paris + a deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce

And so, we went to Paris for eight days, which is never enough. Eight days is long enough to get you entrenched in rhythms (morning café, long walk through old streets, afternoon pastry, nap and late dinner), long enough to convince you you cannot remember the place you were before, but also long enough for it to seem cruel when you finally have to leave.

red curb

afternoon, montmartre

It’s fun to be an observer, and partial participant, in a foreign country. You get to sit in cafes, unhurried by those needling things like work (though, from the sights of the cafés, this luxury is not limited to tourists) and watch someone else’s world from behind your cafe creme. Except, it is all so much more exciting to you. Everything in France tastes louder: the milk, creamier; the coffee, richer; the chicken, so much more “chickeny” kind of like when Julia Child had her first meal in France, sole meunière (“a morsel of perfection”) and was bowled over by the fact that it tasted so much more like itself. And their butter, oh baby… well, we’ll get to that soon.

jacques bonseargant

rue de tournelles

It is never fun to have to come home–I myself was kicking and screaming through Charles DeGaulle Airport, not only because my Suitcase of French Goodies weighed a ton but because American Airlines had unceremoniously canceled our flight. And people think the French are rude!

la tour eiffel


But do you know what helps? Having a delicious scheduling mishap with your apartment swap partners and having them home when you get there, ready to put out some pate and a French baguette and pour the Sancerre. And while it may be rude to say “even better, after they left…” it is actually true because that was when I finally opened the refrigerator and hot damn. They put Paris in there! Or, at least the Paris that I care about: comté cheese, homemade apricot jam, an apple from one of their parent’s backyard, sausage, coffee and some Poilâne bread and a seeded baguette in the freezer. I thought I had died and gone to a very well-stocked heaven.

Oh, and then I found the pack of Le Beurre Bordier. THUD.

le beurre bordier


One of my biggest French obsessions is salted butter caramel. Sure, we have it here now–heck, even Starbucks is in on it!–but they make it differently there. Much differently. The French always seem to cook their caramels longer, to a dark copper color, none of those golden browns we see here. This is, if you ask me, the secret to great caramel. The lighter colored ones just taste sweet and sticky but the dark ones are nutty and complex with a trace of bitterness. It is amazing what an extra couple minutes of cooking will do.

deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce

After have the most incredibly delicious, rich caramel sauce at the Breizh Cafe Tuesday night–Bretons are famous for both their butter and the dark caramels they make with them–I swore that I would eventually show you all how to make it at home, with or without Breton butter. When I saw that Buerre Bordier in the fridge, “eventually” became “right this very moment.”

caramel misesugar starting to meltgetting darkerperfect

And here we are! I’m not going to go into a lecture about how to make great caramel, because my friend David Lebovitz has already done so better than I ever could (see Ten Tips for Making Caramel and How to Make Perfect Caramel). Instead, I will tell you what you could use this batch for, which is, in short, everything: crepes filled with jam or chestnut creme (you know, if yours hasn’t been confiscated by airport security, not that I am bitter or anything), spread between cookies or, you know, this:

deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream

Just a thought.

[Update] Where we ate in Paris: Since a few have inquired about where we ate, I put the list of restaurants we checked out on a separate page. See it here.

Full album of Paris photos: (Not viewable in RSS)

Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce [Sauce au Caramel au Beurre Salé]

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.

Serve over everything.

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273 comments on paris + a deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce

  1. Oh…I wish we’d have had more than four hours in Paris…definitely need to go back. Your photos are brilliant and I will be making that caramel sauce. So happy I found this blog!

  2. Oh. . .my. . .God.

    That is a killer. Really. The photographs just put me over the edge with that caramel sauce. Honest.

    I’m making a batch this week. You’re darn right, serve over everything! Thanks!

  3. Ann

    Towards the end of a vacation, and especially on the first couples of days back, you realize… regardless of the length of the vacation… it’s not enough time. But, then you have a recipe that can take you back to that place, and suddenly, everything is at least better.

    The caramel looks delicious and I have to try it. Thanks for sharing.

    Oh, and I love the pictures of Paris aswell.

  4. deb

    Hi Stephen — Caramels are made similarly, but also a little differently. They often include a bit of corn syrup as well, as an “interfering agent” so the caramels don’t get too hard. This looks like a nice recipe, however, I’d probably skip the sea salt and just use salted butter. You can let the caramel get as hot as 260 to get a nice, deep color.

