Most caramel sauces call for starting with sugar and water in a saucepan, and such recipes instruct you to continuously brush off crystals that form on the inside of the saucepan with a pastry brush to prevent the sugar from recrystallizing. You can avoid this problem by melting the sugar without adding any liquid to it. If you add unnecessary water at the beginning, it must evaporate before the sugar can really turn into a caramel, so adding water also wastes time.
1.25 cups granulated sugar (250 grams if you have a scale)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp bourbon whiskey (optional)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Let the fun begin!
Place the sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat, and stir the sugar occasionally so it doesn’t burn (be very careful not to burn yourself). It should go through the following stages as it heats up toward the 350 degrees F that you want:
The white sugar has started to clump together.
Now you can see it start to liquefy.
The sugar is starting to look more like caramel! It’s liquid with some clumps in it.
Now it’s really starting to smooth out and turn a darker color.
Almost there…just need to get rid of a few more clumps of sugar.
When it reaches 350 degrees F or turns a deep reddish brown color, add the cream, whiskey, and vanilla, and stand back because it will bubble and spatter violently. I caught this photo toward the end of the spattering so my camera wasn’t ruined:
Stir it together for a couple minutes on low heat until it dissolves together and smooths out. The caramel will thicken slightly as it cools. Enjoy your sugary goodness!
I love dipping granny smith apple slices in the caramel, and using it as a sauce for different desserts. I made a French Apple Tart today as well, and instead of brushing it with the traditional mixture of apricot jelly and apple liquer, I brushed it with the caramel. So tasty! Caramel and apples were just meant to be.