This quick and easy recipe for salted caramel sauce only has 4 ingredients, and is ready in less than 15 minutes. Perfect for topping ice cream, mixing into brownies, or drizzling on top of your favorite fall desserts.
I will be the first to admit… I have a major sweet tooth. And while I do believe in reducing the amount of processed sugar we consume (I’ll never pass up a piece of fruit), sometimes you just have to indulge that sweet tooth.
And this caramel sauce? It takes the cake. Or ice cream. Of the sweet tooth world. It’s absolutely perfect on top of my apple pie ice cream, it’s delicious drizzled on top of some homemade brownies, and I may (or may not) have been caught eating it by the spoon full on a difficult, trying day.
Besides, putting it on an apple in the middle of fall? Instantly makes it a healthier choice, right?
Okay, maybe not… but, it’s still delicious and sometimes we just have to indulge. At least if I make my own I know exactly what’s in it, right?
At least, that’s how I’m justifying it anyway.
I used to be a little intimidated about making my own caramel sauce. I had tried it once before and it turned into an absolute kitchen nightmare. Burned sugar and ick all over what was once my shiny, stainless steel sauce pan. But… I was determined.
And I figured it out. It’s really not so bad once you learn a few tricks. One being having time in the kitchen without kids and dogs disturbing everything you’re trying to do. I mean, I’m all about kids in the kitchen, we cook together a lot. But it wasn’t working out with this stuff.
Now? Now I am confident that my own kids could make this caramel sauce with very little help from me. It’s simple, as long as you are paying close attention. But… even though I think they could make it by themselves and I can certainly do it with them in the kitchen? I still think I’ll save it for a late night cooking spree so I can let it cool down and lick the spoon before they eat it all.
I mean, you make this kind of stuff when they’re wide awake and running? You’ll have no caramel sauce for yourself to even taste!
The absolute perfect blend of salty and sweet this caramel sauce is to die for. I made it a few times to make sure and I’m happy to report, the results are still amazing. In fact, I think I could actually make it with my kids and dog underfoot. But, for now, I’ll continue making it when they’re all sleeping so I can let it cool down and lick the spoon. I mean, you make this kinda stuff when they’re wide awake and running, they’re going to eat it all before you even get a taste.
Tips for Making Salted Caramel Sauce
1. Do not leave this unattended. Not even for a second. It’s best to make when you’re free of distractions. Throw the dog out to chase the chickens and stick the kids with your husband (or wait until they’re in bed). A couple of seconds can turn it from dreamy to burnt to a crisp nasty that will have you scrubbing for days.
2. Ditch the thermometer. Seriously, it is completely unnecessary for this recipe. In fact, it’s probably going to be more of a hindrance than a help. Just let your eyes and nose do the judging for you. Less worry, less tools, equals better caramel sauce.
3. Make sure you have everything ready and at room temp. You don’t want to add cold ingredients to the hot sugar. It will make the entire production turn into a mess that you may or may not be able to come back from. And I can promise you, it will not make caramel sauce. A burnt rock reminiscent of grandma’s meatloaf being left in the oven for far too long is more on par.
4. There is some wiggle room with how dark you allow the sugar to get. The lighter it is, the less rich and lighter your sauce will be. If you let it get very dark, the taste and consistency will reflect it. I like my caramel somewhere in the middle of those two. A medium amber color is perfect for me. Some like it lighter, some darker. Play with it, don’t be afraid, but don’t let it burn. If your kitchen fills with smells of burnt sugar… try again.
5. Speaking of sugar… you can use sucanat like I call for in the recipe, brown sugar, evaporated cane sugar and just about any other kind of sugar you can think of and still make caramel sauce. Each sugar will result in a slightly different color and flavor.
6. Use a big pan. I use my 2 or 2.5 quart pan when I make this despite the fact it doesn’t yield near that amount of sauce. When you add your butter to the sugar, it will bubble. And if your pan is too small, it will bubble over and get all over your stove, make a massive mess that is incredibly difficult to clean and you will curse yourself and your cooking utensils while you use much more elbow grease than you ever thought imaginable. Save yourself the headache and just use the bigger pan.
7. Once you have your butter and cream mixed in, you’re going to want to immediately add your salt. If you wait, it will not mix into the sauce as well. Do it immediately or have clumps of salt with a hint of caramel and clumps of caramel without salt. Note that you can omit the salt from the recipe entirely, but if you do you may be a little weird because salted caramel is amazing… caramel by itself is just meh. But, I won’t judge… you do your thing.
8. Allow the sauce to cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring it into jars. Once the jars of sauce have cooled to room temp, you can put it in the fridge where it will keep up to a month. But, I sincerely doubt it will last anywhere near that long.
This easy salted caramel sauce recipe is the perfect blend of salty and sweet and great for topping ice cream, drizzling on your favorite dessert, or putting in your coffee.
- 1 Cup Whole Cane Sugar or Sucanat
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temp
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream, room temp
- 1 Tablespoon fluer de sel , or sea salt flakes
- Once you have all of your ingredients gathered and at room temp, you can start by melting the sugar in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the sugar begins melting, start whisking it. Continue whisking, despite the clumping, until it is all melted and can swirl around the pan.
- Once the sugar is completely melted, you'll stop whisking and start swirling. You're also going to want to watch your pan constantly. This is where burning your delicious caramel sauce can happen really easily. So, keep a constant close watch. Allow the sugar to reach an amber color, swirling it around in the pan occasionally so it doesn't stick. Use your eyes and nose as a guide.
- Once the sugar has reached the color you desire, you can carefully stir in the butter until it is all melted. I prefer to use a spoon at this point instead of the whisk. Your mixture will bubble... a lot. Don't worry, this is why we're using such a big pan.
- Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from heat. Now, carefully and slowly stir in your cream. Adding bits at a time until it is smooth and well incorporated.
- As soon as all of your cream is added and the consistency is smooth, add in your sea salt flakes and mix well. Do not wait for this step, it's important to do it while the sauce is still warm.
- Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for a few moments before transferring to glass jars. Once transferred, allow the jars to cool to room temp before placing in the refrigerator.
Yield:8 Servings (2 Tablespoons each)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 799mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 25gProtein: 1g
There you have it, super simple, 10-15 minutes and you have an amazing treat to enjoy.
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