Monday, August 27, 2012

Salted Caramel Sauce – Take That, Hot Fudge!

It may be blasphemy to say that hot fudge isn’t the ultimate warm ice cream topping, but after tasting this amazing salted caramel sauce, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. 

Hot fudge has a lot going for it – namely it’s hot and it’s fudge – but the way this complex, salty, slightly bittersweet caramel marries with the vanilla ice cream is a wonder to behold. Actually, I just had a thought…next time let’s use both!

The procedure couldn’t be easier, but you really should be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pot, and one that’s plenty big enough. As you’ll see, the sugar can really bubble up and over, and will make a sticky mess of biblical proportions.

Also, be extremely careful not to drip, spill, or splash any of the caramelized sugar on your skin. We’re talking instant 3rd degree burns. In fact, if you’re kind of clumsy, maybe it’s best not to take a chance, and just have the kids make it for you.

I know some of you will want an exact temperature for knowing when to turn off the heat and add the butter and cream, but I don’t have one. I’ve always gone by look and feel, and I’m not changing at this late age. Having said that, I'm sure there are a thousand links where you can get that kind of information.

Anyway, I really hope you put this on your culinary bucket list. Homemade salted caramel sauce is one of those things we all need to experience before heading to that big ice cream parlor in the sky. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 1 1/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup white sugar
5 tbsp butter, cut in slices
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream (*Sorry, don’t ask me about substitutions. This needs cream!)
sea salt to taste (any salt works)

View the complete recipe

58 comments:

Yaya said...

Chef, you forgot to add the cream in the video!

Chef John said...

You may want to watch again! ;) (I believe you'll see a whole bunch of cream get poured in around 3:00)

JadedOne said...

I think this would make a very sexy Christmas gift (get your mind out of the gutter Chef John ;)). If I were to make this for gifts, I assume this would go in the fridge? Would the sauce not be as gooey afterwards? How long would this keep in the fridge?

LibStre said...

Hi Chef John--Do we have to worry about the whisk scratching the bottom of the pan? Thank you for the recipe and technique lesson. Looking forward to preparing this recipe.

Anonymous said...

How long will this keep? Does it need to be kept cool or is it fine at room temperature?

CGCouture said...

This looks amazing, and I think this will be perfect for my hubby's birthday. A couple of questions though:

1) Where do you store it? In the fridge or on the counter?
2) How long does it keep for?
3) How many times can it be reheated before it gets nasty?

Orum said...

How long approximately from the time it's finished cooking (everything is combined) to the time it's ready to be served?

PS. Amazing video once again!

Anonymous said...

this is super cool. i thought caramel was very complicated to make with a million ingredients...I am going to make this and so is my mother! Thanks alot!

Anonymous said...

Chef John-do I have to be careful during the cooking process about the caramelized sugar coming into contact with non-dissolved sugar granules that may be remaining on the sides of the pot? I have heard that if the caramelized sugar comes into contact with any sugar granules lurking on the sides of the pot, such causes the caramel sauce to crystalize, ruining the sauce.

I love caramelized sauce! However, this does make my mind transgress towards bananas foster.

Chibby said...

Too full of sushi to walk safeway to buy heavy cream....maybe tomorrow:)

Anonymous said...

Looks yummers Chef,

what does the salt do? does it make a big differance if i didnt add the salt?

Anonymous said...

Does this need to be stored in the fridge? How long will it last?

Anonymous said...

Looks great! If we store it in a jar should it go in the fridge or just stay on the counter? And also, how long will it stay good for after making it? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

does this need to be refrigerated? or is it ok to leave at room temp?

Daniel Arsenault said...

We do a similar recipe. We use Fleur de Sel and a splash of Pineau des Charentes. It's heavenly sinful even on a toast (with a black espresso) !

It's ALL about the salt in my opinion. Otherwise, it's sweet without any nuances.

No need to put it in the fridge. You'll likely have none left by the following morning anyways. But seriously, We keep ours for weeks in the pantry.

Chef John said...

Just store in plastic or glass, and keep in fridge. It lasts a loooong time.

just nuke to reheat, or slowly heat in pan.

sorry, can't answer questions re: taste! try it and see!

also, not too concerned about sugar crystals...don't over think this! what u saw is what you'll get. easy stuff

Mads Schmidt said...

