When I need caramel sauce as an ingredient in frosting or in baking, I prefer to use homemade because the flavor is more pronounced and comes through better in the finished product. It is wonderful as a garnish on top of ice cream or cake, and I’ve successfully added it to frosting to make caramel buttercream, and to Amish Friendship bread, which I’ll be posting the recipe for tomorrow. And since it’s so useful and beloved in our home, my recipe makes a rather large batch so I always have some in the refrigerator, but if you only need enough to garnish ice cream, you might want to halve the recipe. Then again, this stuff will last months in the refrigerator so it wouldn’t hurt to have too much. Who knows what delicious creativity it might spawn in your kitchen!
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt*
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes*
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Measure sugar into a large saucepan and measure corn syrup over the top. Set the heat to medium-high.
When the corn syrup starts to bubble around the edges, stir with a spoon or silicone spatula.
Allow to sit again without stirring until it starts melting around the edges.
Stir infrequently until the sugar really starts melting, then begin to stir constantly.
When the sugar is completely dissolved and deep amber in color, remove from heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and butter. The mixture will bubble up a lot.
When completely combined, add the whipping cream and stir until combined; mixture will bubble up again. Keep stirring until smooth and uniform in color.
Pour into a heat-safe dish and allow to cool to room temperature. Your pot will have a ring of crystallized sugar around it–don’t try to scrape it into the caramel sauce because it will make it grainy–just soak your pan in hot water and it will come right off.
Cover and store in the refrigerator once cool.
*Omit salt from recipe if using salted butter.