Have you ever started cooking something that you felt was doomed from the start? Every step you take (every move you make, hah!) you feel yourself becoming more and more frazzled as you miss ingredients, mix up the order of the instructions, and yet in the face of disaster you soldier on, wondering what the end result will be like.
This is a story a bit like that. In the midst of all my candy–making, I thought it would be a marvelous idea to try and make some chewy caramels! So, I hunted down what I thought was a very simple recipe with very few ingredients, and I set to work.
Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe
Despite these near disasters, I persevered and in the end I had what I thought was a pot of caramel waiting to be set! I eagerly lined a tray with baking paper, buttered it, poured the mixture in and waited for it to set.
When the recipe said I should wait 2 hours for it to set and it was still liquid after almost 5 hours in the fridge, my heart sank to my feet. I poked the caramel and seeing my finger disappear into the mixture without meeting much resistance made my heart sink even lower (if that was even possible!).
After poking the tray despondently a few times, I buried my head in my hands and groaned, when the aforementioned mother (who almost stuck her finger straight into the just cooked pot of sugar) appeared in the doorway and inquired as to the source of my grief.
When I told her about the failed caramel, she raised an eyebrow, marched over and proceeded to stick her finger into the tray. She scooped up a large dollop of the mixture and popped it into her mouth, closing her eyes while evaluating the flavor.
“Hrm… it tastes good! You could use it as a sauce!”
I blinked whilst I stared at her, mouth agape. “EGADS woman, you’re a genius!” I proclaimed, as I grabbed her a planted a big wet kiss on her forehead. She grimaced and wiped away at the kiss with her sleeve as I bolted over to the fridge to pull out the tub of vanilla ice-cream.
I scooped some into a bowl, drizzled over some of the liquid caramel, took a bit and sighed as the sugar rush enveloped my being like a comforting blanket, the sugar scenting the very breath coming out of my nose.
So, I may have failed to make chewy caramels, but this caramel sauce recipe is good enough to knock your socks off 😉 And since it’s far too rich on it’s own, it’s perfect over some vanilla ice cream (not that you ever need an excuse for ice-cream, mind you!)
Caramel Sauce Recipe Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup thickened cream
How to Make Caramel Sauce Recipe
1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and water in a pot over medium heat, stirring till the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, giving it an occasional stir, till the mixture has established a deep caramel colour (my sugar thermometer read 160 degrees C at this stage, but go by colour rather than temperature)
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2. Slowly pour in the cream while whisking quickly (the mixture will bubble up quite a bit) and continue stirring till the mixture reaches 125 degrees C (soft ball stage), then remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool down.
3. Leave the mixture to cool for a few hours, then scoop yourself a bowl of ice-cream, drizzle some of your newly made caramel sauce over the top, and enjoy! 🙂
A few tips when working with sugar:
1. Don’t have a food-obsessed dog weaving in and out of your legs when working, this not only acts as a distraction, but a walking hazard that you could easily trip over.
2. Keep a keen eye on the pot of cooked sugar, especially if you happen to have a mother with a penchant for sticking fingers into mysterious pots.
3. Have your ingredients out and ready to work – sugar cooks quickly and leaves little room for forgiveness. And trust me when I say that burnt sugar tastes pretty awful…
4. Pouring sour cream into the sugar instead of whipping cream will leave you with a batch of unusable caramel-colored sludge.
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5. Have a bowl of ice water (with ice cubes on hand), especially if you’re absent-minded like I am and, for example, apt to put the spoon that was stirring the mixture into your mouth! (by the way, that HURT. The only reason I escaped with my tongue intact was the fact that the spoon had been out of the pot for a little bit before entering my mouth!)