What Is Caramel Sauce?

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  • Written By: Mark Wollacott
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 30 May 2020
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Caramel sauce is a semi-liquid addition used in sweet desserts. The sauce has a golden brown look to it and is very sweet to the taste. It is known for its fast cooking process. The sauce requires only a few basic ingredients such as sugar, butter and a thick cream.

Basic caramel is made by melting sugar in a pan. This process is called caramelization. Such caramel can be applied quickly, before it cools, onto ice cream or onto the top of cheesecakes or atop a latte macchiato instead of chocolate.

In 1850, some of caramel’s other properties were discovered when it was first mixed with butter, milk or cream. This experimentation led to desserts such as crème caramel and dulce de leche. Other additions were made to make chewable candies, caramel candy and harder versions. American Milton Hershey founded a caramel candy company, but sold it when he became more interested in chocolate.

The simple caramel sauce consists of sugar plus butter and double cream. It is made by melting sugar in a saucepan and adding cream and butter while the sugar is still bubbling. The type of sugar can vary between recipes from normal granulated white sugar to brown sugar via caster sugar. The type of cream can also vary from double cream to heavy whipping cream.

A basic caramel sauce is a liquid or semi-liquid used to enliven dishes. These can be savory or sweet. They range from salsa to soy and from gravy to ragu. Such sauces are used in cuisines across the world. This also includes for desserts, which are enlivened with creams, custards, fruit sauces and chocolate sauces.

Caramel sauce is very sweet and is good for desserts with a low sweetness or for ramping up the sweetness factor. A caramel sauce can be poured over dishes like ice cream, but can also moisten foods such as steam puddings and muffins.

As well as being an addition to a dessert, it can be used as an ingredient for one, too. For example, caramel sauce can be used to create caramel swirl cheesecakes. It is incorporated before a cheesecake is baked, by swirling a thick caramel sauce in it to create a marbled effect. The same process can be done for caramel-swirl brownies and ice cream.


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