It is the end of the school year again. How did that happen? I know it is so cliché but I can’t believe how fast this year has gone! I have two 2nd graders now, which is just crazy.
If you have been following me for a while you will remember that I always contribute to the “classroom” gift for the teachers but I also really like to make a little something extra. I like to cook so that is how I’m going to show my appreciation. This year, my one daughter’s teacher really likes ice cream. So, naturally, we made her a few ice cream toppings for her end of the year gift. We gave her granola, candied pecans and salted caramel sauce. YUM!
I have never made caramel sauce before. It is one of those things I have always had an aversion to. Why would I make caramel sauce when I can buy a delicious jar in the ice cream aisle? I don’t have a candy thermometer and the thought of using one well, it just seemed excessive.
I still don’t own a candy thermometer but that did not stop me from making this delicious caramel sauce. You don’t need one! Here is what to do:
Put the sugar in a pot with high sides. The sauce will bubble up later and it is basically as hot as lava so you don’t want to get burned. I use a heatproof spatula to stir, stir and stir some more. It seems like you are stirring forever and nothing is happening. Really, you are only stirring for 5-10 minutes but it seems like forever. Then, suddenly, little clumps of sugar will start forming.
As you continue stirring, make sure you are scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Sugar can burn easily and that will not taste good. So, just keep stirring and eventually the little clumps will melt a little more, and they will keep melting until you have a pot of melted sugar that is a beautiful… wait for it… caramel color.
When all the sugar is completely melted add the butter. Here is where the steam and the bubbling begin so be very careful. You want to fully incorporate the butter and the sugar. This is where I usually switch to a whisk so I know everything is really combined.
When the sugar and butter are completely incorporated, pour in the cream. More bubbling. More steam. More being very careful. I whisk everything together for another minute and then just let it boil for about 30 seconds.
Turn off the heat and stir in some salt. The End. You did it.
I pour the sauce into a mason jar. You can use it right away or let it cool down a bit and then store it in the fridge. This is sooooo good!
Of course you can pour it over ice cream but there are a ton of other uses too. Pour it on cakes, brownies, fill macarons (my original purpose for making this sauce), eat it straight out of the jar, etc.
If you are giving this as a gift it will be fine at room temperature while traveling to your destination or I would even say overnight but tell your recipient to refrigerate it when they get home. Again, they can just heat it in the microwave for a few seconds (after taking the lid off) and give it a stir before they want to use it.
This makes a wonderful teacher, hostess or thank you gift but it is also great just to have around the house. Ideal for an extra special treat like say… I don’t know… an ice cream sundae on Memorial Day. What a perfect way to kick off summer!
Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
¾ c + 2T Sugar
6 T Butter, cut into chunks
½ c Heavy Cream
2 tsp Salt (recommend Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)
Put the sugar in a medium saucepot over medium high heat.
Stir constantly with a heatproof spatula.
After 5-10 minutes the sugar will begin clumping and then melting.
When all the sugar is dissolved and is a nice caramel color, add the butter all at once.
Be Careful! The molten hot sugar will steam and bubble.
Continue to stir constantly until the butter and sugar are completely incorporated; if you need to, switch to a whisk to blend them together.
Meanwhile, microwave the heavy cream for 30 seconds.
Add the cream to the caramel while continuing to stir; again, be careful of the steam and bubbles!
Stir for about a minute to combine then let it continue to boil for about 30 seconds undisturbed.
Take it off the heat and stir in the salt.
Carefully pour into a heatproof jar or container, let cool, store in the fridge.