Homemade Caramel Sundaes

November 15, 2011 § 6 Comments

First of all, thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes!  I had a lovely day and feel pretty excited about my 26th year and all there is to come. Even though it was a work day I managed to squeeze in pancakes for breakfast, a little online shopping, and a delicious dinner with Brandon. All in all, a great day.

A birthday isn’t complete though without something sweet- so let’s talk sundaes. These sundaes actually came about last week, when I was considering different desserts for a dinner party.  I wanted something simple but still with a homemade twist.  I love the idea of serving sundaes in general, whether it’s for a birthday celebration or dinner party, it’s so fun for guests. No one’s going to complain about ice cream, but to keep it extra special I got good quality ice cream and served it with homemade toppings- caramel sauce and maple glazed pecans.  You can take it a step further and serve the whole thing in martini glasses. Unfortunately I didn’t think of doing that until after my guests left… oh well, next time!

Homemade Caramel Sundaes slightly adapted from the Barefoot Contessa at Home
Serves 6

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Set a large heavy bottomed sauce pan to low heat.  Pour in the sugar and shake slightly to make sure it’s evenly distributed across the pan. Pour in the water and gently swirl the pan so it’s evenly set. You want to avoid getting particles of sugar on the side of the pan, so do not stir mixture. Cook on low without stirring for 12-15 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. If it takes longer, that’s fine- be sure it’s completely dissolved before moving on.

Next, raise the heat to medium and boil the mixture (uncovered) until it reaches a deep chestnut brown ( a candy thermometer will read about 350 degrees). Watch it closely at this point as you do not want the mixture to burn.  Once it reaches this color, take the pan off the heat. Stand back and slowly pour in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Careful, as it will bubble up violently! Let the mixture continue to bubble, do not stir.  Once settled, stir it gently to make sure all ingredients are combined.  The original recipe said the caramel will harden at this point.  Mine didn’t harden, but as I let is cool, it turned into a thick caramel.  If yours does harden right away, simply heat it slowly over the stove to soften.

Make the Maple Glazed Pecans: Recipe Here

Assemble the Sundaes: To serve 6, you’ll need two pints of vanilla ice cream. I’m partial to Ben and Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs.  If your caramel has cooled, pop it in the microwave for a bit to warm it up.  Fill each glass with 2 scoops of ice cream.  Top with a generous drizzle of caramel sauce and a few pecans.

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