"Classic" Caramel Sauce
- Serves: 1 cup
- Active Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
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- Success Rating: 100% (?)
Step 1: Caramelizing the Sugar• 1 cup cane sugar*
• 3/4 cup water
NOTE: IF YOU HAVE NOT MADE CARAMEL SAUCE BEFORE, PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL. THE SUGAR IS EXTREMELY HOT AND CAN CAUSE SEVERE BURNS. Read the notes below if you have never made caramel sauce before.
Sugar Note: Most chefs say that only granulated sugar can be successfully caramelized; other sugars — such as brown sugar and unrefined sugar such as cane sugar — contain impurities that can inhibit caramelization. It’s those impurities that can burn before the sugar has time to caramelize. Adding a liquid, such as water, will help to mitigate this problem. That being said, it can be a little tricky when working with sugar, so don’t get frustrated.
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium to low heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sugar caramelizes and turns golden brown. Do not stir the mixture as the sugar heats or it can start to crystallize. Instead, gently tilt and/or swirl the pan side-to-side to ensure the sugar cooks and colors evenly.
Step 2: Adding the Coconut Cream• 1 cup full-fat coconut milk* (1-14 oz can)
Note: Use only the thick coconut cream from the surface of the can. You may find it easier to separate the thick cream from the coconut water by placing the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.
Once the sugar is golden, immediately remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the coconut cream. Wear oven mitts and be very careful. The cold cream will splatter when it hits the hot sugar. The sugar may also clump a bit, but don’t worry, simply keep whisking until the sugar has been fully incorporated into the coconut cream.
At this point, the caramel sauce is ready to be used. If using as is, let cool slightly before using as it is still extremely hot.
Step 3: Adding Additional Flavorings | Optional• 1/2 to 1 tsp fleur de sel*
• 1 to 2 pieces lemon zest
Note: We used fleur de sel salt, but any other quality sea salt should work just fine. The amount used depends on how salty you like your caramel.
The salt and/or lemon zest provides a nice contrast against the sweetness of the caramelized sugar.
Any leftover caramel sauce can be kept in a plastic container or squeeze bottle and stored in the refrigerator for quite a few days.
- by Dawn Thomas
- August 7, 2014
When you caramelize sugar be sure to give it your undivided attention. It can turn from clear liquid to burnt caramel in a matter of seconds. At 350°F it is also very hot and can cause severe burning if it splatters on your skin. Also, make sure your pan and utensils are very clean because any food particles could cause the sugar to crystallize.
To prevent crystallization you can add an interfering agent; just a tiny amount of acid will do, such as cream of tartar or a drop of lemon juice. Don’t be intimidated, even experienced chefs sometimes burn the caramel or have the sugar crystallize.
If you are new to making caramel sauce, it’s a good idea to keep a deep bowl of water with lots of ice in it nearby. If some caramel lands on your hand, immediately put your hand right into the ice bath. It’s also a good idea to wear an oven mitt, especially when adding the coconut cream.