One of my big cooking fears was caramel. How much do you cook it? What if it scorches? What if it crystallizes, or never thickens up in the first place? What if it tastes terrible?
Nevertheless, I got a craving the other day for spiked caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream–which oddly is something I’d never had before–so I decided to be brave. Learn to bake fearlessly, right?I googled up a recipe, went out for some heavy cream, and–caramel! It was nowhere near as hard as I thought it’d be, once I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I actually thought it was a shade light, but it was still really good, at least as good as the bottled caramel sauce from the store. I had some over vanilla bean ice cream with my friend Beth, and it was good.
The recipe uses Barenjager, a honey liqueur that has good associations for me. For as long as I can remember, there’s been a bottle shaped like a cute beehive sitting with the liquor at my parents’ New Years Eve parties, which were always a ton of fun. And it goes great with the smooth caramel! But I bet any booze you choose would go just as well.
Honey liqueur spiked caramel sauce
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ounces Barenjager honey liqueur
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
From Rachel Cooks
Combine butter, cream, vanilla, Barenjager, and salt in a small saucepan. Stick it on the stove over medium high heat until just boiling, stirring once in a while. Watch it carefully! It should be a nice yellow color from the butter.
Set that aside off the heat, and then combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a different saucepan. Stir til combined, then heat on the stove over medium high heat, this time without stirring. Watch it til it turns a nice gold (see picture).
When it’s the right color, take it off the heat and slowly pour the cream mixture in, whisking constantly. It will bubble up, so be prepared. Store in a heatproof container til thickened. Serve over vanilla bean ice cream, on apples, or however you like! Refrigerate when not eating.