My first try at making caramel sauce didn’t turn out so well. Sure, the sauce tasted ok. But I didn’t cook it long enough to develop that deep caramel flavor.
But sometimes cooking is about trying recipes until you get them right. So I had to try making caramel sauce again.
You know what? The sauce was much better – and easier – the second time around. Below are three tips to make your own caramel sauce good enough to bottle up and give away for the holidays. Make the sauce just before you’re going to give it away though – Simply Recipes says it will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator:
- Don’t stir or swirl the sugar water. When heating the water and sugar together – the first step in caramel sauce-making – don’t stir the mixture. If you do, sugar crystals will develop around the sugar water. Nigella Lawson says it’s ok to swirl the water in the pot. But when I did this to my first batch of caramel, sugar crystals still grew in the same spot. So don’t move the pot at all – just let the sugar water do its thing.
- Don’t worry so much about burning the mixture. After the sugar has dissolved in the water, the mixture is boiled until it turns a dark caramel color. But like I said in my previous post, the mixture can also burn quickly. I was so worried about burning the caramel that I pulled the sugar water off the burner much too soon. So I let my nose guide me the second time. As long as I didn’t smell anything burning, I knew it was ok to let the sugar water cook longer.
- Let the caramel sit before serving. The final steps in making caramel sauce are to pull the caramel-colored liquid away from the heat, add the cream, and then stir the mixture over low heat until it is smooth. The sauce will be very runny at this point. But if you pour the mixture in a bowl and let it cool, it will thicken into a rich sauce. (Side note: I never knew caramel sauce was so rich! Obviously I’ve eaten too much fat-free caramel ice cream topping in my lifetime.)