I am always looking for a way to make dessert easier. The fact is, I am not a fan of baking, so if I can top a scoop of ice cream with something decadent, that suits me just fine. When I spotted this recipe on the Food52 website I was leery. I've made caramel sauce before and it was much more involved than this appeared to be. One treads a slippery slope when making caramel sauce because while waiting for the boiling sugar to turn a caramel color (something that is subjective) the caramel can turn bitter, and both time and ingredients are wasted. So I didn't have very high hopes for this recipe.
Much to my extreme and very pleasant surprise this butterscotch sauce (that tastes more like caramel to me) is both easy and delicious. I was a bit uncomfortable with the rather sketchy directions, far preferring a finite cooking time as well as a goal temperature on a candy thermometer, but threw caution to the wind and just let things be. My butter, sugar, and corn syrup did not “froth and bubble and go bonkers.” It simply melted and came to a low boil. When I added the heavy cream it did not “erupt and rise up” until I turned up the heat to allow for a 30-second vigorous boil. Despite these things, it still turned out beautifully. It did firm up in the fridge, but it did not get at all grainy. It was still smooth and very delicious.
This recipe is a keeper, folks. Quick, easy, and absolutely decadent. Who could ask for more?
From Phyllis Grant at Food52
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar (I used dark)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped out
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil until sugar dissolves. This takes a few minutes. It will froth and bubble and go bonkers. Don't panic.
Add heavy cream. Stand back. The mixture will erupt and rise up. Stir in vanilla bean, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Whisk. Bring back up to a vigorous boil for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
Serve right away over ice cream or yogurt. Inside crepes. In between layers of cake. Or store it in the fridge for a few weeks. Makes a little over 1 1/2 cups.
Author Notes: This recipe is from one of my mother's best friends, via her mother, via the San Francisco restaurant Trader Vic's. You can make it with either dark or light brown sugar or a combination of the two. It's great drizzled over crepes and cakes. One thing to know is that it firms up as it hits ice cream, but it softens back up in your mouth. It gets quite hard and grainy in the fridge, but low heat brings the sauce right back to life. This recipe fits perfectly into a Bonne Maman jar. It keeps for months in the fridge, but it will not last that long. – Phyllis Grant
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