Been so busy recently have scarcely had time to post. Just got back from taking James to camp 🙁 My chief videographer and dessert innovator. I was in Boston talking salt on Simply Ming. I was in NYC working on confections with Bouchon Bakery head chef Sebastien Rouxel and putting together a pitch for a chef drama with some friends. I came home to find a great new ice cream book from Ohio's own Jeni Britton Bauer! Salt, sweets, ice cream, and an unused photo donna shot for the new book due out in fall: salted-caramel! Of course. Caramel is one of those awesome no brainer dessert sauces that more people ought to do at home. Takes 10 minutes tops, uses inexpensive ingredients, and is easy ( just be sure to use a really big pot because when that cream hits the hot sugar, the water in the cream vaporizes and the volume in the post can rise three times its height. Want it richer? Add some butter before you add the cream. Sebastien and I were talking caramel and he likes to add lemon or passion fruit juice for variety to Bouchon's caramels (add the flavor with cream).
What puts caramel over the top though is the fine salty crunch of some fleur de sel—it both heightens the flavor and balances the sweetness. It also adds an appealing crunch. Salt and caramel are a heavenly pair.
My advice for an awesome long weekend 4th of July dessert? Jeni's vanilla ice cream, in James's chocolate chip cookie bowl, with your own caramel sauce and a sprinkle of fleur de sel or maldon salt.
Basic Caramel Sauce (from Ratio)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 ounces unsalted butter (½ stick, optional)
- 1 cup cream
- Heat the sugar and just enough water to begin dissolving the sugar, a few tablespoons or so, in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.
- When the sugar is dissolved and beginning to brown, stir the sugar or swirl the pan to ensure even cooking. Keep in mind that the sugar is very hot and its burns can be severe.
- When the sugar reaches a beautiful dark amber color, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, if using, followed by the cream. The caramel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month, in a sealed container. When ready to use again, reheat to serve.
If you liked this post on salted caramel sauce, check out these other links:
- My post on making vanilla sugar and its various uses.
- Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio.
- A recipe for making caramel corn from Molly Wizenberg who writes the blog Orangette.
- Vegan strawberry ice cream recipe from David Lebovitz, blogger and author.
- Fat Toad Farm in Vermont makes goat cheese and a goat caramel sauce known as cajeta.
© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved