Salted Caramel Sauce

How’s everyone doing? Staying sane? I keep forgetting to brush my teeth so I’m working on that. The good news is I finally read the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking and it drastically improved my cooking. I still have a lot to digest but the chapter on salt made the biggest impact.

According to Samin (author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking) the type of salt used determines the amount needed in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and it turns out that I need about double the amount usually called for to properly season even the simplest of muffins. Check out this chart on how much salt is needed per 1 cup of flour for batters and doughs: Fine Sea Salt – 3/4 teaspoon, Table Salt – 2/3 teaspoon, Morton’s Kosher Salt – 3/4 teaspoon, Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt – 1 1/8 teaspoon. Is your mind blown?? I was shocked at the differences. Yet my math skills are paying off because I do think my food has never tasted better.

After reading the book (this is how I refer to it now: The Book and Mike knows what book I’m talking about), I knew I had to try one of the recipes. I decided on the salted caramel sauce for multiple reasons. 1. I actually had the ingredients in my house. 2. I’ve dabbled in caramel over the years but never found a recipe that was so perfect it needed to be made more than once. I’ve made caramel for apples that was too runny and took too long. I’ve made caramel candy so soft that I used it as a sauce. These problems most likely stem from not being to accurately read my ancient candy thermometer. 3. Recipe didn’t require a candy thermometer.

Needless to say, I’m completely smitten. I’ve made it four times in the last couple weeks. The dark amber sauce coats the back of a spoon and adds a layer of decadence to any dessert. I pour it over brownies, drizzle it on top of ice cream or dip apples for a wholesome quarantine snack. Take a spoonful and let it melt on your tongue and enjoy the indulgence that comes from such simple ingredients as butter, sugar and cream.

I can’t recommend this cookbook enough. Or the caramel sauce for that matter. I hope you are all finding inspiration and joy in the midst of all that is going on in the world. Stay healthy everyone!

Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 8 ounces

Slightly adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Who knew caramel was so simple! No candy thermometer or special ingredients. It moves fast so don’t walk away from the stove. If the sauce separates during cooking just whisk in a splash of hot water to bring it all back together.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (half if using table salt)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, melt butter on medium and then whisk in sugar and increase heat to medium-high. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil and then stop stirring. Brown spots will be visible in the pan. Give it one gentle swish so the caramel browns evenly. Continue cooking until deep amber in color and starts to smoke, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in heavy cream. Cool the caramel for 30 minutes and then add the vanilla and salt. Depending on the type of salt you use, you may need less so taste and adjust. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

To serve: Let caramel cool to room temperature and pour over ice cream or use as a dip for apples. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a month. Warm leftovers in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and stir before serving.

Friday Reflections – May 5

I wanted to pop in and show you what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks.

Baking, baking and baking!

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JP looked at his cake last weekend and said “oh wow it’s perfect” and then proceeded to dump sprinkles all over it. Ha! Yes, I would say that now it definitely is perfect.

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The cheesecake for my husband’s birthday was a little battered by the time this picture was taken, but boy was it good. When making it, I totally forgot to set the timer when cooling it in the water bath so it sat longer than it should’ve but it still turned out nice, dense and creamy. I added a sour cream topping this year and will do it again next time.

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It never fails that rice krispy treats are requested for the class treat on their birthdays. I always say yes because that means I get to eat all the little scraps left on the spoon.

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This last dessert is a new one we’ve added to the repertoire.  JP requested pavlova for his dessert on the day of his birthday (see how we overdo it!) and I was excited to make it again. It is a surprisingly easy treat that melts in your mouth like cotton candy (but without the blue lips). I made individual ones this time instead of one large one and liked it better that way. I like mine topped with whipped cream and strawberries but JP gobbled his up unadorned.

That’s it! Happy Friday and I hope your week has been filled with a little something sweet, just like mine.

Blackberries with Whipped Cream

My childhood best friend lived on a gravel road just outside town. Baby kittens, Nintendo, and a rope swing made her house one of my favorite places to be. But the real kicker was the garden. It was glorious! Tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and the raspberry bushes were my favorite. The garden stretched on and took up most of the front yard. Perfectly straight lines, with each plant given exactly what it needed.  Abi’s mom would ask us to go out and bring in the goodies but I would probably eat more than I carried inside. Plucking ripe berries off the bush and crushing them into my mouth one by one, I would scour the bushes, leaving none behind.

As an adult, I still get that same joy of finding the summer-ripe berries, eager to be picked.  This time of year, wild blackberries are exploding all over Seattle. I went to a local park last week and picked some while my kid’s played at the baseball field with a ball that happened to be left at home plate. Lucky us!

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I like to keep berries simple, just a little sugar and whipped cream. My dad remembers eating fresh berries covered in cream as a child, and I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy them myself.

The cream is whipped thick with a touch of added vanilla. I wanted the berries to be slightly sweet so I sprinkled granulated sugar on top and let it sit a bit to create its own sweet juice. I think you could eat this for breakfast or dessert, whichever you choose.

I hope you are all enjoying the sweet rewards of summer, too!

xoxo,

Rachel

Blackberries with Whipped Cream

To make the whipped cream, make sure to buy the highest quality of whipping cream you can find. You want the ingredient list to be only “cream”. I used Smith Brothers here in Seattle.

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Place the bowl and whisk of the stand mixer in the refrigerator or freezer. Wash and rinse berries in a colander and pat dry. Pour into a small bowl and sprinkle sugar over berries. Let sit for 20 minutes, and stir gently. The berries will release some of their juices and a bit of syrup will pool at the bottom of the bowl. This is good!

Once the berries are almost ready remove the bowl and whisk from the refrigerator and pour the cold cream and the vanilla into the mixer bowl. Whisk on medium high (5 or 6 on a stand mixer) for 5-6 minutes, until firm peaks form. Watch closely! I processed mine a bit too far the first time and it turned to butter!

Give the berries a stir to incorporate the syrup at the bottom of the bowl and divide into 2 bowls. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.