Monday, June 17, 2013

Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce. Those two words are enough to conjure up childhood memories of Friday visits with my sister to the local candy store and then on to the nearest TCBY shop for some Cotton Candy flavored ice cream dripping with liquid amber deliciousness. Caramel. Sugar never tasted so good. But making it in my own kitchen? I've only ever heard horror stories about burning the sugar time after time and having to scrub the pan clean afterwards with nothing to show for it but an empty bag of sugar and some cracked fingernails. So it came as a surprise when a couple of months ago I made my first attempt at caramel sauce and succeeded. And then tried again this past Friday and was once again met with success and the the most addictively delicious topping to ever grace ice cream. The first time it was made for an engagement party as an accompaniment to chocolate peanut butter ice cream and this time for a "showerette" for a dear friend, as a topping for peanut butter ice cream and cookies and cream ice cream. You're right to think that I couldnt resist. I caved and had some. Yum. This recipe comes from David Lebovitz (only logical to make his sauce to go with his ice creams) and was pretty easy. I did find that the sauce came out pretty thin but when allowed to boil takes on a thicker consistency, and obviously when it cools, it thickens as well. The first time, quite a bit of sugar hardened, the second time less, perhaps because my ingredients were at room temperature. Heat on low while stirring to melt the sugar and smooth out the sauce. Your patience will be rewarded. I served this in a glass soda fountain-ey coca-cola glass to add to the ice cream-parlor look.

Caramel Sauce
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place the sugar into a sturdy saucepan and heat on medium low. Keep a careful eye on the sugar as it begins to melt and caramelize. It will start darkening from the outside and then work its way in. Gently swirl the pan or nudge the sugar around with a spatula to encourage even melting and caramelization. When all the sugar is melted and has turned a lovely amber color, remove from the heat and whisk in half of the cream. Be careful, the mixture will bubble up but just keep stirring. Add the remaining cream, salt and vanilla and whisk to blend. If there are lumps, keep stirring over low heat to melt the sugar and form a uniform sauce. Pour into a storage container and store in the refrigerator. Eat with caution. This stuff is addictive.

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