  5. Crap I must be a gadget whore. I look through an absolutely gorgeous photoset of Paris, and the thing that sticks in my mind is that your man has a Crumpler bag…..

  6. This post is making me even more thrilled about my upcoming trip to France. I am sooo looking forward to visiting my mom in Paris this New Year’s! Not only do I miss her cuisine, but I will be filling up my suitcase with delicious ingredients as well to bring back and share the feast with friend in Vermont.

    And I agree: French butter is amazing. I like the ones where they add fleur de sel in them.

    The Pontilists

  7. deb

    Tombo — Hilarious. I picked it out, you know. But I am having a little grievance with the Crumpler store wherein you cannot get a refund on a return. We bought a backpack, brought it home, found it did not fit our stuff well, brought it back… and now I will be stuck with a $120 g.c. there, probably forever, because we don’t need anything else! I digress…

    Everyone — I just realized that I didn’t include the list of restaurants we went to. Is anyone interested? They’re mostly low-key places that were recommended by locals…

  8. I love Paris any season.
    It is my favorite city. We only are back a few weeks ago and your photos make me long to go back again SOON!
    The food, the gorgeous women, the architecture, the food and the FOOD!
    I can’t get enough of it.
    Glad you had fun.

  9. deb

    Hi Kelly — I think it would work, although I haven’t tried it. As the caramel cools, it will get thicker and thicker. When it gets to a level that would nicely coat them, go for it. Let the apples cool and set on parchment-lined baking sheets.

  10. Lezel Safi

    Oh, I’m so envious, jealous and all those feelings right now! My beloved surprised me with a trip to Paris last year for our 10 year wedding anniversary and it was so fabulous. Yet, we had to return home to a 1 year old with a bout of a terrible intestinal virus (yes, he started vomitting and the other end the minute we left for the entire time we were gone) and a 3 and 5 year olds with strep throat…the net, net is though I long for those morning cafe cremes and evening champagnes, no one will want to watch our kiddos again for quite sometime! Tres magnifique for y’all and your photos are gorgeous! And the caramels make my mouth water!

  11. Incredible! I cannot express my jealousy in words! Thanks for the wonderful recipe, I am always ruined by recipes requiring a candy thermometer, nice to see this one doesn’t!

  12. That looks incredible. I just made a brownie cake with salted butter caramel and peanuts on top. The cake was fine, but the caramel…is there anything better? Also, your pictures of Paris are gorgeous. I’m counting the days until I get to go back.

  13. Did you happen to do the apartment swap with David Lebovitz? Because it seems like a huge coincidence that he was in NYC while you were in Paris. I would like to think that the entire world of high-profile food bloggers are all best friends, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking…

  14. Your pictures are just incredible. Paris is truly one of the greatest cities in the world – and that’s just based on their food! :) So glad you had a wonderful time and had some goodies to smile about when you got home.

  15. Sara

    Hello, I just tried to make this but I did something wrong! D: I got it to the caramel color okay, but when I dumped in the butter, they completely separated until it looked like peanut butter and melted butter! I added the cream in, hoping it would fix it, but now I have a thin, lumpy looking sauce. Can any one tell me what I did wrong? It looks so good, I have to have it!

  16. deb

    Hi Sara — If cream is cold, it can make the caramel seize back up. Is this what happened? Do not fret! You can just reheat it, and melt it back down while stirring it. Hope that helps.

    Matt — Likewise, darlin’

  17. Dwilah

    This looks really lovely. I love the yellow color of the butter in the photos–beautiful. I actually made some homemade caramels this past weekend and plan on coating them in chocolate. If I can keep myself from eating them plain, anyway. I wasn’t making a butter caramel and it certainly wasn’t with ingredients as awesome as those. But it was molasses and dark brown sugar caramel. I couldn’t get the boiling mixture to get up over 235 degrees–I suspect this might be because I accidentally dropped the (digital meat) thermometer into the vat of lava caramel, but also because I used dark brown sugar instead of what was called for. So as a result I have caramel squares that melt into this awesome saucy stuff in your mouth, and it’s like no other caramels I’ve had before. Anyway long story over, I think this recipe looks great. I am with you on the caramel thing.

