Making homemade caramel sauce had always been something so daunting and impossible to me. Cooking with sugar had always been presented as a complicated and very cautious process – it became very intimidating. Yet, this did not mean I would avoid it completely, I accepted the challenge.
Another reason why was that I had to find out what all this fuss about salted caramel was about. To my surprise, the process was fairly easy and the result exceeded my expectations. I can now understand why mastering the process of homemade caramel is a necessity. Unlike sugary, syrupy store bought versions, this caramel is smooth and rich. I will admit, I am obsessed. I cannot wait for apple season to smother this caramel on every apple dessert I can get my hands on. (Just stay tuned…)
I had made this caramel for a batch of cupcakes. I folded about a half cup of the caramel into the buttercream and used more for drizzling on top of the cupcakes.
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tbsp butter, cubed
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sea salt
Firstly, get all of your ingredients measured and set by the stove ready to throw in. Place the sugar in the bottom of a large, heavy bottom pot. (The sugar tends to boil rapidly once the butter and cream is added, so make sure there is enough room in the pot).
This next step is optional, which I did just as a matter of precaution. You can add a 1/4 cup of water to the sugar to ensure even melting. This did not affect my results, it just takes a tad longer for the water to evaporate before it can caramelize. If not, melt the sugar over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar until it is melted, but once it melts STOP STIRRING.
Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches 350 degrees or dark amber colour. Whisk in your butter until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream while continually whisking. Lastly, whisk in the salt.
Let cool and transfer to a jar for storage. This keeps in the fridge for about a week.
Side note: I will admit that I messed this up the first time I attempted it. I believe it was because I swirled the sugar in the pan after it had melted too much. This caused the sugar to crystallize. And that is not fun to get off the bottom of your pot… The next time I didn’t touch the sugar and let it go until it reached the amber point and it worked perfectly.