Sunday, December 20, 2009

All Purpose Caramel Sauce

My kitchen seems to be constantly sticky as I make batch after batch of this stuff for gifts. I've drizzled it over sliced apples and topped those with warm, toasted almonds to create easy caramel apples for a work shin-dig. I've slathered a gift cheesecake with the stuff. On top of brownies, over a banana split...Caramel sauce makes everything better.

Caramel Sauce
makes three 6 ounce jars
3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup water
12 ounces heavy cream
3 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs pure vanilla extract
3 tbs butter

1. Place a two quart pot over medium heat. When warm, add the sugar and water. Stir until well combined.
2. Let the combination simmer but not boil, for 30 minutes or until the sugar looks like a dark, golden amber. Do not stir! Every five minutes, gently swirl the pot around.
3. When the sauce has turned color, turn the heat very low. Add the cream. It will bubble like crazy. Stir very well but do not try to stir in the stuff that has hardened around the sides. This stuff is basically rock candy and will only make your sauce chunky.
4. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Keep stirring until well combined.
5. Remove from heat. Over a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, strain the sauce using a fine-mesh sieve. Stir the butter into the bowl until melted.
If you are giving these away as gifts, you can put the sauce into the small glass canning jars and a) run them through a hot water bath to make the lid pop down for presentation purposes or b) just put the lid on because it has to go into the fridge either way.
For home use, I just stick it in a squeeze bottle and try to keep myself away from the apples.
This sauce will keep for about a month well-refrigerated.

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