  18. Oh Paris! The love of my life! I seriously feel a pang in my heart at the thought of it. I miss it so. It has been too long. And the caramel sauce…. well I would not even be writing this comment if I had good salted butter here! I have only unsalted. Would this work? I have cream… just about the right amount too.

    Lovely blog. I came here for the first time by way of Melissa at Alosha’s Kitchen.

  19. Susan

    Welcome back! The pumpkin brownies were getting stale, I was gonna comment if they were still here this!

    Your pic’s are great. I want to go too. I just ran across a blogger on the gawker that had a recipe for canneles (and I can’t remember which blog it was..damn it!) and was smitten by them. Are you tempted to try making those one day..maybe?

  20. Ahh what an awesome post! I hope I make it to Paris one day. Glad you had a great trip, and thank you for the instructions on making great caramel, can’t wait to try it!

  21. I plan on using often that wonderful phrase of yours–“tastes louder”–during my upcoming trip to Mississippi, i.e. “This buttermilk is the best I ever had–it tastes louder!” You’ll get full attribution, of course.

  22. Jaime

    your pictures are breathtaking! what kind of camera do you use? i LOVE Paris and felt so nostalgic seeing your photos. thank you! =)

  23. Susan

    Gorgeous! I love Paris and discovered Polaine the last time we were there–yum! Your pictures make me want to go back–what kind of camera do you use? The caramel sounds fantastic, there’s nothing better than sweet & savory. May I just say what a cute couple you are! Thanks for your blog, I read it frequently.

  24. Kate

    I went to Brittany three years ago to visit a friend. I ate salted caramel the entire time. Crepes with sel du caramel, Ice Cream with sel du carame… you name it I ate it. Yum yum yum. I’ll be making it for sure! Any tips on whether you could process this to save for later?

  25. Jenny

    Your photos are fabulous! I want to jump into each one.
    Though….the cheese photo really sent me over the edge. Looks. So. Good!

  26. Mihaela

    Oh, Beurre Bordier! Swoon!…And the Poilane cookies! Which American butter/butter that I can find in a good supermarket here do you think could come any close? Thank you!

  27. Amanda

    for now i’ll have to visit Paris vicariously through you and your gorgeous pictures. as someone said before, i really do feel transported while looking at them…everything looks divine but the bread pictures… :O i could almost feel their warmth and smell the yeast! (don’t worry i’m getting help from carbaholics anonymous)
    and as for that caramel… let’s just say there won’t be a naked brownie, banana bread, scoop of ice cream etc. in the house!

  28. The first thing the Mister and I do, when we get to the apartment we borrow in Paris, is to go out to the local little market and get a baguette, some comte, some beurre a fleur de sel, and a bottle of rose (red if it’s winter). Bread and butter: So boring in the US, but it’s the essential taste of Paris for me.

  29. deb

    Vincci — The butter is SO yellow, and so thick. It almost seems like cutting cheese (totally giggling now because I’m apparently seven years old), not butter. The Bretons say they don’t need to use as much water to make butter because of the salt factor; it also stays fresher a bit longer.

    Mihaelia — I see Plurga in a lot of stores these days, a European-style butter, I think they call themselves. It’s pretty darn good. If you can find that, I know that even Land O Lakes is making “creamier” also European-style butters that are richer. I made batches with both the fancy butter and with Whole Foods basic butter, and can assure you it works with both–it simply has a bit more flavor with richer butter.

    Jaime, Susan — Jinx! We use a Canon 40D mostly these day. All of our photo information including a list of our equipment is in this post.

  30. Comte is a thing of beauty; truly one of the things I love most about Europe!

    It was the first cheese I ate upon landing in Europe for the very first time. I was 21 and had just arrived, all ready to do some traveling, prior to starting my studies at the Sorbonne. My boyfriend, at the time, lived in Geneva so I went there first. He went out and bought some beautiful comte, gorgeous wine, the best baguette I had ever tasted, sausages, and grapes. We ate dinner at the small bistro table on the balcony of his rental. And I fell in love. With the cheese.

  31. Liz C.

    I would just die to go to Paris. I don’t know if my husband would be interested, but it seems like a good mother/daughter trip. =)

    and i looooove caramel sauce and have great recipe for caramel rolls. perhaps i will get really extravagant and buy all french butter.

