Caramel sauce is a feature of many incredible desserts. You might have tried it drizzled over a cheesecake or chocolate brownie, or combined with your favorite flavor of ice cream.
But did you know that you don’t have to go out to eat at a restaurant to enjoy some delicious caramel sauce? That’s right! You can make your own caramel sauce at home with just a few simple ingredients and kitchen utensils.
Read on to find out how to prepare the perfect caramel sauce!
How To Make Caramel Sauce
To make caramel sauce, you will need the following ingredients:
- Sugar (1 cup)
- Heavy cream (½ cup)
- Butter (6 tbsp)
We weren’t kidding when we said that you only need simple ingredients!
Here is the step-by-step method for making caramel sauce:
1. Heat Up Your Sugar
Set your stove to a moderate-to-high temperature under a saucepan. Ideally, you should use a 2 (or 3) quart saucepan with a heavy bottom.
Put the sugar into the saucepan and wait for it to start to melt. Once you notice that the sugar is melting, use a whisk to stir it rapidly. You can also use a wooden spoon for this stage.
Don’t worry if you see that the sugar is clumping, as this is a normal part of the process. If all is going to plan, you should notice that the melting begins towards the pan’s edges.
As the melting progresses, gently lower the heat. Remember that sugar can burn easily, which would ruin your caramel sauce, so it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature.
It’s also important to keep stirring (or whisking) until the sugar has melted completely. You’ll know when the sugar is fully melted because it will be an amber color.
2. Add In the Butter
Once your sugar has melted fully, it’s time to add the butter. You must do this immediately once you’re sure the sugar is ready.
As soon as you add the butter to the pan, start whisking again so that the butter combines with the melted sugar.
3. Pour In the Cream
Your butter and sugar mixture should now be ready for the cream. However, before you can add the cream, you need to remove the pan from the heat and wait for 3 seconds.
When 3 seconds have passed, pour the cream into the pan and start whisking again.
If you notice foam forming in your mixture, don’t panic. The foam is normal, and there will usually be quite a lot of it.
This is the main reason we’ve recommended using a relatively large pan to make a small quantity of caramel sauce – it needs to be able to accommodate all the foam.
4. Whisk the Mixture
The final stage of the process is simply more whisking. Your arm will probably be quite tired by the end, but it will be worth it for the delicious caramel sauce!
You should whisk until the sauce is completely smooth. When you’re sure it’s ready, leave it to sit in the pan for about 2 minutes until it’s cool enough to transfer to a mason jar. Once in the jar, the sauce can be left to cool down to room temperature.
Tips For Making Caramel Sauce
Using the above method, you should have no trouble preparing a sumptuous caramel sauce to take all your desserts to the next level! However, if you really want your caramel sauce to be as good as possible, follow these additional tips:
1. Wipe the Sides of the Pan
Sometimes, grains of sugar can get stuck on the sides of the pan, meaning that they don’t melt with the rest of the sugar. This can cause your caramel to crystalize, which is not what you want.
Therefore, we recommend using a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe any stray sugar grains into the mixture so that it’s all combined.
2. Choose a Heavy-Bottomed Pan
We recommended using a heavy-bottomed pan during the method section, but in case you’re wondering whether this is actually important, here’s why:
Thick-bottomed pans distribute heat more evenly, which is key if you don’t want the sugar to start burning in some places before the rest has even begun to melt properly. Uneven heating is the most common reason for failed attempts at caramel sauce.
If you don’t have the right kind of pan, you can probably still make this recipe work by starting at a lower heat and adding water from the beginning, but it’s always best to use a pan with a thick base.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, a pan with high sides is the best choice to ensure that the mixture doesn’t bubble over when it starts to foam.
3. Wear Oven Gloves
In case you didn’t know, the temperature of melted sugar surpasses that of boiling water. Needless to say, you definitely don’t want anything that hot touching your skin, so please wear some form of protection for your hands when making caramel sauce.
4. Use Water to Stop Burning
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the sugar might start to burn before it’s melted completely. This has the potential to ruin your sauce, so if you notice this happening, simply add half a cup of water.
Admittedly, this will mean that the sugar will take longer to caramelize, but it’s better than having to throw out burned sugar and start again.
Making caramel sauce might sound like a task for experienced chefs only, but as long as you pay attention to the temperature, keep whisking when necessary, and use the right kind of pan, it’s actually easy to make!
Again, all you need is some sugar, butter, and heavy cream. Once you have prepared your caramel sauce, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and heat it in the microwave for 0 seconds at a time when you want to use it.
Good luck and enjoy your caramel sauce!