Salted Butter Caramel Sauce


OK Flavoristas, if French Salt Caramels are your thing, this exquisite dessert sauce will make you swoon.  A few weeks back, I stumbled upon David Lebovitz’s, The Perfect Scoop, a glorious book about all things ice cream at my local bookstore, Nonesuch Books.

Lebovitz is a masterful food writer and pastry chef (by way of Chez Panisse) who is currently living, eating and writing in Paris.  He has written several books, but his ice cream book caught my eye.  The photography is really stunning, who knew that ice cream could be so pretty?

This buttery sauce is a snap to prepare and it makes homemade ice cream taste even better.  I actually caught Marco eating spoonfuls of it straight out of the fridge.  His response to being busted, “I can’t help myself, it is sooooooo goooooood!  It tastes just like those fancy caramels you buy at Whole Foods, minus the wrapper and on a spoon.”

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce adapted from The Perfect Scoop

For the uninitiated, homemade caramel can be a bit tricky.  Sugar can go very quickly from a perfect caramel to completely burnt yuck.  I tend to exercise caution; at first sign of smoking, even a little bit, I call it done.  Full attention is required when making caramel so please turn off your cell phone.

6 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. kosher salt

Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium high heat, add sugar and stir frequently until sugar is a golden brown.  Cook’s Note: If you are super observant, you will notice that I forgot to melt the butter before I added the sugar.  It still worked perfectly fine 🙂

As soon as the sugar starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and with caution whisk in 1/2 cup of cream.  It will bubble up like lava.  Be very careful when working with caramel because it is dangerously hot; caramel making is not a task for young children.

Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cream, vanilla and salt.  Let caramel cool just a bit (maybe 20 minutes) before serving.  Refrigerate any leftover sauce.  The sauce can be re-warmed in a microwave.

4 Responses to Salted Butter Caramel Sauce

  1. Dawn June 27, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    I assume the butter is unsalted even though the recipe is SaltedButter Caramel Sauce. Am I correct?

  2. Kimberly June 29, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Thanks for stopping by Dawn. Pastry purists would tell you to go with unsalted butter. I would argue that you should go with whatever butter you have in the house and that it will be just fine. I typically only have unsalted butter in the house when I am working on or planning to make specific recipes, I have interchanged salted and unsalted butter for years with no problems to report.

  3. Ineke December 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    What have I done wrong when the sauce separates?  It was, as you put it, 'bubbling up like lava'.  Can I boil it up again? Thanks!

    • Kimberly January 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      When I have had buttery sauces split on me, I have reheated to boiling and whisked like made to bring the sauce together, So certainly, boil it up again and whisk until smooth. Sorry for the slow response, crazy holidays!

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