05 March 2013

Salted Caramel Sauce

I needed caramel sauce for another post/recipe for later this week and decided I would be brave and make my own. I have made it before using heavy cream, but didn't have any on hand. So, what to do?! No worries, I found this recipe for DIY Caramel Sauce at Confession of a Bright-eyed Baker and it only uses sugar, milk, and sea salt. Say What? That's right only three ingredients!!!

The hardest part of making this caramel sauce is making sure it doesn't burn! But, as a warning make sure you are careful not to splash or spill any of it on yourself while making, sugar melts at 320° and will hurt pretty badly if you aren't careful (don't ask me how I know this).

What you will need:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (make sure it is at least a 2% milk fat content)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt (for a more "salted caramel" use 1/2 tsp)
What you need to do (read through completely before starting):
  1. Place sugar in a large heavy bottomed pot, shaking it so it is in an even layer. Place the pot over medium-low heat (This scared me and I actually tried to do it as a double boiler first, so I wouldn't end up with burnt sugar. Don't do it. The sugar won't get hot enough to melt). Set a timer for 8 minutes and let the sugar heat up. Check on the sugar once the 8 minutes are up. It should look pretty much the same. Set the timer for another 8 minutes, I promise something does happen this time! Now you want to keep a close eye on your sugar. Around the end of this 8 minutes, it will start to melt and liquefy.
  2. At this time you want to make sure your milk is all ready! You don't want to burn your sugar, because you have to heat up your milk... So microwave your milk for one minute in a microwave safe bowl and have it ready and next to the stove. You also will want to have a trivet ready to for your pan of hot sugar and a heat safe spatula or spoon.
  3. You will start to smell the sugar heating up and melting before you see it. It will begin to appear light brown and translucent in some spots. As soon as you see liquefied sugar, you want to take your heat safe spatula and carefully scoop the melted sugar over the non-melted sugar. Essentially, you are making sure the already melted sugar doesn't burn and are moving it out of the way, so the rest of the sugar can melt... Continue to do this until all the sugar is completely melted, stirring gently until all the lumps are completely dissolved and the sugar has turned a rusty golden brown color. 
  4. When the caramel is the right color, you want to move it from the burner (leave the burner on) onto the trivet and quickly stir in half of the warm milk. Now this will do funny things to your melted sugar, and honestly you will be wondering if you just ruined your caramel, but I promise it will turn out OK. Also, this is where I splashed hot caramel on myself, so please be careful. When you pour in the milk, your melted sugar will bubble and steam, a lot. I mean a lot. It will cool down the sugar and make it get hard and weird candy looking glob. It's OK, just continue to try and keep the caramel moving while you are stirring in the milk. Then stir in the rest of the milk. 
  5. You will have hardened caramel on the sides of your pan, and it may look weird and lumpy, it's OK. Return the pan to the medium-low stove burner and stir. When the caramel starts to melt you will be able to carefully scrape the sides of the pan. Continue to stir until all the lumps are melted, it will take about 5 - 10 minutes, so be patient. Your caramel will thicken as it cools, so do not cook it too long! 15 minutes tops after it is all melted. 
  6. Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the sea salt. Pour your caramel into a heat proof container (if using glass, put something metal in it to prevent shattering). I used a glass Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Cover and place in the refrigerator, letting it cool and thicken, Keep the caramel stored in the refrigerator.
Yield 1-1 1/4 cups caramel.

Enjoy your caramel!! And check back tomorrow to see what we're putting it on!!!

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