  32. That is gorgeous grass-fed butter! How does the taste of good cultured butter compare to the typical sweet-cream butter we have here in the states? I tried making raw cultured butter a month or so ago, and had a miserable time getting the buttermilk out. This caramel might convince me to try again, now that the kitchen is cooler and the garden is done. :)

  33. Erin

    You mentioned Breton…my family is Breton and we always eat this cake. It is simple and lovely. I can make it in under 10 minutes if the conditions are right in my kitchen (clean…empty sink…empty dishwasher…baby calm or sleeping).

    Gateau Breton


    2 sticks of salted butter SOFTENED
    1 cup white sugar
    5 + 1 egg yolks (5 for the cake batter, one to brush on top of the cake)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 cups all purpose flour

    -Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    -Grease a 10 inch glass pie plate.
    -Mix the butter and sugar together.
    -Mix in the egg yolks until combined.
    -Mix in the vanilla and baking powder.
    -Mix in the flour.
    -Stir until just combined.
    -Put the batter in the pie plate (I wet my hands a little bit to pat it down and smooth it)
    -Take a fork and make a cross-hatch design on the top of the cake. Then brush it with the egg yolk. Or brush first and design second. I can’t figure out which way makes more sense.
    -Bake 45 minutes.
    -Allow to cool before enjoying! Cut into little diamond/trapezoid shapes. Or, be wild and do wedges (my family just can’t seem to do this.)

  34. tina

    Thanks for posting the pics from you Paris trip. I’ll be going there next year and would like to know where the locals go to eat. Also, I baked the coffee crumb cake recipe you posted twice! Everyone that tried it, loved it. =)

  35. Bee

    Paris is great, but there’s so much more to France than Paris, it’s getting exceedingly touristy and not so genuine. I did an exchange programme in a little town called Villefranche-sur-Saone about an hour from Lyon. These rural towns are the REAL France. And the rustic food, mmm…

  36. Tori

    This is like the base to Lebovitz salted caramel ice cream. I licked the pot clean after I made that ice cream, I didn’t think about using it as a dessert sauce. I sense a 10 pound weight gain coming on.

  37. Thank you for sharing this. I love Paris. We are stationed in Germany and have made it to Paris three times. It is a magical place to visit.

    Oh, and your caramel sauce looks fantastic. I am going to have to try this!

  38. Job

    Deb! Welcome back! I just love your pictures! You really know what to capture in the picture, gorgeous leaves, gorgeous husband in Paris ;-), i could almost smell the croissant. I’m really looking forward to my trip in december for holiday shopping.

    Keep up the good work!


  39. Yep, I’d love to hear where you two went to eat. Living here in Paris means I’m always happy to find to new places but always end up at the same couple bistros. Wish I had known earlier and I’d have given you a couple of my favorites. But glad you enjoyed yourself.

  40. Oh, fantastic! The photos are just perfect, capturing the essence of Paris in each frame. I used to go so often and now it has been too long. Your shared memories confirm this.

  41. Sarah

    Welcome back, Deb!! We all missed you, even with your great guest bloggers and very thoughtful magical posts that appeared during the week. I’d love to hear about your meals, just to live vicariously through you. Seoul has great street food (did you see the nytimes article?), but it isn’t so big on salted butter caramel sauce…at least not yet!

  42. This is not fair. REALLY. The photos and the food and the attitude… I’m ready to go. I’m not sure I would’ve ever breathed like a normal person while I was there, what with all the gasping and fainting and such. Food does that to me in my own kitchen. Way better food in Paris? Follow me with a gurney, baby.

  43. I’m glad you both had a wonderful stay in paris.
    I had the best chocolate cake EVER this summer at the Ile de Ré (where they produce the fleur de sel). You could definitively taste a hint of salted butter caramel. I was trying to figure out the recipe (my 3rd attempt was very close) but I kind of forgot about it then. Your post just put me back on the right track. I hope to share the recipe soon!

  44. Pami

    You know, if you want these food you found in Paris, there’s always mail order. God bless the internet! Finding things are so much easier in this world than they used to be. I’ve been buying things from Great Britain like clotted cream and some of the good things they have.

  45. basketpam

    I’d be interested in hearing more about this house exchange you did. Did you go through an organization or did you know these people privately? Over all how was your experience? I’ve been seriously thinking about doing this ever since I saw the movie, The Holiday, where the two single women exchanged their two homes over Christmas.

