I am a chocolate fanatic. I live and die chocolate. I think on my grave they’ll write, “She lived, she died, she loved chocolate.” However, one of my most favorite people in the world – my Aunt Deb – is allergic. Ugh – total bummer. In an attempt to make desserts she could enjoy, I looked into caramel. It’s sticky, it’s sweet, it’s rich and buttery… perhaps caramel could be a suitable replacement for chocolate.

And after some extensive recipe testing, I can safely say – IT IS!!!

Plus, making caramel is so easy! Forget what you’ve heard about crystallization and candy thermometers. This recipe is straightforward, nearly impossible to mess up, and can be made in a flash! It is a riff on a caramel sauce I used to make in the restaurant when I was a pastry chef in NYC. I use it in all my caramel recipes like my Caramel Whoopie Pies, but simply pouring it over a big bowl of vanilla ice cream works perfectly too!

So here is to Aunt Deb, here is to homemade caramel, and here is to a slow death by delicious cooked sugar!


Put the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.


Cook the sugar mixture until it is a deep amber color. It will take a while to start browning but once it starts it goes very quickly. Do not walk away, I beg of you.


Add your butter, salt, and cream. It will bubble violently. Cook for 2 minutes until the bubbling settles and it looks smooth and slightly thickened (like above!!!) Ooooo – it’s so shiny you can see me IN IT taking a picture. I don’t mind.


Once you have cooked the caramel for 2 minutes pour it into a large bowl to let it cool and thicken. You can use it while it is still warm or you can transfer to the fridge and let it cool and thicken EVEN MORE.


This is my abstract caramel representation. It screams: “POUR CARAMEL OVER EVERYTHING!!!” Mix it into your apple pie, chill it, cut it, cover it in chocolate, mix it into buttercream, heck glaze a cake with it. Use it for everything!!!

Caramel Sauce

  • Servings: 1 cup caramel sauce
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt

Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until mixture turns a deep amber color. Don’t stir – but you can swirl the pan occasionally to even out the browning.

Add the butter, cream, and salt. Be careful – the mixture will bubble up!

Cook for 2 minutes until the mixture thickens.

You can use right away over ice cream or you can transfer to a metal or glass container and store in the refrigerator for a week. To reheat, you can use the microwave or a double-boiler.