Caramel sauce is spectacularly good. It’s rich. It’s easy. And it’s always good to have some in the fridge, waiting for just the right moment. You know, like when the sun rises in the east. So grab a spoon. Caramel sauce is made with just a few ingredients, and this one is no different. There a couple of little twists and turns, but it’s still incredibly simple and ultimately…delicious.
A heavy pan is essential. You need to control the heat, because if the sugar burns, there’s no coming back. You have to pitch it and start over. But, you’re not going to burn the sugar, are you?
If you are making a straight up caramel sauce, omit the apple cider reduction and use water instead. Do keep the bourbon or use brandy or rum…it just adds a really nice touch. The bubbles will go from essentially a foamy look, to larger bubbles as the mixture caramelizes. Allow the hot mixture to cool slightly before you add the bourbon, vanilla and the cider vinegar. This sauce is sweet, very sweet. Do not omit the cider vinegar; it’s about balance, right? The apple cider addition is a great touch when you’re planning on serving this with Rustic Bourbon-Spiced Pear & Apple Tart, pancakes (yes!!) or over roasted apples and/or pears.
You’ll have this lovely elixir ready in about 18-20 minutes from start to finish. And it keeps very well in the fridge, though you probably won’t have it around that long.
Caramel Apple Sauce with Bourbon
- 1 cup apple cider or 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup or honey
- 1/3-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup heavy cream, plus additional to thin if needed (see NOTE)
- 3-4 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Pour the cider in a heavy 3-quart stainless steel saucepan. Over high heat, boil the cider down by half, to 1/2 cup, about 4-5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium; add the sugars, honey, and salt. Whisk until the syrup comes to a boil, about 1 minute. Continue to simmer, without stirring, until syrup is honey-colored, roughly 6-8 minutes. Shake and swirl as needed, to ensure even caramelization. The bubbles will increase in size as the sugars caramelize. Whisk in the butter and continue cooking until the syrup is a medium amber color, being careful not to burn the mixture, about 1 minute. Immediately add cream; reduce heat to medium-low.
Whisking constantly, simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract, vinegar and bourbon. Cool to room temperature. Caramel will be runny while hot, but will thicken as it cools. When refrigerated, it will become slightly chewy. Refrigerate up to 1 month in an airtight container. You can let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or reheat in the microwave, if desired, for service.
NOTE: If the mixture is too thick when it’s cool, whisk in a couple of tablespoons heavy cream or additional apple cider, until the consistency is to your liking.
Caramel Apple Sauce with Bourbon Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
Drizzle this on everything. Eat it with a spoon straight from the jar or out of the pan. Let it cool, or you’ll remove the roof of your mouth and you will be most unhappy with The Goddess. The sauce is excellent drizzled over good vanilla ice cream combined with Black Sable Fudge Sauce. I have to get some ice cream, right now…be good.