  46. Oh, and btw, if you think that the mail will not be confiscated, we can try to make an arrangement so that I send you the food you want from France.
    Did you have the chance to go to G. Detou?

  47. I am soooooo jealous! Your photos are amazing and it looks like you had a wonderful time. If you have the time, I for one would love a list of the restaurants you went to, or where you stayed… to put in my folder of ideas for when I next manage to make it over there.

  48. c’est magnifique!

    this post made me so homesick for france. I didn’t grow up there or anything, but when I went for the first time earlier this year, I felt like I was finally home. Everything there is so perfect.

    That butter. god do I miss it. and the crepes, and the chicken & potatoes from the street markets, and the pains au chocolate, and croissants, the foie gras, wine, Berthillon, etc.

    I could ramble for hours.

    Thank you for sharing the caramel recipe… however, for me to truly enjoy that, I would have to be eating it with a waffle topped with ice cream and the caramel sauce, a gaufre royal- which was the one thing I miss the most from france, I think.

    oh, and YES! how i loved sitting at a cafe and people watching. I was amazed at how much the people in paris live to live rather than live to work. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could.

  49. Nicole M

    Welcome back! The photos are simply amazing and make me want to head to Paris right now. And wow…I’ve never seen butter like that! I’m going to have to seek out some decent butter and make this for dipping apple slices leftover from the tarte tatin. I’ve seen that Irish butter in the store but have never tried it. Do you think it would work?

  50. I really loved what you wrote about being an observer. That is, I think, one of the most wonderful things of being on vacation, getting to sit in cafes or walk down streets with people who have responsibilities you’ve escaped from for a while.

    Beautiful photos! Ah, Paris!

  51. Lindsay

    I’m so jealous – j’adore Paris! I was there 4 years ago and can’t wait to go back. Thanks for sharing your spectacular pictures!

  52. Melody C.

    Yes on the restaurant list! We’re currently living in England and will get to Paris, if not for Christmas, sometime in the new year. Neighborhood places are our favorites!

  53. The Teen Chef

    Yes please on the resturant list and serious OH MY GOODNESS those pictures are beautiful I so wish I could go and I plan on making the carmel and using it in my attempt at making a caramel machiatto! thanks

  54. Beth

    SMACK! (Crams cheap, packaged caramels into face). I have never been to France, and can’t go any day soon. Glad that you (Deb and Alex) at least made it! Yes, yes…tell us all about the restaurants and…SMACKS HEAD (mrrfff) I need more of those damned caramels…sorry. C’est la vie – Bastardized French for we require more of that amazingly good butter.

  55. oh, and please share your restaurant list…

    and I forgot- the macarons! oh, how I love those. I found a place here that has them, but its not the same as eating them in paris. :)

  56. WOW. I was just trying to decide what sort of cake to make and your caramel decided it. Date cake it is. With caramel and whipped cream on the side. BTW, these pictures of Paris are more beautiful than any of the stock photos I’ve seen of Paris. You capture the feeling beautifully.

  57. Susan

    This sauce is SO good. It sure isn’t like the caramel sauces you buy, it’s so much richer and deeper in color and flavor..and so smooth too. You really have to have everything ready to add to the sugar once it’s browned..cuz it needs to go together pretty fast at that point.

    Thanks for this Deb..My previous attempts were okay, but I wasn’t browning the sugar quite enough, nor cooking the butter into it enough either.

  58. Glad you discovered Bordier! I happened to be in Brittany a few weeks ago, and I stumbled on the mothership, complete with a Musee du Buerre. Fabulous, as is his rice pudding with a top layer of salted butter caramel on top.
    So I suppose I’d lucky to live 5 minutes away from a Bordier source, and 20 minutes walk from Breizh Cafe (it is great, isn’t it). But you have bagels. And I think I like bagels more than butter.

  59. Heidi

    Welcome home.
    Wonderful post. I’m trying to figure out how to use that caramel sauce in some type of cookie recipe……..any suggestions?

  60. Awww I miss Paris now! Looks like you had a blast, and your apartment swap people hooked you up :) What a good idea for traveling…I’ve never considered that. Sounds like it’s worth it!

  61. Maddy

    beautiful pics! who takes them, they look so professional!!!

    also, my friend erin and i are obsessed with your site and we’re wondering when your cookbook is coming out?!

