- 1 cup Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup) or 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted or salted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons orange liqueur, rum, bourbon, or whiskey (optional)
- Good pinch of fleur de sel
- First, ensure sugar has no impurities. Do not use a scoop that has been previously used and could contain traces of flour or other ingredients.
- Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan. Splash as few sugar crystals onto sides of pan as possible.
- Place pan on stove top over high heat. If using a gas range, turn heat as high as possible without allowing flames to go up sides of pan. Flames on exterior of pan will make syrup burn on the edges.
- Gently stir mixture until it boils. Once it boils check to see if any sugar crystals are stuck to sides of pan. If so, cover pan with a lid for about a minute. Steam will be trapped and any sugar crystals that were stuck to sides will dissolve. If your pan has no lid, you can use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush away sugar crystals. Do not worry about extra water entering mixture as it will evaporate anyway.
- Add corn syrup or lemon juice. Do not stir into syrup, as this will cause syrup to crystallize instead of turning into caramel.
- While syrup is boiling, warm cream to just under the boiling point.
- Continue to boil syrup until it turns a beautiful golden honey caramel and has a rich aroma. If you cook caramel to too light in color, it will not have the deep flavor notes that we so much love in caramel.
- Once caramel has turned the hue of honey, remove pan from heat and pour in hot cream. Mixture will steam and bubble. Whisk in cream using an up and down motion (in and out of pan) vs. a circular motion. This will keep caramel from running over sides of pan. Circular whisking incorporates air that makes caramel very bubbly and consequently makes a huge mess!
- Return pan to low-medium heat to melt down any hard caramel lumps that remain. Add butter and bring caramel back to a boil for about a minute until all butter is melted.
- Strain the caramel sauce through a sieve to remove any hard pieces.
- Mix in vanilla, dash of liqueur of choice (if desired) and pinch of fleur de sel.
- Cool completely to room temperature. Once caramel has cooled, if you want caramel to be slightly more fluid you can add a bit of water or boil a small amount of cream and add it to your caramel.
- Transfer to a glass container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
If you want to add additional flavors to your caramel sauce, Vietnamese cinnamon, instant coffee granules, orange zest, dried ginger, cardamom, cocoa, and almond extract, are all equally delicious.