So I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I'm not really an ice cream kind of girl. If we're having birthday cake or apple pie, I won't take mine a la mode, thank you very much. I'd really prefer a cookie or a piece of cake, or even a piece of fruit.
But there is one ice cream that I will go out of my way for: Bi Rite Creamery's Salted Caramel. Honestly, it's to die for. Over and over. It's smooth, it's sweet, it tastes a little burnt (you know, like good caramel does) and it has just the right amount of salt. Mmmmmm.
So when I saw this recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce, I knew I had to try it out. I mean, there are only 4 ingredients - how hard could it be?
Basically, all you need is this:
a medium sized saucepan (make sure the sides are fairly high)
1 cup of white refined sugar
6 tablespoons of butter (ack! your arteries!)
1/2 cup cream
salt to taste (sea salt, or fleur du sel, if you're trying to be fancy)
Personally, I prefer to make my caramel sauce the slow and steady way, so I put the sugar in the pan, set it on low heat, and wait. However, this can take a long time (20-30 minutes before it even starts to melt) so decide how comfortable you are with this method. I find it cooks the sugar more evenly to begin with, and I don't worry about it burning as much.
Another important piece of advice: don't stir! You can push the edges in once they start to melt, and you can give a few swipes to holdout areas once most of it starts to become liquidy, but mostly, stay out of it. Let the sugar and the heat work their magic.
Once your sugar is completely liquid and starts to turn the color of a copper penny, turn the heat off. Add the butter first (make sure it's room temperature, likewise with the cream). The sugar will froth up, that's ok, it's supposed to happen. Stir the butter in the best you can, or whisk it in. Then add the cream and stir it in. Then add the salt and . . . stir it in. Not exciting, but I promise it will be delicious. Next time I think I'd also add a bit of vanilla or maybe another flavoring to the caramel, but really, this is perfect as it is.
Store it in your refrigerator for about 2 weeks, or in your freezer for longer. To enjoy it after you've made it, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so until it becomes runny again.
It's delicious on apples, waffles, crepes, pancakes, and so on and so forth. (Even ice cream I would imagine.) It's even pretty good just licked off the spoon. But don't take my word for it - go try some yourself!
Inspiration: The Purple Foodie.
Caramel Education: David Lebovitz.
Happy caramel making!