  62. I was so resistant to Paris the first time I went (far too cliche) but I couldn’t help falling in love my second time around. I’m so glad you had a good time! And thanks for this delicious looking/sounding caramel recipe. The French always know the best way to do things.

  63. I am positively smitten with you. Caramel on my first visit.

    It brings back the 3rd degree burn on my right pointer finger of last year during “The Great Caramel Fiasco” (that turned out fabulously).

    You make me want to try again. This time, without the burns.

  64. Johanna

    I made this today and poured it over a pear gingerbread cake that was in the Natural Health magazine. The cake was so healthy that I needed to add something to serve it. So I served it warm with some of our really good local ice cream and this sauce over it. My guests were practically licking their plates clean! Thanks again for an amazing recipe.

  65. Amy

    OhHHHHH!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the pictures. They delivered a teensy bit of satisfaction to the part of my heart that misses France by the second.

    I tried a salted butter caramel sauce in Tours, France at a little creperie that was run by a cute old couple. It was incredible. You’re right. It’s just not the same anywhere else.

    Thank you again for sharing. I’m pretty sure my friend Jen and I will be making this at our next culinary get together.

  66. Oh Deb! Your photos came just at the right time. Overworked and in need of a vacation, these Paris pictures will surely see me through another day. Thank you for sharing such a lovely trip. And the caramel…. looks perfectly dreamy!

  67. Wren

    I have been waiting for your Paris post all week. And it was worth the wait. Great, really great photos. Are you putting any of these on SmugMug? I am interested in purchasing a couple shots.

  68. Eliza

    Lovely photos from a lovely trip! I’m absolutely going to spend a romantic afternoon in the kitchen today with salted butter caramel, thank you.
    A non-food question: Did you use one of those apartment-exchange websites or did you use Craigslist? Seems like you had kind of an ideal house-swap experience.

  69. I am not complaining or anything. In fact, on the contrary. There’s just too much yums here to be verbally coherent. I just love Paris! So I’ll return to gawking until I can smuggle a trip there… soon!

  70. Deb – do not get freaked out by this, but I think you are probably the coolest person I know and I want to be you. And I realized we’ve never met. And I’m also the WASPiest WASP soccer-mom and I live in Connecticut and you’d probably never go for this, but want to trade places? Sigh, I didn’t think so. But thanks for letting me dream about it for a few minutes. I’ll be back later today to drool over this post a little bit more.


  71. Janet

    Welcome home! Perfect timing for this post, as next week I’m off to Paris ofr a month. Thanks for posting some of the restaurants you went to — I will check some out. Although, knock wood, I haven’t had a bad meal in Paris yet!

  72. JB

    Deb – your Paris photos are absolutely stunning. Thanks so much for sharing! And you’ve inspired me to make salted caramels to give away during the holidays. Thanks, as always, for such a lovely, inspirational blog.

  73. Caroline

    De-lurking to comment on the restaurant post – the store selling American products (“Lousiana” stuff and Jell-O) was most likely filled with ex-pat Americans. I lived in Paris for 6 years (boy, do I miss it) and you would be surprised how much you’d be willing to pay for some marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate bars and graham crackers when you never get them! The lines in that place go out the door when it nears Thanksgiving. Now I’m in New York, pining away for the Bastille market and shelling out $20 for Epoisses cheese…the grass is always greener :) Unsolicited resto suggestions: Next time you visit, try La Plancha (a Basque tapas place on rue Keller which is smaller than many closets) and Le Bistrot du Peintre on Ledru Rollin. They are a couple of my favorites for ambiance and food. Bon appetit!

  74. Rose

    When my husband and I returned from our holiday in England this summer, airport security confiscated my homemade lemon marmalade from the farmer’s market in Whitstable, Kent. I was extremely upset!

    Great post!

  75. Michele In Maine

    Delurking to say I went home and made your caramel sauce on my lunch hour! I’m sitting here with a spoon and I swear I could eat the whole batch! That’s what I want for my last meal…..

  76. I was just totally confused by the Barack Obama poster. Like, Hey, that’s like prime election time. Not the time to chill over in Paris, dude.

    But I got that figured all out. ;)

  77. wes

    Like everyone else, I was waiting anxiously for your return with more recipes. I just watched a show about making candies, and now this caramel sauce…yum! I can’t wait.

