Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A first time for everything....

I have been trying to make new things lately.  I find that sometimes I get in a rut of making the same things over and over.  You've, hopefully, already seen my post on making fresh pasta at home.  For my next first I decided to make a caramel sauce.  It ended up being a really, really good idea!

I have always been a little afraid of cooking sugar.  It is temperamental, it can burn quickly, lots of instructions, and most of all it can burn right through your flesh.  Ok, maybe that last one is a bit of an exageration but I learned from experience that if you do get even the tiniest drop on your skin it burns like a very harsh curse word. 

The idea came when I was thinking about making a banana cream pie but wanted to make it just a little more special. A regular banana cream pie is crust, bananas, pudding and whipped cream or Cool Whip.  Tasty, yes, but a little boring. 

I found this recipe on Pinterest (yes, I am a little addicted) and it seemed easy enough for me to follow.  I will admit the first attempt was NOT successful, I burnt the sugar.  Luckily, I hadn't added any of the other ingredients yet so I only lost the cup of sugar.  I liked this recipe over others because it was simply written, easy to understand, and used ingredients I almost always have in the house.

I don't have a lot of in progress recipes for this one since I was trying to concentrate on not burning the sugar and timing.  Next time I will try to have Mr. Lucky act as photographer.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup sugar 1¼ cups heavy cream ¼ tsp. coarse salt 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter

Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully.  When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently drag the liquified sugar towards the center.  Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, making sure to not over-stir.  

Measure out the heavy cream into a liquid measuring cup, and set aside.  Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color (think the color of an old penny), immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat and let sit 1 minute. 

Carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream.  The mixture will steam and bubble violently.  Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream.  Stir in the salt, vanilla extract, and butter.  If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat. 

I was so glad when this turned out perfect on my second attempt.  Once it had cooled some I added it to my banana cream pie.

This is the only picture I have from the pie but I got the recipe here.  It was quick and simple.  I used Cool Whip for topping because that is what Mr. Lucky likes but one of these days I will do it with whipped cream.  I am not the biggest fan of Cool Whip. 

Please try making this caramel sauce.  It will make your life so much better.  I have been sneaking spoonfuls over the last couple days and last night I had it over some vanilla ice cream.  YUMMY!!!

Talk with you soon!



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