A Classic Caramel Sauce is a very simple thing to make other simple things special.

An apple dip, a coffee sweetener, or an ice cream topping.

Simple churros or plain cake, or waffles become a fancy dessert with a dollop of cream and a caramel sauce swirl.

Caramel is the new chocolate. Well, for today.

Classic Caramel Sauce with waffles

What makes this Caramel Sauce classic?

Sugar, cream, butter, a bit of salt for balance.  Now you are ready for anything.

It’s a sauce, a dip, a garnish.  Bake it in a Cheesecake or Apple Pie.

Caramel sauce on Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Classic Caramel Sauce. (click on image to view recipe)

What makes it not butterscotch?

By using granulated sugar instead of brown sugar keeps it lighter in colour and taste, and more butter is used for Butterscotch sauce. 

By the way, there is no scotch in butterscotch.  At least that’s not where the word comes from.

As a candy, caramels tend to be soft and butterscotch candies are hard candies.

(This recipe does not have the correct ratio of ingredients to make Caramel candy.)

Caramel Sauce plate design
Carrot Cake on Caramel sauce

How to Make A Classic Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS

Makes about 1½ cups (375mL)

Prep Time – 10 minutes

Cook Time – 10 minutes

  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup (250mL) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract optional
Caramel sauce ingredients

Always be very careful when cooking sugar.  It is the hottest thing after lava.

Make sure you have space to move around and if you have to move the pot of caramel sauce, know where you are going to go and move carefully.

A kid and animal free area is recommended.

 

1.Heat the cream in a small pot or microwave. It doesn’t have to be piping hot, so don’t risk boiling over.  It is just to reduce sputtering. Cold cream will cause a lot of steam and sputtering.

Have it near the stove, ready to be added.

2. Place the sugar and water in a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan on medium high. The water helps the sugar to dissolve faster and then the water will evaporate, and you won’t have to stare at it wondering if it is going to burn before it starts to melt.

3.Bring to a boil until it turns light amber, which will be about 5 minutes.

Watch very carefully because it will get to that caramel colour quickly from there, and it will get a bit darker within seconds once it starts to change.

Add the water to the sugar
The sugar starts to melt
The sugar starts to change
The sugar turns amber

4. Carefully, gradually and consistently pour in the heated cream.  Be careful it will steam

Stir.

It might clump a bit, but the sugar will dissolve.

5. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt.

Carefully add hot cream
The caramel sauce bubbles up
Cooking Caramel Sauce
Caramel sauce thickens

6. Add the butter, stirring as it melts and is incorporated, then add the vanilla. I have also used brandy extract.

Keep refrigerated up to two weeks.  

You can also freeze this.

Stir in the butter
Add extract to Caramel Sauce

Classic Caramel Sauce

A very simple thing to make other simple things special.  An apple dip, a coffee sweetener, or an ice cream topping.

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 10 minutes

  Makes: about 1½ cups (375mL)

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar

  • 2 Tbsp water

  • 1 cup (250mL) heavy whipping cream

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla or other extract, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the cream in a small pot or microwave.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan on medium high.
  3. Bring to a boil until it turns a light amber.  Watch very carefully because it will get to that caramel colour quickly from there.
  4. Carefully pour in the heated cream.  Be careful it will steam.  Stir.  It might clump a bit, but the sugar will dissolve.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt.
  6. Add the butter, stirring as it melts and is incorporated, then add any flavour extracts.  

Keep refrigerated up to two weeks.  

You can also freeze this