This post goes out to all the Valentine's Haters. I know it's a totally commercial holiday probably invented to boost sales of red roses and Hallmark cards, and probably dental bills, too, because we're all just waiting for that moment when we chip a tooth on one of those candy hearts (or maybe that's just me?). Anyways, I know all this is probably true to an extent but I still can't help but love Valentine's Day, and when I was introduced to the Parks and Rec concept of Galentine's Day I loved it even more! So if you still think Valentine's Day is lame, let's all celebrate Galentine's Day instead--grab your best gal friends and some takeout and celebrate with the gals who always have your back. And maybe make them some of this caramel sauce and enjoy it over anything and everything.
This caramel sauce from American Heritage Kitchen is everything a caramel sauce should be: salty and sticky and totally eat-off-a-spoon-able. If this is your first time making caramel sauce I suggest reading the instructions on the link posted above because caramel, like any candy, can be super temperamental. I was pretty nervous to try this because I am more of a baker than a candymaker, but Lindsey's tips and tricks were solid.
Salty Caramel Sauce (from American Heritage Kitchen)
2 cups sugar
1 cup cream
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fleur de sel salt or similar (I used TJ's pyramid salt)
A couple tips for a good caramel-making experience: 1) make sure your butter and cream are room temp! Zap them in the microwave for a minute or so if you are impatient. If you add cold ingredients it will shock the hot sugar. 2) When you add the butter and cream be careful not to burn yourself--it WILL sputter! So be prepared with an apron and don't stop stirring! 3) The salt amount listed is a rough estimate. I like mine a bit more salty so just taste and add more if you need.
Overall I was happy with how this turned out! I had a couple lumpy bumpy crystalized sugar bits at the bottom of the pan but the caramel had great taste and texture otherwise. Would make it again. The recipe makes 2 cups of caramel but I doubled it and used a bigger pot. Keep it refrigerated since it has butter and cream in it.
To turn the caramel into mini Galentine's Day gifts I bought tiny, inexpensive spice jars and filled them to the brim with the sauce (use a pyrex cup to make the pouring less messy). Do this step when the caramel isn't burning hot but still pretty warm. Don't put the lids on until it is room temperature.
After the caramel cooled in the jars I sprinkled a tiny bit more salt on top just for fun.
The decorations are super minimal here--pink 1" ribbon to tie around the jar (if your ribbon starts to fray slightly tinge the edges with a match or lighter) tied in a knot, heart tags made out of kraft paper (a brown paper bag would work great), and gold baker's twine. I used a cookie cutter to make heart shape.