When I die and go to heaven, I hope that there at least these 2 things there that I can eat... chocolate and salted caramel. I would be a happy camper! Really though, if you have never tasted salted caramel, you MUST try this recipe. You will fall in love with the stuff, just like I did. The recipe is quite simple. The trick is to have everything ready before you start, because you don't want to take your eyes off the caramel once you start cooking it. It can go from perfect to burnt and not so perfect in a matter of seconds.
Easy Salted Caramel (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. light corn syrup (helps reduce crystalization)
6 Tbsp. butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. sea salt
Have all ingredients and everything you need ready and nearby, including glass jar or heat safe container. Since you're working with boiling sugar, your full attention is necessary.
In a medium to large saucepan (use a larger pan that what you might think as the mixture will bubble up at the end) add the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Try not to get mixture on sides of pan.
Boil mixture without stirring for 5-12 minutes, or until it becomes a rich caramel color. Keep a watchful eye, as it turns from light amber to dark caramel color in a matter of seconds. You do not want it to burn.
As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce heat to low, and carefully add in butter and stir until melted and combined. The mixture will bubble up. Next, slowly and carefully add the whipping cream and stir to combine. Again, the mixture will bubble up. Next add the vanilla and salt. The mixture will again bubble up. Whisk or stir until sauce is smooth and combined. Let it boil for another 1 minute.
Pour into glass jar or heat-safe container. Do not scrape sides of pan. Allow to cool uncovered to room temperature, then cover and store in refrigerator. It will thicken and become solid when cool. Before using, zap for a few seconds in the microwave, or leave out at room temperature for an hour or so.
Hint: I add the cooled sauce to my mousse recipe to make salted caramel mousse filling for cakes and cupcakes. You can also drizzle some over top of buttercream or cream cheese icing on cakes or cupcakes. OR you can get a spoon and eat it right out of the jar. (I know this from experience-be careful.)
Pour into glass jar or heat-safe container and allow to cool to room temperature
Cover and store in refrigerator.
Spice cupcake with salted caramel mousse filling, cream cheese icing, and salted caramel drizzled on top.