There is nothing like homemade caramel sauce. It has a rich lusciousness that is absent in most store-bought caramel sauces. Believe it or not, it’s quite simple to make it from scratch. However, you need to pay attention to what you’re doing when you make this sauce. This is not the time to multitask and I had to learn this the hard way. I’ve ruined many batches of caramel sauce because I was talking on the phone or texting. Caramel sauce doesn’t take a lot of time to make and uses only a few ingredients: water, sugar, butter, cream and vanilla.
Homemade Caramel Sauce, adapted from Joy of Cooking
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, gently stirring until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear. Increase the heat to high, cover the saucepan, and boil the syrup for 2 minutes.
Uncover and boil the syrup until it begins to darken around the edges. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until the syrup turns an amber color. (When the sugar begins to turn, I remove it from the heat and gently swirl the pan. Then I return it to the heat to darken a little. This is where you have to really watch the syrup becaues it will burn in a matter of seconds.)
Remove the saucepan from the heat and gently stir in the butter until melted and incorporated. (Be careful. The mixture will bubble up.)
Stir in the heavy cream. Heat the saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.
Stir in the vanilla and salt.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month.