i am a pretty good cook. i am normally confident about trying new recipes because 99% of the time i am successful. i was totally disappointed in myself when i messed up(not once, but TWICE)a simple recipe with only three ingredients.
1 cup of sugar
6 tbs butter
10 tbs heavy cream
how could i mess that up? i dont know, but i did. twice. i googled a bunch of different recipes to try and figure out where i kept going wrong. the following instructions are what i pieced together to make my sauce a success. successful sauce. lol
melt(i think the term "melt" is important. only one recipe mentioned in and i think that is what finally clicked with me) the sugar in a medium sized, heavy sauce pan. all the recipes i read said to heat it on medium high heat, but on my electric stove i put the burner on 3. to me, that is LOW, but it just might be my stove. both times i heated on med/high, i got a mess of crystallized sugar.i hate electric stoves, but you gotta work with what you got, right?
any way, melt the sugar, stirring it regularly. the recipes say 'constantly', but my experience showed me to wait for it to melt a little bit, then start stirring. i walked away several times to allow the sugar to melt a little bit more between stirrings. basically, this is a controlled burn of the sugar. you keep letting it "burn" until it reaches a caramel color. the different recipes i looked at talked about waiting for bubbles around the edge to turn amber or mahogany, but that never worked for me. i just kept melting and stirring and the sugar turned a caramel color. voila!
add the butter-it will get all sizzle-y , so be prepared! once the butter has melted and is completely incorporated, you turn off the heat and then add the heavy cream. really watch out because it really bubbles up. you need to keep stirring, stirring, stirring. i switched to a whisk at this point-not completely necessary, but it made it easier. add about a tsp of vanilla and about a tsp salt(kosher if you have it). i added a pinch more salt- the sweet/salty thing with caramel is especially good.
within a few minutes you will have caramel sauce. beautiful, delicious caramel sauce.
i will never buy the hfcs(high fructose corn syrup)crap again! now that i know what i am doing, i will make this stuff whenever i need caramel sauce. its so good that i sometimes just eat a spoonful of it all about itself. yummy!