Make Homemade Caramel Sauce With 4 Totally Custom Twists

Fact: almost everything is better covered in caramel. And this recipe from our class, The Art of Caramel , is flawless in its most basic form. But when you add bourbon, dark chocolate or espresso into the mix — fireworks. Whip it up next time you're craving a bowl of ice cream, or make a big batch and pour into cute little mason jars for an easy (and tasty!) holiday gift .

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 cup


  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Warm Up the Cream

In a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and keep at a very low simmer.

2. Cook the Sugar

In a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar over medium-high heat. As the mixture cooks, run a damp pastry brush around the pan’s edges to push any stray sugar crystals back into the pot.

Cook for about 7 minutes, until the mixture begins to turn an amber color. If it begins to color in one place only, turn the pan and swirl the mixture to help it color evenly. Don't stir, as this could cause the mixture to crystallize.

3. Add the Cream

Once the sugar mix is evenly amber, turn the heat to medium and start stirring in the hot cream. (The mixture will bubble furiously, so be ready!) Continue to stir until all the cream is added and there are no lumps.

4. Butter It Up

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until completely melted. Then, stir in the vanilla.

Transfer to a bowl to cool completely. Serve warm or cooled.

Spice Things Up

After stirring in the vanilla, add any of these mix-ins for an extra flavorful punch.

Salted Caramel

Add 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or another fine sea salt.

Espresso Caramel

Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon water.

Bourbon Caramel

Stir in 1 tablespoon bourbon.

Dark Chocolate Caramel

Stir in 3 ounces of melted dark chocolate.

Find Your Next Recipe

Make more giftable treats with these mason-jar-ready ideas.

Braised onions may not leap to mind when you think of holiday gifts, but when you pair this recipe from our class, Sweet & Savory Food Gifts, with all the all the makings of French onion soup, it's a game-changer. Just spoon the onions into a jar, seal it tight and include the recipe for French onion soup on the tag. Add a loaf of crusty French bread, some flavorful Gruyere cheese and — bam! — you've got yourself the best food gift ever.
Putting a spin on cranberry chutney takes a holiday classic way over the top with amazing layers of flavor. This recipe from our class, Sweet & Savory Food Gifts, offers surprise ingredients that are sure to wow your main meal. Serve it at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or divvy into mason jars for a delicious food gift your recipient won't soon forget.
Forget the idea that making jam is a complicated, all-day process. This recipe from our class, The From-Scratch Kitchen, is three-steps easy. Plus, it's a prime candidate for gifting. Strawberry Pinot Jam — who wouldn't love that?!

November 09, 2018
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Make Homemade Caramel Sauce With 4 Totally Custom Twists