Closing in on Salted Caramel

We are halfway through the peak of the holiday season – which goes through at least the weekend after Epiphany (January 6th – quite a big deal around these parts).  For the last few weeks I’ve been baking and cooking a lot – usually while hosting – which has slowed down the blogging and food picture-taking.  I completely forget about taking pictures of food when my adorable godsons are around.

I have been working lately with one of those flavors that just stuck with me after this year’s trip: salted caramel.   I love caramel and its relatives butterscotch and dulce de leche in pretty much any form, from the Brach’s butterscotch disk, to the crépes… For dinner with a group of friends, I made a pecan-crusted cheesecake and instead of going with the raved caramel sauce in the recipe, I made a salted caramel sauce from another site.  It was too salty on its own (two teaspoons for about cup and a half worth of caramel), but worked pretty well with the Epi cheesecake recipe.  The recipe yielded a lot of sauce – not that I had any restraint when pouring it over the cake. Everybody thought I was serving flan rather than cheesecake.

Given that I was not completely satisfied with the outcome of my first caramel sauce, I continued the search for the recipe.  I found a blog post that combined the pursuit for the salted caramel with a new thumbprint cookie – providing a shortcut recipe I was not aware of.  Turns out that if you melt soft caramel candies with cream/milk, you get sauce!  I was stoked enough to find those Kraft caramels while grocery shopping yesterday that now I have a squeeze bottle half-filled with caramel sauce sitting in my fridge.

And a happy new year to you too!

This is based in the Baking Royale recipe – which in turn is a take on the recipe on the back of the bag of caramels.

  • 20 unwrapped Kraft caramels
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (added after the caramels were halfway melted)
  • A pinch of sea salt – as small as a pinch can be – added at the very end

As shortcuts go, this one is awesome.  Tastewise, it is as good as caramel gets when the first ingredient in the candy’s list is corn syrup, which is why I doctored it with extra vanilla and salt.  That didn’t stop me from scraping every last bit I could out of the saucepan. However, the sauce should be warmed before using or thinned if you want to use it for fancy squiggly lines. I would use this again as an accent or for personal caramel emergencies, but am still in the lookout for a great recipe.  We’re closing in, but not there yet.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

3 Responses to “Closing in on Salted Caramel”

  1. Jeanne
    January 4, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Salted caramel is something that I haven’t attempted yet. It sounds so good and I can’t wait to see the next recipe that you try!

  2. Adriana
    January 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Thanks for your comment, Jeanne! As soon as I get over my holiday baking/sweets hangover, I will focus on getting the sauce right. Your site is wonderful – I am in awe over your sourdough foccacia!

  3. December 6, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I am looking for a shortcut to salted caramel sauce and was thinking of using the kraft caramels like you state above, though I am wondering if a pinch of salt is really enough for it to taste definitely like “salted” caramel? did you think it did?

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