Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Milk Salted-Caramel Sauce

Caramel is pretty simple to make, and the benefit to making your own is that you can customize it to your taste. Most caramel sauces include heavy cream, but how many people keep heavy cream sitting around all the time? Milk, on the other hand, is a little more common.

For the sugar, I used cane sugar from Florida Crystals. who is sponsoring this post.

Cane sugar is sort of an odd name, because pretty much all the commercial sugar you buy is made from sugar cane. But sugar that's labeled  "Cane Sugar" is usually a different sort of product. It's usually less refined and it retains some of the molasses rather than being pure white.

The cane sugar made by Florida Crystals is a very pale cream color and has a subtle molasses flavor rather than just being just plain sweet like white sugar. It pours and measures just like white sugar and can be used in any recipe that uses white sugar.

I've been using a lot of cane sugar when I make bread, so when the folks at Florida Crystals contacted me, I knew it was a product I could work with.

But this time around I decided to make something that really showcased the sugar.

This sauce doesn't include any corn syrup, so it's more likely to start getting grainy as the sugar re-crystalizes as you store it. You can re-melt it to smooth it out if that happens, but your best bet is to just use it up quickly. It's great on ice cream or drizzled over cake or pie or fruit.

I was particularly fond of this sauce drizzled over some fresh strawberries and topped with some whipped cream.

This recipe makes a pretty small batch - about a half-cup, but since it's so simple to make, you don't need to cook up large vats of it. It's nice hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.

Milk Salted-Caramel Sauce

That's Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, if you're wondering.
1/2 cup Florida Crystals Cane Sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the cane sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pan (use a larger pot than you think you'll need - this will bubble up a lot, and you won't be happy if you have to clean melted sugar off your stove) and cook until the sugar melts and the mixture becomes clear. Continue cooking until it comes to a full boil.

Add the butter and salt (how big of a pinch depends on how "salty" you want your salted caramel. A small pinch will enhance the flavor without it being salty at all. use your own discretion) and stir until the butter melts.

Add the milk and stir until it'x combined. Let it come back to a boil and let it cook for a minute or two. Turn the heat off and add the vanilla extract and stir. If the mixture seems curdled, crank up the heat and let it cook a little longer, stirring as you cook.

The sauce will seem thin when it's hot, but it will thicken considerable as it cools and it will thicken even more if you refrigerate it. If it's not as thick as you like, you can cook it longer to get it to the consistency you like.

Serve hot, warm, tepid, cool, or cold. It's good any way you use it.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

If it's important to you, Florida Crystals are made from US-grown sugar cane, and the cane sugar is available as organic or natural. I used the organic version for this recipe. Check the website for all the varieties.

This post is sponsored by ASR Group/Florida Crystals. All opinions are mine.

Milk Salted-Caramel Sauce on Punk