October is the month for spooky, scary festivities and lots of sweet treats! As an alternative to the bags candy you’re bound to have around the house over the next few weeks, we are taking things up a notch with some homemade dessert options. If you are overwhelmed by the thought of making caramel from scratch, don’t be! It is actually quite simple and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. We have gussied this version up with bourbon and sea salt, but you can omit those ingredients if they aren’t for you.
Bourbon Salted Caramel
Makes: about 2 cups of caramel
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- 4 tbs butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbs of your favorite bourbon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Combine the sugar and water a medium sauce pot. Stir to combine before putting onto the burner.
- Turn your burner onto medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR OR TOUCH THE PAN until the sugar has caramelized. This process will be tedious and you need to keep an eye on the sugar. It will go from being clear to champagne colored before turning light brown. Once it gets to light brown, it can go from light brown to burnt very very quickly. Remove the sugar from the heat and burner when the caramel is just lighter than the coppery color of a penny.
- Turn the burner on to medium-high heat. Then — this is very important — do not stir or touch the pan until the sugar has caramelized. The sugar mixture will go from being completely clear, to a champagne color, to a light golden color, and then to increasingly darker shades of amber. (Keep a close eye on the sugar, as it darkens quickly once it begins to caramelize.) Once the sugar reaches a deep amber color (about the color of a copper penny), remove the saucepan from the heat and turn the burner off.
- Right away after removing the sugar from the heat, add the heavy cream to the sugar in a steady stream, whisking vigorously to incorporate the cream. Don’t be worried when the mixture bubbles like crazy- this is totally normal! When the heavy cream has been added, whisk in the butter until combined. Add in the bourbon, vanilla, and sea salt.
- From here, you can serve immediately hot from the stove or you can let the caramel cool and reserve for another time. The caramel will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and will thicken quite a bit as it chills. If you are planning to refrigerate and use later, heat it for just a few seconds in the microwave to loosen so that you can drizzle easily over ice cream, brownies, or any other dessert of choice!