Homemade caramel sauce requires only 4 ingredients and 15 minutes of your uninterrupted attention. Let me show you the fastest method to make this delicious sweet sauce. Plus, 4 incredible flavors to jazz up your caramel sauce!
2tablespoonsCalvadosor apple brandy/liquor, optional
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan, at least 2.5 quarts, over medium heat.
Then sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar evenly on the bottom of the pan. Slowly melt the sugar over medium heat. (This first stage may seem like taking long time, as you stare at the sugar. But be patient.)
As sugar starts to melt around the edges, you may swirl the pan gently to move the sugar around and encourage it to melt.
When sugar is mostly melted, add another ¼ cup of the sugar and continue to melt it over medium heat. You'll notice the color will start changing to light amber color. NOTE: If you feel like it's getting too dark, yet sugar isn't melted fully, take it off the heat and stir the sugar with a heat-resistant silicone spatula, or wooden spoon to slow down the cooking.
If needed, reduce the heat to medium low.
Continue with the remaining sugar, ¼ cup at a time, and cook until all the sugar is melted and it's dark amber color. NOTE: The sugar will start melting faster as more sugar is melted. Keep swirling the pan to encourage the sugar to move and melt faster, or you can also use a spatula or wooden spoon. See the step by step photos above for visual demonstration.
Remove the pan from the stove and slowly pour in hot cream, while whisking it slowly to combat the rising bubbles. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up furiously. That's why it's important to add cream slowly and use a large enough pan. TIP: Make sure to heat the cream before adding it into the melted sugar, or your caramel will seize up on you. If that happens, return the mixture to a low heat and cook it until the sugar crystals are fully dissolved.
Add butter and coarse sea salt. Whisk the mixture until butter is fully melted.
Transfer the sauce into a jar and cool completely.
To make a chocolate caramel sauce:
Make caramel sauce per recipe and stir in chopped chocolate. Mix until chocolate is fully melted. You can use any kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate adds super rich and deep flavors - perfect for serious chocolate lovers! If you're not a fan of dark chocolate, then use milk chocolate instead.
To make a strawberry caramel sauce:
First, make a strawberry sauce by cooking chopped fresh or frozen strawberries with a little bit of water and lemon juice. Puree until smooth, if desired. Keep it hot, while you make the caramel sauce.
Make caramel sauce per recipe until step 6. Once the sugar is fully melted and reached dark amber color, stir in the prepared strawberry puree.
Then add butter and salt.
If desired, add hot cream for creamy strawberry caramel sauce. It's delicious even without the cream. Step by step photos are included after the recipe card.
To make an apple caramel sauce:
Make caramel sauce per recipe through step 6. Stir in hot unsweetened applesauce, lemon juice and Calvados/apple brandy, optional, into the melted sugar. Mix well.
Stir in hot cream, butter and salt.
Calvados is an apple brandy and it enhances apple flavor beautifully. But if you don't have it, don't worry about it, you can simply omit it in apple caramel sauce.