Determined not to repeat the abysmal Christmas of last year, I am changing my traditional gifts of cookies and candy. Not that the cookies and candy are not good or unwelcome by the recipients – I just need a breath of novelty injected into my Christmas that will help me forget the Chinese Restaurant that served me lunch on Dec 25 of last year. Why I thought that would be a good idea, I will never know but I attribute the choice to the mud and fog filling my brain at the time.
Every holiday season, my kitchen gets invaded by the elves, they help me sort out bags, ribbons, gift tags and munch on the cookies that come out of the oven at the rate of 4 trays every 10 minutes. But this year, due to the lack of funds, time and a collective need to express self-restraint, I am thinking jars. Pretty, cheap jars, brightened up by colourful ribbons and filled with caramel sauce.
Thomas Keller was the unwitting inspiration of the caramel sauce craze that is twirling around my brain: who doesn’t like to pour it over ice cream, pop corn or cakes? And if it’s home-made, it tastes way better than the preservative filled store-bought one. Moreover, if Thomas Keller thinks it’s a cool gift, who am I to disagree?
5 C Sugar
Water as needed
2 T Corn Syrup
2 2/3 C Heavy Cream
1. Combine sugar, corn syrup and enough water to reach wet sand consistency in a sauce pan. Heat on med/high, undisturbed, without stirring.
2. While the caramel is cooking, heat the cream to scalded in a separate pan.
3. Once the caramel has reached an amber color, lower the heat to a simmer and, while standing back as much as possible (the sauce will bubble up), slowly pour the hot cream into the caramel, whisking constantly. At first the sauce will look like it’s seizing but it will come together quickly. When it does, remove from heat.
4. Pour into container or jars (if filling jars, let cool slightly but not so much that it will thicken too much). Cool completely before refrigerating.
Caramel sauce keeps refrigerated for about a month. To use, reheat in the microwave or by placing the jar in a pot of hot, simmering water. Pour on your food of choice while still hot.