Sweet buttery caramel with a touch of saltiness. It's one of those flavour combinations that take you by surprise. Sweet and salty together? I was a skeptic but when the balance is created well it really is divine.
There are a couple of keys to success when making salted caramel sauce:
1. A deep heavy based saucepan - make sure you use a very clean (no food bits at all or burnt areas) heavy saucepan when making caramel. Why? If there are burn marks or food remnants this will taint the caramel and create burnt not caramelised sugar. The heavy saucepan also ensures an even cooking and prevents the sugar catching on the side and burning in spots. Why deep? See the next point
2. Have your cream warm - cold cream plus hot caramel equals a hot, dangerous mess. Adding any liquid to hot caramel requires care and attention and having warm cream reduces the risk of the hot caramel overflowing in your pan. A deep pan will also ensure that the caramel doesn't bubble up and overflow - and bubble up it will
3. Take your pan off the heat when adding the cream - the caramel will keep cooking even when off the heat so by removing the direct heat source you will stop the cooking process from the source and add the cream safely
Please though, be aware when making caramel that it become extremely hot - when it becomes caramel stage it can be at temperatures of over 110 degrees celsius - plus with caramel it sticks to the skin and keeps burning. So how do you keep safe when cooking with caramel?
1. Use a long handled wooden spoon - this will prevent the sugar from conducting heat into the spoon and will keep your hands well away from the caramel
2. Have a container of ice water ready - if you do happen to drip a little caramel sauce on yourself plunge the area straight into the icy water - it will harden the caramel and stop it from cooking on your skin
Don't let this safety tips deter you from cooking - I just like to educate you on how to keep safe in the kitchen!
Now for the recipe: