Ok, now that I’m done plugging our other creations I’ll tell you why I have been dying to make this sauce. Caramel is something that is really special to me. I love the sweet, buttery, slightly salty, chewy texture. One of my first memories of cooking or baking is making Chewy Caramels with my neighbor, Annie. She has taught me a lot about cooking and baking, and probably started my addiction to anything caramel-y. I can remember being small enough that I had to stand on a chair to mix the molten caramel on the stove. I thought that I was a big help to her, but I probably diminished her caramel count by half when we wrapped them in wax paper. I think I like caramel and ice cream together so much because she used to keep those caramels in the freezer so they would stay fresh until Christmas time. When she brought over a box of Christmas cookies to my family, the caramels were usually still frozen in the center, and I liked that.
Jay is not obsessed with caramel like me, and hasn’t really been that interested in making this sauce. So when I found out he was going to Kansas for a few days, I knew I was going to make it.
For this recipe you will need:
1cup heavy cream
2cups muscovado sugar (OR 1cup dark brown sugar AND 1cup light brown sugar – this is what I used)
1/2 a vanilla bean split and seeded (or 1/2T vanilla bean paste)
1/4tsp sea salt
1tsp vanilla extract
Combine 1cup of cream, 2cups sugar, 1/2 vanilla bean (pod and seeds), and 1/4tsp salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the sauce thickens slightly (the recipe suggests 7minutes, but this was too long for me as the caramel hardened when it touched the cold ice cream.)
If you’re not sure about the texture, spoon some onto a plate, and touch it once it has cooled. If the caramel is slightly runny but holds a shape on the plate it is done, but if you can pick up the caramel (kind of like chewy caramels) then it is too hard. After doing some heavy reading about how to salvage caramel that has been cooked too long, and finding nothing other than that it is not possible, I decided to go for it. I added another 1/4cup of cream and cooked it on medium (not boiling) until it was softened. It actually turned out really well.
The most important part when reheating this sauce is to make sure the sugar has been re-dissolved but not boiling it or it will become hard.
Next time I make this Caramel Sauce it will be with muscovado sugar. I find the combo of light and dark brown sugars to be delicious, but it doesn’t have the exact flavor or texture of Jeni’s Praline Sauce.