REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Caramel Sauce

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caramelsauceIf you love to bake, then one of the most important things you can learn is how to made various sweet sauces.  Instead of relying on corn syrup-laden storebought caramel, you will be shocked to find out just how easy it is to make your own.  Just like the homemade chocolate syrup, caramel sauce is perfect to have in your fridge for sundaes, coffee drinks, cookies, or other desserts you want to take to the next level.

Caramel is a basic mixture of cream and honey, cooked on the stovetop to various temperatures, depending on whether or not you want a syrup or a candy at the end.  In this case, we are only heating the mixture to 225 degrees to get a caramel sauce.  But you can take that temperature up to the “soft ball” stage or higher to make soft caramels or hard caramels.  Same recipe, different outcomes!

HOW MANY WAYS CAN I USE CARAMEL?

Soft caramels can be eaten plain, cut into pieces and sprinkled with sea salt.  You can serve the caramel sauce over ice cream, or even for dipping a buttery shortbread bar.  The richness and gentle sweetness of the cookie contrasts against the sweet and caramel layer.  Add a crunch of sea salt on the top, and the flavors are rounded out perfectly.

Caramel is truly versatile!  You could even drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of a cake as a decoration, or even as a filling between the cake layers.  I think this would be especially good with a chocolate frosted cake like my coconut cake.

Last but not least, you can use this sauce to make a homemade caramel macchiato.  There is something about the deep roasted flavor of the espresso, the hot steamed milk, the cool cream, and the salty sweet caramel that makes a macchiato my favorite coffee drink of all time.

Equipment Needed:

  • saucepan, wooden spoon
  • candy thermometer, glass bowl or pie plate
  • squeezy bottle or pint glass jar with lid

Caramel Sauce

1 cup heavy cream (find raw dairy sources here)
1 teaspoon sea salt (find unrefined sea salt here)
1 cup honey (find raw honey here)

  1. Prepare a shallow bowl or pie plate by filling it halfway with cold water and ice.  Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and salt over medium heat until bubbles start to form alongside the edges of the pan.
  3. Add the honey, stirring until completely heated through and smooth.
  4. Turn the heat up and bring mixture to a full rolling boil.  Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan, taking care to have the tip in the middle of the mixture, not touching the bottom of the pan.
  5. Lower the heat back to medium to keep the mixture at a simmer that stays steady.  Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook the mixture for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit.  Turn off heat.
  6. Carefully lower the saucepan into the bowl halfway full of cold water.  Mix with a wooden spoon as the caramel cools and thickens.
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