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For the the love of sugar, happiness and serendipitous occasions.

Salted Caramel Sauce and a giveaway!

When I set out to make chocolate bread pudding last weekend, I knew it had to have a caramel sauce to go with it. Sauces are such a vital part of some dishes, adding an extra element of flavor and texture that brings the entire dish to a completely different level. I’ve made a handful of caramel sauces in my day, though typically as a part of a recipe, and never just to stand alone like this one. I can remember back to the early days of my baking when I couldn’t execute a successful caramel recipe if my life depended on it, either because I didn’t use a thermometer or my nerves won out or I just didn’t have the confidence. Over time, it’s become something I can conquer easily, a simple element that multiples flavor like nothing else.

What I love most about caramel recipes is that they are all so similar – there is a technique you must understand and master in order to make it right – much like the creaming method for cookies and cakes, or how to properly pipe frosting or temper chocolate. There are so many elemnts of baking that require patience and precision, and the exact combination of ingredients or steps to make them right, and that is what I so love about it. Baking is scientific and it is finnicky and it can make a fool out of you, but if you do it right, there is no more rewarding feeling.

This recipe is a foolproof one, and the sprinkle of fleur de sel at the end intensifies the flavor, making it something magical, and a sheer delight to eat. It’s thin and silky when you finish cooking it, but firms up quite a lot when it cools, so to use it as a sauce, it needs a few seconds in the microwave to loosen up.

Kevin might deny it, but I saw him stick a finger right into the jar the day I brought it home. He wasn’t fortunate enough to get to experience the bread pudding and sauce straight out of the oven, but there’s still plenty of caramel left for enjoying. He’s not the only one with a penchant for this sweet stuff either… I had to hide it in the fridge from myself! Out of sight is out of mind, right?!

This is a sweet, silky, salty delight. I can see this being drizzled over a bowl of ice cream, whipped into frostings to cover a cupcake, or just eaten with a spoon if you’re feeling particularly indulgent. It’s good stuff.

Read on for the recipe and giveaway below!

Salted Caramel Sauce
adapted from Erin’s Food Files

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon grey sea salt or fleur de sel (I used fleur de sel)

Directions:
1) Add water to a 2-qt saucepan. Gently add the sugar to the center of the pot – it will mound, that’s fine. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

2) Once boiling, uncover the pot and insert a candy thermometer. Continue cooking until the mixture registers 300 F and is just starting to develop some color, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat under the pot to medium and cook until the syrup is amber and registers 350 F on the thermometer, about another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. If it simmers before the syrup is ready, just take it off the heat and set aside.

3) Remove the caramel from the heat and add about 1/4 of the warm cream to the pot. It will bubble furiously so be careful. Once the bubbling subsides, add the remaining cream. When it stops bubbling, whisk gently to incorporate fully. Add the butter and the salt and whisk to combine.

Refrigerate up to 1 month.

Today I am also hosting my very first giveaway! One person will win a one-pound bag of Farmhouse Blend coffee, a reusable travel mug, and coupons for two free hot or iced coffees from Cumberland Farms. When I was approached about this giveaway, I knew little about the quality of coffee from Cumberland Farms – I’ve never really bought coffee from convenience stores before, but it’s actually great stuff.

Farmhouse Blend has just the right blend of 100% Arabica beans, giving it a wonderful blend of aroma, body, and flavor. And it’s just $0.99 for any size, iced or hot, at any time, so quality coffee doesn’t have to be a “splurge.” Cumbarland Farms Farmhouse Blend will change the way consumer think about convenience store coffee.  Cumberland Farms has been a family-owned and operated New England business since 1939. That’s certainly the kind of business I can get behind.

To enter, simply tell me how you like your coffee. And as an extra entry, follow @cumberlandfarms and tweet “I want to win Farmhouse Blend from @cumberlandfarms and @tbren15″ and then come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did. I’ll pick a winner on Friday night, November 11th. Don’t forget to leave me your email address so I can notify you if you win!

Even if you don’t win, you can still want to try Farmhouse Blend – Cumberland Farms will be hosting Free Coffee Fridays on November 11, 18, and 25 at all Cumberland Farms locations, while supplies last, so get it when you can!


13 Responses to “Salted Caramel Sauce and a giveaway!”

  1. Megan says:

    That caramel sauce looks awesome! We recently got an espresso machine, and I keep saying I’m going to make some caramel so we can make caramel machiattos at home.

    (No need to enter me in the giveaway… I’m doing the same one. :))

  2. Sacha says:

    Caramel absolutely makes me go weak in the knees (in fact, it’s the subject of an upcoming blog post). And I can’t have it without a hefty dose of salt. This looks great.

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway. I’m (believe it or not) not coffee drinker.

  3. Maureen says:

    I am not really a coffee drinker but I do like the coffee cooler that Caribou Coffee has in the Vanilla flavor. I can’t seem to get enough of them. Love them. So I guess Cooler form

    Love caramel however!!!

  4. nicole spaz says:

    I seem to only drink coffee M-F. It’s routine for me to put my lunch away in the fridge and make a cup before getting ready for the work day.

  5. hannah says:

    I like my coffee with lots of sugar. Pretty much how I like everything…

    p.s. can you make me some caramel sauce!!?? PLEASE

  6. Aubreylaine says:

    I like my coffee dark w/ a packet of Splenda
    littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

  7. Claire says:

    Simple – a tbsp of creamer & two sweetener packets.

  8. With just a little French Vanilla creamer from Trader Joes.

  9. Lena H. says:

    My coffee routine definitely changes with the seasons… Right now, I add just a splash of light eggnog to my coffee instead of cream. But on the weekends I may substitute a spoonful of my homemade whiskey whipped cream instead.

  10. Lena H. says:

    Can’t wait to try making this caramel!

    (And tweeted — @lenaonthebeach)

  11. Janet says:

    Just black – pure and simple, but you can only do this with great tasting coffee!

  12. meredith says:

    i usually just like milk in my coffee, but sometimes i like to jazz it up with flavors

  13. [...] sweetness in every bite. I drizzled many of the finished cookies with a generous dose of leftover salted caramel sauce, which was SO YUMMY. I know yummy is such an unsophisticated food term, but I’m just telling [...]

  14. [...] Lately I’ve been on a caramel kick, dosuing any and all desserts with a heavy handed scoop of homemade salted caramel sauce, or creating desserts that are based around caramel-y flavors. When I was home last weekend, I made [...]

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