Go-To Salted Caramel Sauce and more

 
Posted3/6/2019 10:37 AM
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  • Go-To Salted Caramel Sauce.

    Go-To Salted Caramel Sauce. Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

Go-To Salted Caramel Sauce

Cookbook author Martha Holmberg likes to take her caramel right up to the precipice ... keeping it just this side of bitter. But if you like a sweeter, mellower caramel, stop the cooking a bit sooner. In any case, be sure you have your cream measured and ready to go, because the caramel will continue cooking and darkening, even once you've pulled it off the burner.

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

¾ cup heavy cream or creme fraiche

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or more as needed

1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter

Combine the sugar and water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir a lot at first to dissolve the sugar. Once it is dissolved, boil, undisturbed, until it begins to turn light golden. At this point, the water has cooked off and the sugar is starting to caramelize.

Continue cooking, carefully swirling the pan a bit so the caramelizing is even, until the syrup is a deep amber color, like the color of a strong iced tea; this should take between 8 and 12 minutes. This process goes very fast, so watch closely. You might see the tiniest wisps of smoke coming from the syrup, too.

Remove from the heat. Immediately add about ¼ cup of the cream. The mixture is going to bubble and create a lot of steam. The caramel might seize up; this is all OK.

Add the remaining heavy cream or creme fraiche. Return the pan to the stove top, over medium-low heat; cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring with a whisk or heatproof flexible spatula until smooth and slightly thickened.

Add the salt and vanilla extract. Taste a cooled-off sample, and adjust with more salt or vanilla extract as needed. Finish by whisking in the butter.

Serve warm or cool; the sauce thickens as it cools, so to make it more pourable, just warm it up a bit.

Makes 1 cup

Nutrition per 2-tablespoon serving: 190 calories, 0 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 26 g sugar

From cookbook author Martha Holmberg

Oh My Darling Clementine Sauce.
Oh My Darling Clementine Sauce. - Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

Oh My Darling Clementine Caramel Sauce

This citrus-based caramel is fruity and delicate, but with the mellow sweetness of classic caramel. The sauce is somewhat thinner than a typical caramel.

You can make this sauce vegan if you leave out the butter at the end. Be sure to strain the juice thoroughly so that you don't have bits of pulp that can burn in the hot caramel.

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

¾ cup fresh strained clementine or tangerine juice (from about 6 clementines or 3 tangerines)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or more as needed

1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter (optional; seenote)

½ teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)

Combine the sugar and water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir a lot at first to dissolve the sugar. Once it is dissolved, boil, undisturbed, until it begins to turn light golden. At this point, the water has cooked off and the sugar is starting to caramelize.

Continue cooking, carefully swirling the pan a bit so the caramelizing is even, until the syrup is a deep amber color, like the color of a strong iced tea; this should take between 8 and 12 minutes, and the process goes very fast, so watch closely. You might see the tiniest wisps of smoke coming from the syrup, too.

Remove from the heat. Immediately add about ¼ cup of the clementine juice and stir for a few seconds. The mixture is going to bubble and create a lot of steam. The caramel might seize up; this is all OK.

Add the remaining juice. Return the pan to the stove top, over medium-low heat; cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring with a whisk or heatproof flexible spatula until smooth and slightly thickened.

Add the salt and vanilla extract, taste a cooled-off portion, and adjust with more salt or vanilla extract as needed. Finish by whisking in the butter, and then the orange blossom water, if using either or both.

Serve warm or cool; the sauce thickens a bit more as it cools.

Makes 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

Nutrition per 2-tablespoon serving: 100 calories, 0 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 24 g sugar

From cookbook author Martha Holmberg.

Both Chocolate and Caramel Sauce.
Both Chocolate and Caramel Sauce. - Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

Both Chocolate And Caramel Sauce

Here, you get the tawny sweetness of caramel and the earthiness of chocolate, with of course a gorgeous texture. Martha Holmberg likes using milk chocolate, but only when she can get a good variety. She says: Don't use a Hershey bar for this one.

3 ounces good-quality milk or dark chocolate, chopped into pea-size pieces

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

¾ cup heavy cream or creme fraiche

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or more as needed

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Put the chocolate into a medium stainless-steel or nonreactive bowl.

Combine the sugar and water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir a lot at first to dissolve the sugar. Once it is dissolved, boil, undisturbed, until it begins to turn light golden. At this point, the water has cooked off and the sugar is starting to caramelize.

Continue cooking, carefully swirling the pan a bit so the caramelizing is even, until the syrup is a deep amber color, like the color of a strong iced tea; this should take between 8 and 12 minutes, and the process goes very fast, so watch closely. You might see the tiniest wisps of smoke coming from the syrup, too.

Remove from the heat and immediately add about ¼ cup of the heavy cream or creme fraiche and stir for a few seconds. The mixture is going to bubble and create a lot of steam. The caramel might seize up; this is all OK.

Add the remaining cream. Return the pan to the stove top, over medium-low heat; cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring with a whisk or heatproof flexible spatula until smooth and slightly thickened.

Add the salt and vanilla extract. Pour the hot caramel sauce over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds or so, and then start whisking to encourage the chocolate to melt evenly. Taste a cooled-off portion and adjust the flavor with more salt or vanilla extract, as needed.

Finish by whisking in the butter. Serve warm or cool; the sauce thickens as it cools, so to make it more pourable, just warm it up a bit.

Makes 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

Nutrition per 2-tablespoon serving: 180 calories, 1 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugar

From cookbook author Martha Holmberg

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