A few years ago, my brother Tom was bemoaning spending so much money at Starbucks to simply add caramel sauce to his coffee. I told him it was simple and that if he got me the ingredients, I would show him how. He went out and purchased heavy cream and when he returned home, I started cooking. But I got distracted and when I smelled the burnt sugar, I decided that since it was merely a demo, it didn’t really matter and continued with the recipe. When I was finished, I wondered if the sauce would taste any good. It was amazing. That was my summer of burnt caramel: I made it constantly and drizzled it on coffee ice cream every night (it wasn’t bad on vanilla either.) It’s delicious on Baked Apples too, and a drizzle over Rice Pudding turns an everyday dessert into something very special.
Yield: 2½ cups.
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, without stirring, until it begins to color at the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cook whisking all the while, until the syrup turns deep brown and just begins to smell burnt, about an additional 2 minutes. (The darker the syrup, the deeper the burn, so cook accordingly.)
2. Slowly add the cream, continuing to whisk, until it is completely incorporated.
3. Off heat, add the vanilla extract and salt. Cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)