  78. Duchess

    You brought tears to my eyes. The last time I was in Paris I was 17. Lord, how I miss Europe!!! I will most definitly be trying out the salted butter caramel sauce recipe this weekend. I love caramel and have always made it with unsalted butter…. never thought to use salted. I just happen to have several blocks of salted butter in my fridge and have been looking for a way to use it. And what a glorious way to use it!! :P

  79. Dan

    Thanks! I was going to simply take my point n’ shoot on our trip to Paris, but your photos may have convinced me otherwise, assuming I can find the funds to get another lens to compliment my own cheapy 50mm.

  80. i agree with you about dark slightly bitter caramel. you cannot be a wimp. and you shouldn’t look away even for a few seconds, great caramel needs all your attention. yum. great pictures, too.

  81. Xavier

    After reading this post, I was excited to finally make my own caramel au beurre salé. I bought some “European” style butter, as advised: Strauss organic European style butter, 85% butterfat. I made an apple galette and whipped up some cream with vanilla. I made the caramel as your instructions led me,the texture and color came out right, but the taste was *awful*! I think there is something wrong with the Straus butter, or with my tastebuds. I can’t describe the taste, except that it doesn’t taste butter-like. Maybe “chemically”. I tried the butter on its own, and I could confirm that the source of the off-taste in the caramel is definitely the butter. Tried it on bread: terrible! Has anyone tried this brand and can you confirm whether or not it has a “unique” taste that I’m not sophisticated enough to appreciate? I read that Straus was Thomas Keller’s favoried brand. I’m really disappointed, as my apple desert was ruined and now I have a ton of this useless caramel sauce sitting in my fridge. Not enough cream leftover to make another batch with good ‘ol Land-o-Lakes. I’ll give it another try sometime when I can spare the calories.

  82. Alisa

    I have actually been living in bretagne (brittany? take your pick) for the semester. The butter IS better, but damn, living near so many biscuiteries, boulangeries, and chocolatiers, the dairy and butter really start getting to you after a month or so. I bet a few days after I return to the states, I’ll be saying the opposite, but oh man, I would die for some boring, plain food right now. (life is tough)

  83. As an avid traveler (and continually broke college student),I too would like to know more about your apartment exchange. Did you go through an organization? if you did, do you ever worry about coming back and finding your things missing? or did you exchange with someone you knew?

  84. I read that you ate at Bistro Paul Bert which is in the same street of the cookery bookshop, La Cocotte where I bake cakes. Great restaurant, well actually all the restaurants in the street are super tasty.

  85. magicfish

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Deb for the beautiful photos……I was transported back to the magical Paris that I love as I viewed every one!

  86. Elyse

    Hmm.. do you think I could use this sauce in the cranberry, caramel and almond tarts? I love a little salty in my desserts :) I cut myself making caramels into squares a few years ago and had to get stitches (!) so I am sort of terrified of making caramel anymore lol.

  87. Karen

    This was incredible. I splurged on good butter – not sure exactly the difference that fact made – but the result was impeccable. Per David Lebowitz’s suggestions, I left the caramel on the heat until it was the coppery color of an often spent penny. Caramel has always been my favorite, but I never had had the real stuff before. I ate some immediately over bourbon vanilla ice cream with pecans and stirred the rest into espresso brownie batter for a marbled effect. When the brownies cooled, the caramel solidified nicely into the perfect chewy consistency. Both uses proved divine.

  88. ruby

    This is a personal question and if you are happy to respond you can use my email, but I am desperate to get over to Paris, especially after reading your experiences and David Lebovitz’s blog. The problem is I don’t know how much to budget for. Could you loosely tell me approximately how much you spend in total when taking a 4-day or 8-day trip to Paris? It would really help my planning. With many thanks, Ruby

    1. deb

      Unfortunately, no, I cannot be much help — we did not keep a running tally. If you’re looking to work within a budget, there are many books and sites out there about getting through Paris on the cheap. Food (well, compared to NYC at least) is less expensive; there’s no reason to break the bank. If you’re staying in an apartment, no reason not to stock the fridge instead of going out for every meal.

  89. Wow, I just made this caramel sauce and it’s amazing! I made a flourless chocolate torte and ate them together, yum! The sauce was really quick to make.

  90. Lynn

    HI There

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS on your bundle of joy!

