I made a batch of caramel sauce last summer, and this time I thought I'd take it up a notch by adding in some bourbon and a pinch of salt. This caramel sauce would make an excellent present -- all you need to do is tie a ribbon around the jar and you've got a homemade gift ready to be given. (Or, bring a gallon of vanilla ice cream along with the caramel sauce to a holiday party, and you've got an instant-sundae bar!)
Bourbon-Vanilla Caramel Sauce (adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)
makes about 2 cups (enough to fill three 8-oz jars)
2 cups raw sugar
1/2 cup filtered water
1 cup organic heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, beans scraped out and reserved
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bourbon
pinch sea salt
1. Add the sugar and water to a 2-quart sauce pot. Cook until the mixture is dark amber in color, gently swirling the pot (do not stir) over the burner. This process should take about 20 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low. While stirring vigorously, slowly add in the heavy cream. Then add in the vanilla beans, vanilla bean pod, lemon juice, butter, and bourbon. Stir to combine. Add in a pinch of sea salt.
3. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into (cleaned and dried) jars. The caramel sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to one week. Reheat before using.