Thursday, April 7, 2011
Nope. I'm not writing about the latest Knicks addition. I've fallen off the blog wagon again, but I'm picking myself back up. Caramel sauce is calling.
This is one of those recipes that might sound scary at first. (Look out! The mixture bubbles furiously!) But it's really not. And you don't need a candy thermometer to make it. If anything, it just takes a little practice to know when you've achieved the right color of thickened, boiling, sugar water so that you can turn off the heat and whisk up one tasty sauce.
When I made the sauce for this post, I actually turned off the heat before the sauce had turned a deep amber because it was strangely only turning amber around the edges of my pan. I was suspicious...and slightly freaking out that I was going to ruin it. But once I added the cream and vanilla it turned into the perfect caramel color. And I decided to add a little sea salt this time because...it's so trendy! The trend works though. Just try this caramel sauce. On ice cream. On toast. On your finger. (Sometimes a spoon is just too far away.)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Fleur de sel, optional
1. Add the sugar and water to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook, uncovered and without stirring, until the mixture thickens and begins to turn a deep gold/amber color, (occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush if sugar crystals begin to develop) about 10 minutes. (Watch carefully, especially at the end, as it can turn from a nice golden caramel to a pot of burnt sugar very quickly.) Turn off the heat.
2. Gradually add the cream, taking care to not get splattered as the mixture will bubble vigorously. (Using a large enough pot keeps the mixture from boiling over.) Whisk until the sauce is smooth and thick. Whisk in the vanilla, butter, and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature with additional salt as desired. Makes about 2 cups. (The sauce will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for about a week. Gently reheat before serving.)