Creamy Caramel Sauce w/ Vanilla Beans

A few months ago I purchased a large quantity of vanilla beans… at first I was sort of hoarding them, which was silly – so I decided to start incorporating them into my desserts etc. Recently, I added the vanilla beans into a homemade coffee creamer and I was reminded how much I really like the “gourmet” effect that the flecks of vanilla add. After making apple cake after apple cake, I decided to add a caramel topping for a little variety.

This past July, I made several batches of ice cream using recipes from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I was very pleased with the results of all the ice cream recipes that I made and decided that I would try his Caramel Sauce. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, I had to restrain myself from drinking eating the container of caramel sauce as is. It pairs perfectly with the apple cake (especially when both are warm), makes a wonderful topping for ice cream, and a sweet treat for dipping apples. Dare I mention that it would be dreamy swirled into coffee and even better when combined with the Vanilla Bean Creamer. Using 4 ingredients and taking less than 10 minutes start to finish ~ I say, what are you waiting for? Let’s make caramel sauce.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I have a fondness for sugar – aside from eating it, I really enjoy cooking it. I was really excited to make this recipe, especially since I’ve never made caramel sauce before – shocking?! I realize that some people may be slightly intimidated by cooking sugar or have had a bad experience, however,  I think that this recipe is fool-proof/forgiving enough for just about anyone. Just in case, I have included a “mini” picture-tutorial”.  🙂

Step 1:

Spread the sugar evenly on the bottom of a heavy saucepan, heat over medium-low heat until the sugar starts to melt. Which looks like this ~ The edges are starting to liquify and turn an amber (caramel) color.



Step 2:

Stir GENTLY until the the caramel begins to darken and starts to smoke. ~voilá~  (Once I removed it from the heat, it immediately stopped steaming/smoking.)

I don’t have a picture of adding the cream, because I was by myself and had to hold the pan with one hand & whisk with the other.

Creamy {Vanilla Bean} Caramel Sauce – yields 3/4 cup & can be doubled

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c heavy cream/divided – (I suggest allowing it to warm-up a little as opposed to using directly from the refrigerator so there’s not as much of a temperature difference compared to the melted sugar.)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp coarse salt (a pinch)
  • optional: 1 vanilla bean (1 vanilla bean is fine if doubling the recipe) Slice open and scrape the seeds into the cream.

Using a heavy medium-sized saucepan (or large if doubling), spread the sugar on the bottom so that it will melt evenly. Melt over medium-low heat while watching it carefully. (Sugar gets very hot!) When the sugar begins to melt/liquify, use a heat-proof spatula to gently stir so that the sugar melts evenly. As the sugar melts, it will darken to an amber/caramel-colored hue and begin to steam/smoke. Remove from the heat immediately and carefully whisk in 1/2 of the cream; caution – the mixture will bubble-up A LOT! Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved and then whisk in the remaining cream, vanilla & salt. If bits of the caramel harden (mine hardened onto the whisk), whisk the sauce over low heat until it is smooth. Serve warm.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks – and it can be re-heated in the microwave or over low heat on the stove. If need be, it can be thinned by adding a small amount of cream (or milk).

Source: Sightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz




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