THE BEST homemade salted caramel sauce. Its creamy, delicious and super easy. Eat it straight from the jar or serve over pies, drinks, all kinda of deserts. The possibilities are endless.
HOW IS CARAMEL SAUCE DIFFERENT THAT OTHER CARAMEL
Caramel sauce is made from the same ingredients as other caramel recipes, the difference is the amount of ingredient and the temperature to which you cook the sugar. Cooking the sugar to a lower temp will not candy the sugar as hard as cooking it to a higher temp. This makes it perfect for drizzling and inserting into cakes and pie. It'll be a smooth, creamy caramel addition and not super chewy.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
- SEA SALT
WHAT IS THE BEST PAN TO COOK CARAMEL IN
You don't want to use a thin aluminum pan to ever cook candy or caramel in. Use a heavy bottom pan, preferably not cast iron, to cook caramel in. Thin pans will not cook evenly making the caramel to burn or scorch in different areas. Heavy bottom pans all the heat to conduct evenly throughout allowing the caramel to cook evenly.
HOW TO MAKE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
- In your heavy bottom pan, on medium heat, add your sugar and water.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves. It will become a clear liquid.
- ! Do not remove the whisk/spoon from the pan until it is dissolved. Then do not put it back in. This will cause the sugar to crystalize!
- Let the sugar come to a boil.
DO NOT STIR THE CARAMEL
Now that the sugar is boiling on a med heat we need it to caramelize, or cook to a high temp. This can be tricky to get the right texture...trust me I have also dumped out a few pans of caramel. But you won't! because I'm going to tell you how to do it right.
- Do not stir the caramel from her on out.
- move the pan. GENTLY shake and swirl the syrup around the pan.
- DO NOT LET IT SPLASH THE SIDES. If you are swirling the caramel gently enough it would splash the sides.
WHY DO I NEED TO SWIRL OR SHAKE CARAMEL
Allowing the caramel to sit will cause the bottom to burn and the top to be at a lesser temp. You want to keep the entire batch of syrup cooking at the same temp.
WHY CAN'T I STIR?
Using a utensil just causes a high risk of crystalizing the sugar- meaning you will have a grainy texture and/or clumps of hard sugar in your caramel.
COOK THE CARAMEL UNTIL IT COMES TO A DEEP GOLDEN BROWN
You will see the syrup start to darken to yellow, then a mustard yellow/brown and then to a deep amber color. This is when you will turn off the heat. If you have a thermometer (highly recommended) this will be about temp 235-240
PROTIP If you are checking the temp of the caramel do not re-insert the probe unless you have cleaned and dried it.
ADD CREAM, BUTTER.
When you add these ingredients you will need to stir quickly. The syrup will bubble up quite a bit!
ADD VANILLA AND SEA SALT
You caramel will now resemble caramel. Its completely off the heat and all you need to do is add in a little bit of extra flavor. Vanilla and Sea Salt.
CARAMEL WILL THICKEN
As the caramel cools it will thicken slightly to a sauce texture. If you need your caramel thinner just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes.
WHAT ELSE CAN I SERVE THIS SALTED CARAMEL WITH?
- Dip apples in!
- Serve over Apple Pie
- Use it in this Pecan Pie
- Hot drinks like hot cocoa or this salted caramel apple cider
- Ice cream, cakes, inside cupcakes
WHAT DO I DO IF MY CARAMEL IS GRAINY
There is not really anything you can do to fix the graininess of you caramel. Taste test your caramel, if the graininess is not too severe chances are you won't be able to tell with the many textures of your dessert.
WHY DID MY CARAMEL TURN OUT GRAINY
There are two techniques to making caramel, wet caramel and dry caramel. I've had more success with wet caramel. Basically just adding water to the sugar to the caramel allows the caramel to dissolve evenly and cook more evenly. But sometimes the water and sugar bond, when the water doesn't evaporate out it will cause the sugar to crystalize and cause this grainy texture. To help fix this don't cook your caramel too fast. Let the caramel boil over med heat to give time for the water to evaporate and the sugar to caramelize.
HOW DO I STORE CARAMEL?
Because you are using cream and butter in this caramel recipe it needs to be refrigerated. Place in an air tight container. It will keep for 2 weeks.
CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD?
Yes!! Pop it in the microwave for warm sauce, or serve it cold. You can also set it on the counter for an hour or so for the caramel to come to room temp.
MAKE THIS RECIPE?
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Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 c sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ c heavy whipping cream room temperature
- 6 Tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
- ½-3/4 Tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla or try ½ t vanilla + ½ t coconut extract
- Gently stir water and sugar together in heavy-bottomed saucepan by using medium-low heat. Once dissovled remove the spoon and do not return. Gently shake or swirl the pan to move the caramel, but stirring the sugar will form crystals. Do not splash on sides of pan.
- Once the sugar is melted and a rich copper color, reduce heat to very low and add whipping cream and butter. It will bubble up so ensure you have a large enough pan. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and sea salt. Vigorously stir until everything is incorporated.
- Remove from heat, add extract(s) and salt.
Jen Jones says
This sauce has changed my dessert game! Everyone always loves it (like licking the jar after using it on a dessert or in a drink), and it's so easy and totally impressive! It's a great gift, too!