My quest, began in 2007, was to make the perfect caramel sauce. I had tasted the delights of such a sauce at an upscale restaurant, and knew that I had to learn to create my own. This quest led me through at least 20 recipes, several pieces of special equipment, countless 10 pound bags of sugar, and a considerable number of scorched, grainy or runny failures.
The plot thickened in 2008 during the financial crisis. I was testing investment strategies, and with the market swinging wildly, sometimes the best thing to do with a position was to "SOH", or sit on hands. For me, the best way to get away from the crazy market volatility was to make caramel sauce. I made vats of caramel sauce between September 2008 and April 2009. We had ice cream every night, brownies infused with the stuff, ate it with apples and pretzels, stirred it into our coffee and gave it away as Christmas, hostess and teacher gifts. I never let my supplies of sugar, butter and cream run out and bought mason jars almost every week. My quest had become an obsession.
With all of this making of caramel sauce however came a true mastery of the craft that I'd like to share. There are so many uses of caramel sauce (see above), and it really is amazingly better than even a good quality jar like Mrs. Richardsons (do NOT pop the lid on the Kraft version - you won't want to anyway when you read the list of ingredients). It's true that butter, sugar and cream are not healthy foods, BUT if you chose to eat unhealthy food every so often - and we all should occasionally - shouldn't it be the best-tasting, freshest unhealthy food possible?
A few more things about caramel sauce: it's fast, it's simple, and there are no special tools other than a heavy-bottomed pot and your own good common sense. It takes only 4 ingredients and keeps (refrigerated) for three months. Doesn't that sound like a recipe you should have in your back pocket?
My recipe for salted caramel sauce (including a video of the preparation) is in the recipe box.