Also try adding even weirder stuff ;-)

I've been adding hotsauce, Hoisin sauce and ginger in caramel sauces, in separate batches of course...

Caramel sauce is really the perfect recipient of flavour ;-)

Woodie said...

There shouldnt be the problem of crystallization, 'cause when the sugara caramelizes, it breaks down(literally), forming mono-saccharides as a by-product which get in between(literally again) the disaccharides that might want to form new crystals.

I guess all the fat and especially the lactose(a "sugar" itself, but none that wants to tangle up with saccharose) do their part, too.


I have to say that I would add some more cream, so that I could use the sauce cold, too.
In the video, it looks far to solid for me, once it's cooled.

Oh, and you know what?
A REAL simple caramel-sauce would be caramel+water- pure caramel flavour :D
(btw: Did anyone notice, how Chef John spared us the ugly sight of a fluid hitting the caramel? There was a fast cut, because it tends to just solidify and remelt slowly. Looks fascinating but isn't the prettiest thing in the kitchen- and neither the most unscary(Oh no, it's screwed- oh, it's not... phew))

Bob Walters said...

One of my boxes of fleur de sel was harvested by Alban Mouret and the other by Christian Carrel. I can't taste any difference. Which should I use?

Just kidding.

It's nice to see someone else who isn't afraid to caramelize sugar without adding water to start.

Valerie said...

How many recipe duplications can you make, and still keep it manageable? Double, triple, etc. I want to make some jarred gifts, and sizing up the recipe would be helpful.

Chef John said...

yes, you can double, triple, just make sure you pot is big enough!

Chris K. said...

So would this work with pork belly?

Chef John said...

Would this work with pork belly?!?! I'm insulted by your question. ;)

Tomas said...

That's one for the coming weekend !

By the way: 'Fleur de sel' in english is (literal translation) 'flower of salt'.
Seasalt on the other hand in french is 'Sel de la mer'..

thanks !

Madonna said...

What is the brand name of the pot you are using? Also what is the size?

Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you share with us.My recipe box has expanded significantly since I found you.

Rita said...

oh, wow! i'm not really into caramel sauce/topppings, but this is catching my attention. a must try!

by the way, we can add some liqueur in it, right? i'm thinking of stroh 80 rum.

Copy Puppy said...

yum yum!! As a child, my first ever cooking project was making caramel (it usually ended up like a bulto though!)
I always have and will be a huge caramel enthusiast ;-) Thank you so much for this excellent recipe!

Yosua Mahardika Putra said...

Chef John,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! That being said, how do you stop yourself from licking your cooking utensils? I cannot stop myself rom licking my wooden spatula and I need to stop before my family wake up. Help!

Jesse Marques said...

Hey Chef John!
I was wondering if light cream would work for this recipe? And love you videos and recipes I make your stuff all the time with my own twists!

Chibby said...

Ghadzooks,I cooked it a minute too long,but it still turned out pretty good.Kind of reminded me of the english toffee my ma makes every christmas time.Mmmm burned sugar:)

Annie said...

Chibby, I had exactly the same result. Let it get too brown and it's toffee flavor (yuck(
so I made a second batch, and let it just get slightly golden (lower heat) and it's perfect. Great, so easy!

Yoshi Blue said...

Caramel is a great alternative to hot fudge. Thanks for the words of caution.

labenoit said...

OK. I made 2 batches and they both turned into a combination of hard candy and thin-ish sauce. Both were delicious, but definitely not like yours! It seemed to solidify as soon as I added the cream. Should the cream be at room temperature? Did I not mix it enough? Well, actually, I couldn't have mixed it any more once it became candy! But the kids and grandkids had no complaints...

Kristofer Kristensen said...

You have really perfected the videos, Chef. Amazing sense of humor and spot-on delivery. I'm making your beef stock right now. Thanks for doing these!

Dave F said...

Chef John,
I made this wonderful recipe one day, and couldn't wait to try it on some ice cream. When I did put it on, though, after the first or second delicious bite it started to harden. While it still tastes amazing hard or soft, how can I keep the consistency smooth on cold items?

firenzemom said...

