One of our favourite things in the pantry is the Cottees Vanilla Syrup/topping. The boys love vanilla milkshakes and we go through it at a frightening rate when we have it. But "when we have it" is the key thing here. See, Cottees only sell the vanilla flavouring in commercial quantities to cafes etc, so we rely on a friend with a coffee van to get it for us... But I've recently come up with a solution to the vanilla-less episodes in our household. Caramel. And no caramel is quite as good as homemade caramel...
Classic Caramel Sauce
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon of salt (or less)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 shot of heavy cream
1. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan.
2. Allow the sugar mixture to settle on the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium heat and let the sugar to dissolve. (This is very similar to making sugar water for lemonade.) Continue to heat until the sugar mixture starts to turn to a golden color. This takes about 4-5 minutes (depending on your heat). Shake the pan occasionally to redistribute the sugar on the bottom of the pan. This helps to brown the sugar evenly and keeps it smooth and creamy in the heating process. (You can stir the mixture before it heats up with a wooden spoon but not too much. The sugar has to stay in contact with the heat on the bottom of the pan to brown and dissolve completely.)
3. As soon as the sugar turns a golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream into the hot sugar mixture. Adding the cream causes the mixture to bubble up and transform into caramel. Stir to combine until the sauce is creamy and evenly golden throughout. Cook the sauce on low heat for one more minute, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, add the vanilla, salt and stir well with wooden spoon. Pour the warm sauce directly into into a clean glass jar. Add a shot of cream right into the middle of the sauce and combine to make it extra creamy. Allow sauce to cool before tasting! Store in the refrigerator with lidded top.
This keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or so. And like the picture says, it's great for dipping fruit into as well...