Battle Royale: Salted Caramel Sauce

22 Sep

I haven’t made any salted caramel sauce for at least two or three weeks now. Typing that makes my soul twinge with a frisson of  sorrow akin to the “standing chill” in Larkin’s Aubade.

Actually, the Larkin reference is particularly appropriate here given that the standing chill felt by his speaker symbolizes man’s response to acknowleding his own mortality. Much like Larkin’s dolorous speaker, I too was forced to acknowledge my own mortality, in that I could not carry on producing such excessive amounts of salted caramel without succumbing to an early death.  A death that likely would have resulted from some dreadful combination of obesity and malnutrition. Thoughts like that can drive one to drink…or eat spoonfuls of salted caramel directly out of the container.

What is more important than my current suite of unhealthy addictions is their catholic nature. I have not one, but two favourite salted caramel recipes, drawn from two equally esteemed sources. The first, which I tend to think of as more of a golden salted caramel filling, comes from Form V Artisan‘s acclaimed brownie recipe. One of its most compelling characteristics is its amenability to admixture with other fattening treats; you can easily melt it together with equal amounts of peanut butter to create human kryptonite: peanut butter salted caramel sauce.

a worthy opponent I do not recommend this tack if you value your life. Or your current clothing size.

The second contender is a darker, more viscous salted butter caramel of European descent, brought to you by the Smitten Kitchen after her love affair with a Parisian varietal. Because it doesn’t contain corn syrup, I suppose that you could argue it is less heavily processed than its opponent. However, given the basic unholy equation of [caramel = ( heat x sugar )+ (butter + cream + salt)],it’s tough to argue that a lack of corn syrup lends the Smitten Kitchen contender any purportedly ‘health-related’ clout in this contest.

However, dear readers, you will have to decide that for yourselves. Without further ado, prepare to confront your own mortality:

Golden Salted Caramel Sauce

boiling the sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or fleur de sel

Instructions

1. Pour sugar evenly into a small saucepan and add the corn syrup and water. Bring the mixture to boil over medium-high heat.

the perfect hue

2. After the mixture begins to boil,  reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce turns a deep amber in colour. Swirl the pan so that the caramel cooks evenly, but resist the temptation to stir! [Consult my baking tips and David Lebovitz’s sage advice for assistance in figuring out when you have achieved the perfect amber hue].

3. Once the mixture has achieved the desired colour, remove the saucepan from the burner and immediately stir in the cream until it has achieved a smooth consistency.  Pour caramel into a heat-proof bowl and stir in vanilla extract and sea salt.

Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp salted butter (the more fanciful & expensive the better)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp room temperature heavy cream.
Instructions

1. Melt the sugar over medium to medium-high heat in a 2-3 quart sauce pan. This time you may stir the sugar so that it melts evenly. How generous of me.

2. One your sugar reaches that dark copper/amber/golden hue,add the butter in one fell swoop, stirring it into the melted sugar.

3. Turn off the stove-top and add the heavy cream. During the first ten seconds or so the addition of the cream will cause the caramel to foam up like an irate and cantankerous rabid dog, but do not fret! Hold your ground and whisk until  the mixture is smooth.

4. Do not sample the caramel until it is cool enough that it won’t burn your mouth. I am well aware that this is a Herculean feat, but strive to conquer your baser instincts.

Both caramel sauces can purportedly be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

I wouldn’t know.

For the sake of your health, please share this with someone.

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