Apples are pretty much a staple in our house. I'm not supposed to eat them (allergic) but I do anyways and just suffer the consequences (hives). The other day Eric mentioned that we should buy caramel for the apples next time we go shopping. Silly boy. I could just make him some then and there.
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, chopped into pieces and room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
Pour the sugar into a heavy bottom saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as the sugar begins to melt. Once it reaches a boil, stop stirring. Occasionally swirl the pan, being careful not to splash any of the liquid--sugar boils hotter than water.
*If you're worried about burning the sugar, you can add 1/2 cup water to the pan at the same time you add the sugar. This helps cook the sugar evenly, however it takes much longer because the water has to evaporate before the sugar can caramelize.
As soon as the liquid turns a dark amber color, stir in the butter. Caramel can burn in an stant so if you're new to making caramel, I recommend using a candy thermometer. When it reaches 350 degrees, add the butter. Beware that the mixture will bubble and foam.
Once the butter is incorporated, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream, continuously stirring. Again, when you add the cream, the mixture will bubble so be careful. Contine to stir until the caramel is smooth. Allow the sauce to cool in the pan for a couple moments then transfer to a glass jar. Let the caramel cool to room temperature then refrigerate.
*Just a note. If your ingredients aren't room temperature, you risk making your caramel sauce seize (harden up) when you add cold cream to hot sugar. I've seen it happen enough times on the TV show Chopped to always make sure my ingredients are room temperature.
If you want, when you add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or any other extract at the same time you add the cream. Love salted caramel? Add 1 tablespoon of flaky sea salt after the cream is incorporated.
So far, Eric hasn't put any caramel on his apples. I have, however, caught him with a spoon in the caramel jar.
More Caramel Recipes:
Sea Salt Caramels
Short-Cut Caramel Sauce