December 23, 2011
Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce
Okay, it's two days until Christmas, and you suddenly realize that you're behind on your shopping. It's too late to mail-order anything, and you've no time to go to the store. What to do?
Got ten minutes? Then you can make this terrific sauce that requires nothing obscure in the way of ingredients. (If you have no Bourbon, you can substitute Scotch, Cognac or Armagnac – or simply leave it out altogether. )
One suggestion: Before you begin, read David Leibowitz’s wonderful post on making caramel, here. Caramel can be tricky, and it will save you a lot of trouble down the line.
And another: Use a larger pot than you think you'll need. I use a 5 1/2 quart casserole. Trust me – it makes everything easier.
Cut 3/4 of a stick of the best butter you can get your hands on into small pieces and put that next to the stove. Let half a cup of heavy cream come to room temperature. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of Bourbon. Now pour a cup of sugar in an even layer into a large, heavy, light-colored pot and watch it melt over moderate heat. When it begins to liquify around the edges, begin stirring with a spatula, watching carefully. When it is completely liquid, has turned a deep copper color, and is just on the edge of smoking, stir in the butter until it is completely incorporated into the sugar. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream mixture. It will hiss and sizzle and generally act nasty. Ignore it – this is the nature of caramel – and whisk until you have a smooth sauce. Add a generous quarter teaspoon of coarse salt (or a bit more if you've used unsalted butter).
This is great on just about everything, and it will keep for a month or so in the refrigerator. (Rewarm the sauce in the microwave for a minute before serving.) Divided into half cup portions and poured into pretty jars, it will make three friends very happy.
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