This makes about six 8 oz. jars of caramel sauce. Great for use in cooking or spreading on toast or drizzling over ice cream or eating straight. If refrigerated and stored in airtight
containers these can last up to 6 months. If it's too thick, 15 seconds in the microwave will soften it right up.
click for a larger image
Before you start, decide where you are going to keep the sauce.
I use canning jars which I wash in hot soapy water. Since this is
caramel and not preserves you don't have to be quite as meticulous
in keeping it sterile since the high sugar content will keep most
bacteria at bay. In fact, I haven't seen any of my caramel sauce
grow anything, but I have seen the butter go stale.
Add the sugar to a heavy sauce pan.
Add the water and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves
Bring the syrup to a boil. This will cause the water to evaporate.
As the water evaporates, the syrup will thicken and increase in
temperature. You will notice this because the bubbles will start
to get bigger and slower. Do not stir the syrup or drop any sugar
crystals into it or you risk crystallizing the entire super-saturated
The syrup will pass through a number of stages which are descriptions
of how the solution behaves when added to cold water. As the concentration
of sugar increases, it goes from thread stage to ball stage to crack
(hard) stage. This picture is probably around a hard thread stage.
Around the crack stage the syrup will start to brown and caramelize
creating deep flavors.
At this stage you can remove the caramel from the heat. If you
let it cool until the syrup flows instead of drips off a spoon you
can make some sugar art. Simply spread out some parchment paper
over a cool surface (like an upside down cookie sheet) and drizzle
the syrup in patterns.
Let the sugar cool and harden and then peel it from the parchment
paper. Store in a dry air-tight container or it will absorb moisture
from the air.
You can skip the sugar art stage or you can reheat the sugar and
continue on. Make sure you have the butter and cream ready before
you get to this point. Once the caramel has started to turn brown,
watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. It will turn from light brown
to dark brown pretty quickly.
The darker it is, the deeper the flavor, but it may become slightly
bitter just before it burns. When the caramel reaches the darkness
you desire, turn off the heat and pour in the cream. Stir until
Return to low heat and mix in the butter until smooth.
While hot, spoon it into the jars and seal them. Let them cool
at room temperature until you hear the lids pop (meaning they've
cooled and created a vaccuum seal) then store them in the fridge
until you're ready to use them.