It may not be September until tomorrow but I’m embracing fall right now! Huzzah! My favorite time of the year has arrived. Today’s recipe is Homemade Caramel Dipping Sauce. Be sure you make a batch because you’ll need it for next week’s recipe as well. Caramel – delicious, creamy and often elusive, I am on a mission to learn everything there is to know about making it. I had made caramel twice before this week and I still have some in the fridge from those batches. One was made using the wet method and one with the dry. Both are lovely but the dry method definitely produces a darker caramel and some will find the bittersweet taste not to their liking.
I made four different batches of caramel last night, threw away two, and learned a lot. 1) Don’t stir if you’re using the wet method. Other places said it was fine to stir before it started boiling but mine splashed and crystallized on the sides. It tastes great but the texture is grainy which is not nice. 2) Dry method works but so far in my experience by the time it melts it’s fairly dark already. Not a problem if you like it that way. 3) There is no standard ratio for butter and cream. More research will be needed to decide for myself where I stand. For this recipe I used more cream and less butter for a thinner sauce that stays pour-able straight from the fridge.
A few tips from my hours of experimenting so far. I settled on the wet method for my Homemade Caramel Dipping Sauce.
Have everything you need clean, ready and at your fingertips. Your caramel will burn while you search for that whisk someone lovingly put away for you in the wrong place.
Once you have the sugar and water in the pan turn that burner on medium and walk away! Ok, don’t actually walk away but leave that pan alone. Mine worked perfectly when I just let it do it’s thing and didn’t stir or brush the edges or anything else.
Use a 2-3 quart sauce pan. When you add the cream it will boil up and you want space to contain that. It will also steam all over your hand that is whisking so you might want an oven mitt. Don’t have kids or pets underfoot if possible!
The deeper the color of the sugar when you stop the caramelizing, the better flavor you will get. Resist the urge to call it when it’s merely amber. It will be sweet without much flavor. I aim for a copper penny color for a “richer more satisfying flavor profile.” <—- (10 points if you can name that quote)
Lastly do NOT be a complete idiot like me and dip your finger in to test it. Like, seriously I can’t even believe I did that. Somehow I walked away with only a minor burn from that moment of insanity but I learned my lesson.
If you like flavoring in your caramel add it after the butter and salt. I’ve tried cinnamon, vanilla and spiced rum so far. All are delicious, but cinnamon is the one that surprised me the most. Perfect for the fall season. Go forth and eat some caramel! Pour it over ice cream, dip apples in it, eat it plain. Whatever floats your boat. Just save a little for next week or better yet, make another batch!
Don’t forget to pin this Homemade Caramel Dipping Sauce recipe or share it with friends who might like it too!Print
Homemade Caramel Dipping Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 1–1/2 Cups 1x
- Category: Dessert
Skip the store bought caramel this fall and make your own! With a little practice you’ll be wowing your friends with your fabulous homemade caramel sauce.
- 1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp (14g) butter (unsalted)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Set out a whisk, an oven mitt and your butter so it can warm to room temp.
- Pour the sugar into a medium sauce pan and gently pour the water over it.
- Swirl the pan a little to combine the sugar and water but be careful not to splash any onto the sides of the pan.
- Turn your burner onto medium heat and let it begin to simmer. Do not stir while it cooks b/c any bits that splash onto the sides of the pan will crystallize. If they fall back into the pan all the sugar will crystallize ruining your caramel or giving you a grainy texture <—– I did this!
- Warm the cream either in a small pan or the microwave.
- Once the sugar starts to boil keep a careful eye on it because it will caramelize fast when it starts!
- When the color of your sugar is a beautiful copper color turn off the heat or take it off the burner and carefully whisk in the cream. It will foam up and create a lot of steam so you might want to hold the whisk with an oven mitt to keep your hands out of it!
- Stir in the butter and salt.
- You can add flavorings of your choice here – vanilla, cinnamon, and spiced rum are a few I’ve tried.
- Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator.
Your sauce will thicken some as it cools, but because of the ratios in this recipe it should still be the right consistency for dipping or pouring straight out of the fridge. If you want it thinner microwave for a few seconds or set the jar in warm water until it loosens up.
Be sure to use a pan that is larger than you need so that there is room for the cream to boil up when they mix.
Be careful! Your sugar will be at least 325F (160C) so wear an oven mitt, use a hot pad, or take whatever precautions you need to make sure you don’t touch it! Don’t be me, I did, I stuck my finger in thoughtlessly – ouch.
Keywords: homemade caramel recipe, caramel dipping sauce, dessert caramel