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Caramel Sauce Using Dry Caramel Method

Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method

There are two different ways to make caramel sauce.  The first is a wet caramel where sugar is melted with water and then cooked to the target temperature.  The second is a dry caramel where sugar is cooked by itself until it liquefies and reaches the target temperature.  This caramel sauce uses the dry caramel method and it stays soft and chewy when poured over ice cream.  It is perfect when paired with my creamy Vanilla Ice Cream

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Ingredients
Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method - Ingredients
Equipment
Warming the Cream
Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method - Heating Cream

Pour the cream into the small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.  Stir the cream frequently to prevent the cream from sticking to the bottom of the pan and from forming a skin.  Additionally, do NOT let the cream boil.  Cream is much more likely to burn if it boils and that does not taste good in caramel.

Once the cream is warmed, remove it from the heat and set it to the side until the sugar is ready.  

Making the Caramel Sauce

While the cream is heating, spread the sugar into an even layer on the bottom of the large saucepan.  Try to use a light-colored pan so it’s easy to see the color of the caramel while melting. 

Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method

Cook the sugar over medium-low heat and watch it carefully.  Depending on the size of the pan, the sugar on the edges and the underside will begin to caramelize before there is a color change on the top layer of sugar.  As soon as you see the edges begin to darken, use a silicone (i.e., heat resistant) spatula to stir the sugar.  This will allow all of the sugar to melt evenly. 

Continue gently stirring until all of the sugar is melted and you have reached a deep amber color or approximately 345°F/170°C (see the picture).  Immediately remove the caramel from the heat and slowly pour approximately half of the cream into the caramel sauce while whisking.  Depending on how long it took for the caramel to melt completely, you might want to re-warm the cream a little before pouring it in.  If the cream is not warm, it will cause the caramel to form hard bits that take a long time to re-melt.  By slowly pouring the cream into the caramel, you can “temper” the caramel and decrease the hardened sugar. 

Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method

Continue gently stirring until all of the sugar is melted and combined with the cream.  Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding the vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.

Serving the Caramel Sauce
Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method

Caramel Sauce is best served when warm.  This thick and rich caramel sauce stays soft and chewy when it’s poured over ice cream, and I’ve been known to just eat it by the spoonful (without any ice cream at all).  It’s absolutely amazing over the top of my Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream or as part of a Banana Split!  Making caramel at home takes a few minutes, but the flavor is sooo much better than store bought. 

Storing and Re-heating Caramel Sauce
Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method

Place any unused caramel in an airtight container (I like repurposing store-bought jam jars) and store in the fridge for up to a month.  The sauce will firm up in the fridge, so it’s necessary to re-warm it before using it.  Use one of the following options to re-warm the Caramel Sauce:

  1. Scoop the desired amount into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the sauce is pourable.  Stir frequently to avoid burning. 
  2. Scoop a small amount of the caramel into a bowl and microwave it for 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring each time after removing it from the microwave.  You can heat the entire jar in the microwave, but it sometimes gets a little grainy if the sauce is reheated many times or if it’s heated too much. 
Caramel Sauce Using the Dry Caramel Method
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Caramel Sauce Using Dry Caramel Method

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 1 cup

Equipment

  • Small saucepan
  • Large, heavy-bottomed (preferably with a light-colored bottom)
  • Silicone spatula
  • Whisk

Ingredients

  • cups (310ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp (1g) salt
  • ½ tsp (2.5g) vanilla extract

Instructions

Warming the Cream

  • Pour the cream into the small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.  Stir the cream frequently to prevent the cream from sticking to the bottom of the pan and from forming a skin.  Additionally, do NOT let the cream boil.  Cream is much more likely to burn if it boils and that does not taste good in caramel.
  • Once the cream is warmed, remove it from the heat and set it to the side until the sugar is ready.  

Making the Caramel Sauce

  • While the cream is heating, spread the sugar into an even layer on the bottom of the large saucepan.  Try to use a pan that is light-colored so it’s easy to see the color of the caramel as it’s melting. 
  • Cook the sugar over medium-low heat and watch it carefully.  Depending on the size of the pan, the sugar on the edges and the underside will begin to caramelize before there is a color change on the top layer of sugar.  As soon as you see the edges begin to darken, use a silicone (i.e., heat resistant) spatula to stir the sugar.  This will allow all of the sugar to melt evenly. 
  • Continue gently stirring until all of the sugar is melted and you have reached a deep amber color or approximately 345°F/170°C.  Immediately remove the caramel from the heat and slowly pour approximately half of the cream into the caramel sauce while whisking. 
  • Depending on how long it took for the caramel to melt completely, you might want to re-warm the cream a little before pouring it in.  If the cream is not warm, it will cause the caramel to form hard bits that take a long time to re-melt.  By slowly pouring the cream into the caramel, you can “temper” the caramel and decrease the hardened sugar. 
  • Continue gently stirring until all of the sugar is melted and combined with the cream.  Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serving the Caramel Sauce

  • Caramel Sauce is best served when warm.  This thick and rich caramel sauce stays soft and chewy when it’s poured over ice cream, and I’ve been known to just eat it by the spoonful (without any ice cream at all). 

Storing and Re-heating Caramel Sauce

  • Place any unused caramel in an airtight container (I like repurposing store-bought jam jars) and store in the fridge for up to a month.  The sauce will firm up in the fridge, so it’s necessary to re-warm it before using it.  Use one of the following options to re-warm the Caramel Sauce:
    Option 1: Scoop the desired amount into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the sauce is pourable.  Stir frequently to avoid burning. 
    Option 2: Scoop a small amount of the caramel into a bowl and microwave it for 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring each time after removing it from the microwave.  You can heat the entire jar in the microwave, but it sometimes gets a little grainy if the sauce is reheated many times or if it’s heated too much. 

Notes

This recipe was adapted from the “Creamy Caramel Sauce” recipe in The Perfect Scoop (Revised) by David Lebovitz. 
Notes
  1. This recipe was adapted from the “Creamy Caramel Sauce” recipe in The Perfect Scoop (Revised) by David Lebovitz. 

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