Have you ever tasted something, and had the response, “Oh, so THIS is what it’s supposed to be!”
That was my experience when I tried 10-year aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese, after a lifetime of eating mediocre cheddar cheese.
Or when I tasted homemade caramel sauce for the first time. I realized that all other caramels that I’d previously had were sad, hollow efforts at the real thing. Starbucks caramel sauce, Smuckers caramel sauce…they don’t come close to homemade caramel sauce.
Making homemade caramel sauce from scratch is simple and quick, as I’ve learned from several times of making it. And the result is mind-blowing. The sauce is beautifully rich and sweet, just made for drizzling over ice cream, as a topping on a brownie, or mixed into an iced latte. Or if you’re like me, you sneak spoonfuls of it straight from the jar.
Before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go, since cooking the caramel is a fast process. It takes no more than 10 focused minutes, but be sure you’re not mutitasking – you do not want to burn your sugar!
Adapted from Simply Recipes
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Have all ingredients ready to go, as they need to be added quickly.
Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on.
As soon as all the sugar crystals have melted and the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color, immediately add the butter. Whisk until the butter has melted.
Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.