Wanna know something horrid? I used to dislike caramel. Like, genuinely did not care for it. Why you ask? Too sweet. Yea, I'm a weirdo.
Thankfully, I've come to my senses! I now understand the joy that is taking a bite of luxurious, creamy caramel sauce. It's hard to beat. Unless of course, you make it yourself.
Homemade caramel sauce is 1) RIDICULOUSLY EASY. I'm shouting because it's like CRAZY how easy it is. 2) It's roughly 3000 times better than store bought junk. I promise you. If you've never had homemade caramel sauce, you'll understand once you have. It's a gift from above. 3) Not only is it infinitely better tasting than the crud at the store in a squeeze bottle, you know exactly what is going into it. No odd chemicals or preservatives here. Just 4 simple ingredients. Oh yea that's right, 4 ingredients. In TOTAL. I don't see any more excuses for buying store bought sauce.
I have a work Christmas potluck tomorrow morning and will be giving out pretty little jars of this as my gift this year. It makes a beautiful, easy gift for teachers, coworkers, the mailman- even nestled in a lovely gift basket. Since there's nothing in here to keep the caramel shelf stable, it should be stored in the fridge and used up within about 3 weeks (not that that will be hard to do). It gets more solid in the fridge; just nuke it for a few seconds and use as desired. For my coworkers who are dairy-free, I simply subbed full-fat coconut milk (the stuff in cans) for the cream. It will not thicken up as much as the cream based version, but is just as divine.
Make this sauce and drizzle it over ice cream (and every other confection you can think of), stir it into coffee for some rich sweetness, or- my fave- dip tart apple slices in it.
What's your favorite way to eat caramel sauce? Enjoy!
DIY: Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, pre-cut into chunks (unsalted is fine too... for completely dairy free and vegan, sub coconut oil- it worked for me!)
1/2 cup heavy cream (sub full-fat canned coconut milk for dairy-free)
1 teaspoon regular table salt
Begin by heating sugar in a pot over medium heat, constantly stirring. Sugar will begin to clump and then appear to liquefy, changing to an amber hue. Keep stirring so sugar does not scorch. When sugar is completely melted little to no clumps remain, add butter one chunk at a time**. Mixture will bubble up; that's normal, just be cautious and stir butter into sugar until fully melted for a couple minutes. Drizzle the cream slowly into the pot while slowly stirring. Again, the caramel will start to bubble up. Allow to boil about 1 minute. Take off the heat and stir in salt. Cool a little, then pour into heat safe containers for storage. Lasts for about 3 weeks in fridge.
** For vegan/ dairy free- coconut oil may not bubble up like butter. It will also be thinner and darker than dairy-based caramel. If you want to make it thicker, try adding slightly less oil and coconut milk. It will also thicken slightly after sitting in the fridge.
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