Yum. Buttery sugary goodness that’s too often imitated so poorly. I’ve made it a few times now from scratch and I’m hooked. I’ve been looking for variations on caramel candies because, while I love them, I know that I can do a lot more with it.
I had printed a delicious Caramel Budino recipe a year or so ago. I’ve never gotten around to making the Budino (but I will) but I really liked how vanilla salted caramel sauce that went with it sounded.
So this past Saturday I pulled out the recipe and started in. I photographed the process by which the ingredients turn from sugar/corn starch to yummy caramel. So many times I’d read recipes that tell me to look for ‘golden color’. Well-how golden is golden? I’ve burned a few batches standing over the stove, wondering just that. When I look down-poof-it’s a burned, stinking mess that goes in the garbage and stinks up my kitchen for a while; kind of like burned popcorn. So to avoid all confusion:
When sugar first starts to boil.
A little longer still.
If this was Star Wars these are the droids you’re looking for.
How I’ve lived without this sauce for my 37.5 years is now a mystery. How you’ve lived without it is a mystery as well. You should make this today-but you need to swear to me that you’ll say it ‘caramel’ and not ‘carmUl’ if you do. There’s no ‘mul’ at the end of the word and there’s an ‘A’ in the middle. That’s one of my pet peeves.
I’ve heard a lot of people say ‘oh it’s hard to make caramel’. Let me reassure you. It’s not. If you pay attention, follow the directions and look at the photos above it’s really almost foolproof. So put on some good music and get to it.
This recipe makes a fair amount. I’d say about 2 cups or so. The recipe below is a combination of the printed recipe and a generic caramel recipe I’ve used in the past. Pour some over gelato, dip sliced granny smith apples into it (like I did late on Saturday), drizzle it over a cookie or a brownie. And give some to someone else-they’ll love it!!
Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and both bean and seeds set aside for use
- 1&1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes, chilled
- 1&1/2 tsp fleur de sel
- Place the vanilla bean and seeds into a small measuring cup large enough to hold the heavy cream. Add the heavy cream and set aside.
- Measure the butter and salt and set aside for use later.
- In a small sauce pan over low heat combine the butter, salt, cream and vanilla bean mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Allow it to simmer gently for a few minutes then remove from heat and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan add the granulated sugar, corn syrup and water and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. (It’s at this point that you should start singing along with Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’. The length of that song was how long it took to go from boiling to golden for me.) Allow the liquid to bubble over medium heat until that golden color in photo #4 arrives. It will take anywhere from 5-8 minutes depending on your stove and heat. Gently swirl the pan a lot as it’s bubbling.
- While the sugar mixture is bubbling remove the vanilla bean from the cream. Make sure to squeeze all of the beans/cream out of the bean into the butter/cream mixture before you discard. Do it fast and don’t stop paying attention to the sugar mixture.
- When the sugar mixture is the correct color remove the pan from the heat, gradually add the vanilla/butter/cream mixture (Be careful!! It bubbles vigorously!!). Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk the ingredients together until smooth and thick-about 2 minutes.
When the caramel has cooled a bit you may pour it into jars (I had 2 clean jam jars to reuse) to store in the refrigerator or eat it with a spoon right from the pan like I did.
Tim also loved it. How cute is it that he’s holding the bowl down with his foot? He’s making sure to get every last bit.