One of my favorite companions for fresh-picked apples is homemade caramel sauce. In fact, it is my condiment of choice this fall!! It is delicious drizzled on apple slices, apple baked goods and Eckert’s Frozen Custard. You can even stir a bit in to your morning coffee.
My recipe for Autumn Caramel Sauce is made with a few common ingredients. The only challenging part is that it requires your undivided attention for about 25 minutes. Please do not attempt to multi-task. (Hint to moms of young children: I choose to make this recipe AFTER my kids go to bed!)
The first time I made caramel sauce, I burned it. I knew immediately because it didn’t smell right and it took on a dark brown color (see photo). The second time I made it, I took more care to watch my pot and to reduce the heat before any bubbles formed. After about 10 minutes of cooking the sugar, water and honey mixture, it should start to turn golden and produce many clear bubbles as moisture bubbles away. Once the mixture takes on an amber color, 6-8 minutes later, you are ready to add the butter and the cream very slowly. I prefer to do this off the heat and return the pot to low heat for a few minutes more of stirring.
When butter and cream are evenly incorporated and the caramel is a smooth texture, light brown in color, you are all done! Allow the sauce to cool at least 20 minutes before serving. I like to pour it into a jam jar and refrigerate for use within 2 weeks. (If your house is anything like mine, it will be long gone well before that!)
A few caramel-making hints: Use a heavy bottomed saucepan or pot to protect yourself from scorching the caramel. Use a stainless steel pot (not non-stick). Caramel is very hot as it cooks! Use caution when stirring and especially when adding butter and cream later in the recipe. Know your stove and how to control the levels of heat. This recipe requires micro-adjustments to the heat level to manage the bubbling. Do not multitask while making caramel sauce. Soak your dirty dishes in hot water to ease with clean up.
I hope you will find yourself with an uninterrupted half-hour this fall to make my Autumn Caramel Sauce. It is so delicious and well-worth the effort. Eat well this fall, Angie
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon Eckert’s Pure Honey
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Combine sugar, water and honey in a 1 or 1 1/2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir ingredients to combine evenly. Heat saucepan over medium heat, without STIRRING until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 15-18 minutes.
- Important: Do not allow the mixture to boil rapidly, small bubbles are okay but the mixture should not be allowed to produce foamy bubbles. If mixture begins to foam or boil rapidly, remove pan from burner, turn down the heat and/or swirl pan by handle until it stops. Return pan to lower heat and continue heating. You may need to reduce the temperature to low.
- If the sugar mixture starts to color unevenly, swirl the pan to blend but do not stir. Lower the heat to simmer and very slowly* add the cream and butter. With a long heat-proof mixing spoon, stir until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Allow to cool about 20 minutes before serving on Eckert’s baked apples or custard. Makes about 1 cup caramel.
- Caramel can be made ahead, cooled and placed in a covered jar. Use within 2 weeks.
- *Caution: The addition of cream and butter will create hot steam and “boil” toward the top of the pan. Within a few seconds, this steam/boiling will stop.