Sweet snacks appeal to all ages—whether you’re a kid or an adult, who doesn’t love caramel, for example? From the hard kind you suck on, to the soft kind that makes you chew, caramels have been beloved candies for generations. In fact, they’re more than candies: caramel can be found in ice cream, apple pie, fruit tarts and more. One especially fun way to get your caramel fix is by making your own caramel dipping sauce at home.
If you’ve ever tried making homemade caramel before, you may be hesitant. Many people are scared to make this classic confection, as it’s notorious for burning easily. One minute you’re stirring sugar, and the next you’re scalding the pan! Have no fear, however, because making delicious, ooey-gooey, creamy caramel sauce doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you learn a few simple tricks, you can whip it up anytime you like. Make your family this sweet dip for desserts, snack time or as part of celebratory table spreads.
The Secret to Caramel Sauce
One ingredient makes all the difference in a smooth and creamy caramel sauce: sweetened condensed milk. It’s what keeps the caramel from becoming crunchy like a hard candy or sucker. When you’re making homemade caramel sauce, you want to stick to a recipe that incorporates this foolproof ingredient in the mix.
Ways to Use a Caramel Dipping Sauce
The sky’s the limit with how you can enjoy your caramel sauce. Serve a warm bowl of it alongside dippable small bites such as crackers, pretzels, cookies, and diced fruit. Drizzle it over a plate of sliced apples, or mix it up with some popcorn for a sweet and salty snack. Mix it into a favorite baked good recipe, such as brownies, cookies, tarts, or pie. Your kids might even like it stirred into yogurt or cottage cheese. Wherever you add caramel sauce, a snack instantly feels more special.
How to Make Your Own Caramel Sauce — Without Burning!
To help you make your own delicious caramel sauce at home, here’s a tested recipe you can trust. Keep in mind that stirring constantly will help prevent scorching the bottom, so you’ll want to stay by the stove throughout the process. If, for any reason, your caramel does scorch, don’t scrape the bottom, but simply keep stirring the part above what’s scorched.
7 tbsp. Salted Butter
¾ c. Light Corn Syrup
2 c. Granulated Sugar
½ c. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 ¼ c. Whipping Cream, Warmed in Microwave (30-60 Seconds)
½ tsp. Salt or To Taste (optional)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter has fully melted, stir in corn syrup, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, continuing to stir until the mixture becomes golden-brown.
- Turn off heat, and slowly stir whipping cream and salt into the mixture.
- Once combined, return heat to medium or medium-high, and stir the mixture until the caramel bubbles.
- Keep stirring over the heat for an additional five minutes after the mixture has begun bubbling.
- Remove pan from heat, add vanilla extract, and stir to combine. At this point the caramel is thin and ideal as an ice cream topper or sweetener for hot drinks. To get that dippable consistency that you’re after, let it cool for about 30 minutes.
- BONUS: If you want to give your caramel sauce an exotic and original twist for the adults, try adding a couple dashes of bourbon, dark rum, or chili powder in with the vanilla.
AUTHOR BIO: Samantha Kowalczyk is Director of Product Development and Key Accounts for Mrs Prindables. She leads a team responsible for the creation of new product concepts, such as Caramel Apple flavors, gifts, and confections. Kowalczyk joined Mrs Prindables in 2013 after completing her education in marketing. Her dedication to Mrs Prindables enabled her to progress to her current role.