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Caramel Sauce

(recipe, Matthew Amster-Burton)

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Serve this reliable sauce over homemade vanilla ice cream or panna cotta.


  1. 1 cup white sugar or organic evaporated cane juice
  2. 1 cup heavy cream (preferably non-ultra-pasteurized)


  1. Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. (Do not use a nonstick pan.) After several minutes, you'll see clear patches of melted sugar beginning to appear. Continue heating until about half the sugar is melted. Stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until all the sugar is melted and the caramel is deep golden-brown.
  2. Meanwhile, heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Cover and remove from heat.
  3. While whisking the caramel vigorously, add about 2 tablespoons (a small splash) of cream. The mixture will bubble and sputter. Continue whisking and adding the cream in a steady stream until all the cream is added and the mixture is mostly free of lumps. Turn off heat and strain the caramel sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a metal or ceramic bowl.
  4. Use immediately or cool to room temperature and refrigerate in a glass jar. Leftovers may be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.


When making caramel, don't use a large pot that hangs way over the edge of the burner. The sugar around the edge won't melt well. You can add a little coarse salt and vanilla extract to the cooling sauce if you like; the salt balances the flavors and the vanilla adds complexity. Attain caramel mastery after reading Matthew Amster-Burton's column on cooked sugar.