April 10, 2012

Homemade Caramel Sauce

I love Scrabble.  I might even be borderline obsessed with playing it.  I just beat my 13 year old son and I can't help but gloat just a little.  Is that bad???  Maybe that's why no one ever wants to play with me!  I'm constantly begging for someone to play with me and they are constantly turning me down.  However, now that I have a Kindle I can play against the Kindle anytime I like....wonder if that's why my husband bought it for me.

OK, on to caramel sauce.  As much as I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I am not much in to candy making or making anything where I have to use a candy thermometer.  Then one day I was watching "Dessert First" on the Food Network and Anne Thornton was making salted caramel banana cream pie.  It looked sooooo good so when my husband recently asked for a banana cream pie I knew I had to try that recipe.  The end product was delicious, however, truth be told I didn't care for her recipe & cooking method for the custard/pudding part of the pie.  But once it was all put together it didn't matter that the texture for the custard/pudding wasn't perfect.  The caramel was by far the star of this dish. 

When I tried the caramel sauce I was floored by how different it tasted from the stuff you buy in a jar at the store.  The caramel flavor was so intense...exactly how caramel SHOULD taste.  It actually makes me sad to think that I wasted all these years buying it!  There is no turning back now - I will from this day forward make my own.  Thank you Anne Thornton! 

Caramel Sauce (by Anne Thornton

1 1/2 cups sugar 
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Place water and sugar in medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Cook until sugar dissolves, 5-10 minutes - DO NOT STIR. Turn the heat up to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns to a chestnut brown color, about 5-7 minutes (350 degrees on candy thermometer if you have one - I just used my meat thermometer, making sure it didn't touch the bottom of the pan). Swirl the mixture gently every now and then. Watch closely at the end because it will go from caramel to burnt quickly.

Turn off the heat and slowly add the cream (you may want to stand back a little to avoid getting splattered). The cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify - don't worry this is normal!

Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the caramel dissolves and the sauce gets nice and smooth (about 2 minutes). Allow to cool to room temperature which will take about 4 hours. The sauce will thicken as it cools.