’t know that I liked caramel until I grew up, became a foodie, and made my own. Now I love homemade caramel and caramel sauce (as well as butterscotch sauce). It is so much more buttery and dimensional than almost all of the store-bought caramel (not to mention it does not have that sorta tinny artificial taste).
I made my first caramel sauce years ago, but I have never remembered where I went for the recipe for my previous batch of sauce. So when my daughter needed a caramel sauce for her newest cupcake creation, I searched the database and found a recipe in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. Despite some misgivings, I decided to give it a try.
I promise that I will be trying other variations of caramel sauce, specifically some with butter and vanilla and without so much water. Still, it was finger lickin’ good (like, once it’s cooled enough not to remove a fingerprint).
NOTES: There were some definite nos on this recipe, some of which I rectified for you. For one, cream was an optional ingredient which changed the title to “Caramel Cream Sauce.” No. Caramel contains a fat, such as butter or cream. Period. Two, there was no temperature given for the caramelization. WHY!? No. All candy recipes should give a temperature for those who have a thermometer. Why not? Three, there were two cups of water in this original recipe. Yikes. And no. This might make the recipe easier for beginners, but it also necessitates standing and stirring the caramel for a month of Sundays to first evaporate all the water. I only have so many hours in my life. And four, the recipe contains no salt, vanilla, or butter, which I find sad and unconventional. But I didn’t add butter or vanilla, just salt, and it still turned out good.
Store leftover sauce in a closed container in the fridge. You will have to gently re-warm it to make it saucy again.
PLEASE NOTE that candy making can be a dangerous endeavor. This is not for children or people who are especially clumsy. Hot sugar can be a devastating thing to spatter or spill. Just be mindful when you are cooking and adding ingredients.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Whisk while heating over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. If crystallization happens around the edge, wipe down with a brush dipped in water.
- Drop in your candy thermometer and (without stirring) gently boil the syrup until bubbles have become small and sluggish, the syrup is deeply colored, and the thermometer reads 350F.
- Add 1 cup cream and a pinch of salt. Beware the scary bubbling up. Stir with a wooden spoon continuously as you smooth out and reduce by 1/4. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof container.
Serve over ice cream or use for a cake drizzle.
*Recipe changed from the original.