Made From Scratch: Easy Bourbon Caramel Sauce

I've posted a few other caramel recipes on the blog, but I think I love this one the most because it takes only a few minutes and involves zero candy thermometers. The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, but I took it up a slight notch with the addition of bourbon after the caramel sauce has thickened. This step is entirely optional, but I think the bourbon adds a nice additional layer of flavor to the sauce.

This rich and thick caramel sauce is delicious served warm over ice cream (or a slice of warm apple pie, or bread pudding, or cheesecake, really, the options are endless). But it's also a key component of the truly decadent cookie bar recipe I have coming up for you next.

Easy Bourbon Caramel Sauce (printer-friendly version)
makes about 1 cup

1 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
1 tablespoon bourbon [optional]

1. In a medium sauce pot, stir together the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and fine sea salt. While whisking constantly, heat the ingredients over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue cooking until the mixture thickens, 5-7 minutes. 
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon.
3. Use immediately or refrigerate until cold. 

(lightly adapted from this recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

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