We all have our go-tos. There are the clothes. Our favorite go-to outfit to lounge around in, our favorite party clothes, the pair of shoes that makes us feel like a rock star no matter how we were feeling just a moment before. I even have a favorite pink lipstick that makes me smile each time I put it on.
There are the places we visit all the time for whatever we might need, where the drive or walk there is nearly instinctive, and the people know us by name. Grocery stores where butchers, fish mongers, bakers, and deli personnel have our orders ready without us saying a word. Surveys have also shown we all have our go-to brands and products. You know I do just by looking at my Ingredients page. When I tell Dad I need flour, he knows to buy King Arthur without a second thought. Restaurants that should have tables with our names on them and our favorite wait person appears at our table to greet us because we eat there way too often.
We have favorite websites for product reviews, recipes, shopping, and research. Favorite TV shows that comfort us after a hard day. Certain flowers brighten our spirits no matter the problem. Favorite pens fill our hands and favorite books our minds. We are creatures of habit.
In the kitchen, the blog has forced me out of some of this repetition. As much as I love Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and Peach Blackberry Pie, you’re not going to be very interested by reading about them over and over again as much as I might be interested in making them over and over. I love trying new recipes, hoping they are amazing, and sharing them with you.
While I’ll only share this caramel sauce with you once, it’s my new go-to caramel, and I hope it will be yours too. This is the base recipe, and you’ll find a few recipes that use it over the rest of the week, because this is the beginning of caramel week on Pies and Plots. It can’t be a bad week when tons of caramel is involved. It’s silky smooth, slightly gooey, super rich with that deep caramel flavor, and incredibly versatile.
I made it two different ways: once with light Caro corn syrup and once with Lyle’s Golden Syrup. The one made with Lyle’s had a bit of a richer, better flavor, but they’re both absolutely amazing. Lyle’s can be hard to find, and I would only recommend using it if you are comfortable making caramel, as it is much more difficult to tell when the sauce is done. With the corn syrup, the mixture is clear, until all of the sudden it starts turning golden; once it is golden brown, you’re good to add the cream and on your way to caramel success. With Lyle’s, it’s more about smelling and knowing. The mixture turns slightly deeper in color, but is pretty golden from the beginning. Getting it perfect is quite challenging, but if you try using it, take the caramel off the heat too soon rather than too late. It can always be put back on the heat for a few moments after the other ingredients are added to darken the color slightly.
Regardless of what syrup you use, this is a killer caramel. You won’t be able to stop making it to put on ice cream, pie, eating it by the spoonful, or using it in one of the recipes coming up this week. Those other caramel sauces will all go by the wayside.
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup light corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ½ stick unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, salt, and syrup over medium heat. Stir the mixture frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Once this happens stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and bubble vigorously until it is golden brown and fragrant. As stated above if using Lyle’s this is more difficult to accomplish. Be sure not to overcook the caramel; it is very easy to burn.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the heavy cream. Stir vigorously to combine it and scrape any hard bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the vanilla and butter and stir to combine. If the caramel is a little too light or clumpy, put it back over the heat for a moment or two while stirring. Caramel may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week in a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap. It may be rewarmed in the microwave before using.