Prep 5 mins
Cook 30 mins
An authentic caramel sauce worthy of the finest deserts.
- 2 cups sugar
- 3⁄4 cup water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 cup boiling water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 (12 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- Also need: instant read thermometer, pastry brush and a small bowl of cold water In a heavy 2 quart sauce pan combine sugar and 1/2 cup of water, cover with a snug fitting lid and heat over med-low stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
- Once sugar has dissolved, brush down inside of pan with pastry brush and water to remove any traces of sugar from the sides of the pan.
- Remove lid from pan and increase heat to med-high.
- Do not stir mixture at this point.
- Mixture will boil until all water has evaporated, use pastry brush and cold water to keep the inside of the pan clean of any splashes.
- The danger here is that sugar will crystallize on the sides of the pan and set off a chain reaction that will crystallize the entire pot.
- Have a second pot of water boiling and your 1/4 cup measure with salt in it all ready to go as you'll need to work fast once the sugar has reached the desired temperature.
- Adjust heat so mixture is boiling gently, slowly raising heat to raise temperature of the sugar syrup.
- Boil mixture until it reaches 315°F.
- for a light caramel, 330°F.
- for a medium, 345°F.
- for a dark caramel.
- You can go as high as 360°F for a very dark and nutty tasting caramel, however it's a bit too much for the average caramel eater.
- Once caramel has reached the desired temperature immediately remove from heat as the temperature will continue to rise very rapidly, put on some heavy gloves, point pan away from you, or anyone else for that matter, and pour in the 1/4 cup of water mixed with the pinch of salt.
- This exciting step arrests the cooking and keeps the sugar from solidifying.
- The mixture will splatter for a few seconds then subside.
- I like to set the pan on the edge of a burner so it's tilted away, hold the lid with one hand, pour the water with the other and cover it FAST!
- When mixture cools to 220°F add the condensed milk and vanilla extract.
- Stir over a low heat until well combined.
- Pour mixture into your serving container (I use small, wide mouth mason jars) and fill pan with boiling water and return to stove.
- Allow it and your tools to boil for a few minutes and your clean-up will be a snap.
- Once you get the hang of it there will be just a couple splatters to clean up and you you'll be able to tell the temperature of the mixture by looking at the color.
- Store in the refrigerator. I've kept a single batch for three months-- it may last longer.
This tastes so awesome! Everybody in my house loves it.