This is great. I love the step by step and now I understand where I have always gone wrong. I am thinking of using this to make caramel salted Apples.

Chris said...

Your damn straight this was on my bucket list. I had a salted caramel on a bacon gelato this summer that was the best dessert I have ever tasted. I can't wait to give this a shot.

PS: Got a bacon gelato recipe up your sleeve?

Anonymous said...

I burnt the sugar....

Krista said...

Medium high heat was a little hot on my stove. It went from melted to smoking in seconds. I will certainly have to be quicker next time or try a lower heat. There was a slight bitterness to the end result because I let it go to far, but it still tasted pretty good. Actually, it kind of reminded me of the See's butterscotch flavored sucker. I'm sure this will be amazing next time when I do it correctly!

fluxdon said...

Hi Chef John, favorite food blogger :)
I would like to make the caramel sauce, and your chocolate sauce in advance the day before my birthday, do/can I reheat them and how should I go about that?

Keep up the good work chef

Gastro greetings from Denmark :)

Chef John said...

just put the jar or bowl in a shallow pan of hot, almost simmer water and it will warm up nicely. Or microwave on low til hot.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so maybe silly question...but where did that fun wisk come from? I've looked and can't find em!

Justine M√ľnch said...

Hey Chef John

I just made a parfait from your caramelsauce - it's amazing. Thank you for sharing this :)

Anonymous said...

Burnt mine too... :0( Medium heat is better on mine. Hard way to find out. Went from melting to burnt. Gas is diffent from electric I guess. Just beware!!! Made again and bingo!

Sherri said...

Speaking of hot fudge! You mentioned that you might make a hot fudge video on the chocolate sauce video. Think you'll be getting around to showing us a recipe?

alfred said...

I like waffles! In fact, I love waffles, with fruit topping, with whipped cream, with jam, with bacon baked into the waffle (waffle irons do a great job of cooking the meat right along with the batter). Best of all, I love the simple taste of waffles with butter and Maple syrup!

Caramel Glaze

Unknown said...

I just made my second batch of this caramel sauce. It is amazing, it taste just like a Werthers,I gave away 7 pints for Christmas so I had to make some for my own use. Thank you for the video,it really helped to the cooking process.I doubled the ingredients and it yielded almost a quart jar of sauce.

Dela Hashim said...

Chef John, how do I store them? Does it need to be in refrigerator or on room temperature?

Chef John said...

Probably lasts longer in the fridge, but not sure how long. Would probably crystallize before it went bad I think.

kathyvill said...

Hot fudge for me is overrated. I'm super addicted to caramel sundae!! I totally agree to this being the ultimate warm ice cream topping

Scott Leddy said...

Hey Chef John. LOVE your blog -you've taught me so much I can't begin to thank you. Wondering if you've ever tried this caramel sauce in a hot/sweet pairing. On a whim tonight I made this sauce and then divided it in two - one half with a teaspoon of red pepper flake and the other with 2 teaspoons of hot curry powder. I spooned a generous helping of each over a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream and my wife and I were blown away. Such complex flavor. Curious if you've ever given this a go.

Chef John said...

no, but sounds great!

JMP said...

Don't worry about how long it keeps.
In my house it's measured in minutes!

vampire said...

A small piece of information:
the amount of cream depends on the concept of adding 1 part liquid to 1 part fat (volume),, means, when substituting cream with milk,, milk fat content is less than cream so more butter is needed in that case, now how much liquid and butter will determine how thick or loose the caramel sauce would be.

Chef john,, im a huge fan and done dozens of your recipes with amazing results,, im selling brownies based on your simple recipe with a tweak.
Thank you chef john

Kai said...

I made this today and I have to say it came out gorgeous and paired well as the filling for your Macaron recipe! Thanks so much Chef John! I'm a huge fan and every one of your recipes that I've used came out absolutely fantastic and were a great hit with my family!

Eka Nova said...

hello chef john! first in first I would like to say that I adore you so much.. I just made this caramel sauce today but it becomes super grainy.. can you help me? what do I did wrong with the sauce? and is there a way to fix,it? thanks ;)

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure. I would have to see you make it.

Akash Ramsaroop said...

Thanks Chef John! This is soooo good! I poured this over some warm banana fritters. Delicious!!!