Friday, April 19, 2013

Salted Caramel Sauce

Apparently I'm a freak for caramel + salt because I've already made salty caramels and salty caramel ice cream and I still felt the need to make this salted caramel sauce. I'd say somebody stop me, but please don't. Clearly salt and caramel are the Burt and Ernie of the dessert world. And just like Burt and Ernie, this sauce will send you to your happy place and make you feel like a kid again. Or maybe that's just me (I can't help it, every time Burt gets suckered by Ernie all seems right with the world).

Yield: 2 cups

2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

1.      Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan, with a capacity of at least 2 or 3 quarts. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You'll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, but that's okay. Just keep whisking and as it continues to cook, they will melt back down.
2.      Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks.
3.      Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. If you are using an instant-read thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 350º F.
4.      As soon as the caramel reaches 350º F, add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.
5.      Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the fleur de sel. Slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously.
6.      Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce.
7.      Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar and let cool to room temperature. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 weeks. Warm the sauce up before using.

sugar (starting to get clumpy)
sugar getting even clumpier

I have to admit, I didn't give my sugar the attention I should
have because I was cooking something else at the same too. If
you whisk continuously, yours probably won't get quite as clumpy.
sugar get very melty
caramelized sugar
adding the butter
butter mostly melted
butter whisked in until smooth
cream added

I can't account for the color change here. I would
have thought adding cream would have made it lighter,
but instead it got a little darker.
adding the salt

The original recipe called for the salt to be added after the
cream, but I re-ordered the recipe because the salt doesn't melt
and I wasn't crazy about the crunchy chunks of salt in the sauce.
salted caramel sauce

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