    Second………wow what an AWESOME caramel recipe and so easy.I’ve made 2 batches so far. The first just I followed the recipe for the second I added a lot of vanilla extract and some salt. I had been using unsalted butter. Did I mention how AWESOME this recipe is! Thanks so much. I just love your site and I just LOVE NYC!


  91. Sarah

    I’m a new reader and just randomly stumbled upon this post and it left me daydreaming of the trip my husband and I took to Paris in October of 2007. The autumn light was just incredible and your photos are gorgeous. Oh how I miss it!
    But we were so very lucky to have brought home the best souvenir ever — our son, born in July 08. He had the same shock of beautiful dark hair at birth as your gorgeous son.
    Thank you for the walk down memory lane.

  92. Damon

    I’m making this again tonight — made it last year as a component in a very successful tart, and I’m doing the same, and making extra so I can have some on ice cream.

    This was such a ridiculously delicious recipe for something so easy.

  93. Melanie

    I just made this recipe and it has a slightly burnt taste, but is edible. Is it supposed to taste this way? Once the sugar melted it began to foam up and darken very quickly so I removed it from the heat, but it still got quite dark. I proceeded to add the butter and cream, but it did not foam at that point. The sauce was smooth already, so I cooked it a little longer but it didn’t foam, so I took it off the heat.

  94. Amy

    Mine flopped too, with the burnt/chemical-like taste. It was fine on ice cream, though, which makes me think that it’s just not sweet enough for me on its own. I like my desserts sugary. Oh well.

  95. Pam

    Deb, I found your website last fall when for some reason I was craving apple cider doughnuts, even though I had never had one before. I made this carmel last week and you are right, you can eat it on anything..or nothing(as in my finger everytime I pass the container in the fridge) a couple days before I made the carmel I had made your breakfast apple granola… you see where I am going with this don’t you. The granola does not need anything it was fantastic just the way it was .. but if you happen to have some carmel.. Oh and the doughnuts were great too. Thanks for such a great blog, I have made more than a dozen of your recipies and not been disapointed.

  96. Laura

    Dewicious! Put over our valentines dessert, giant cookie with your hot fudge recipe and vanilla ice cream. So decadent, I called and raved about it to my sister. thanks for another good one :)

  97. salted caramel is the greatest thing about the bretagne region.. even the salted caramel liqueur is amazing! i miss paris badly, though i never ate at any of the places you did while i was living there. the cooking philosophy over there is so wonderfully refreshing! i’ll definitely be trying this recipe for myself. and those stupid airport people and your poor crème de marrons!

  98. Shannon O’Connell

    Incredible!!! I just made this for me and my hubby. Tasted great! I only had unsalted butter, so I added a little pink sea salt (I know, I know, but it was $1.99 at Trader Joes!. I’m thinking of making jars of this to give out at Easter.

  99. Abigail

    I discovered your blog while living in Brittany (aka beurre sale heaven) and now that I’m home I hope to try this recipe once my jar of the authentic stuff runs out. Also, it was you that inspired me to go find the caramel ice cream at Berthillon on my way home. An excellent choice. Thank you!

  100. Hi. In a related post you advised a person to use corn syrup when making caramels. I would suggest that you to try using Lyle’s Golden Syrup, a product far superior to corn syrup in both flavor and “mouth-feel” (and, I suppose, health too), and it performs the same function in the caramels as does corn syrup. My wife and I used to use corn syrup in our caramels, but now that we’ve switched over, we’ll never go back! The improvement is palpable.

  101. Wilson


    I just found your website, thanks to Trish Deseine, and will be spending a great amount of time reading. A suggestion regarding links to other pages. Might it be possible to have the link open in a new page instead of the current page. Yes I know I could right-click and select open in a new window/tab, yet sometimes the easiest of functions are those first forgotten.

    Warmest regards,


  102. Hi there,
    I was wondering if you could “can” the salted caramel sauce the way you would jam and if that would keep it safe to save for a while and give to people as gifts…

  103. wes

    I am making this today for a three-tiered cheesecake wedding cake. Actually I’m making it for the second time right now since I wasn’t prepared and burned the first batch of sugar. Now I know to be prepared; it turns really quickly. I’m not a decorator, but my niece asked me to bake her wedding cake, and she bought the ingredients, but I just couldn’t put her ice cream topping caramel on the cheesecake, so here I am, making your salted caramel sauce.

  104. Melanie

    Elissa, it is not safe to can with butter, as far as I know. I believe there was a note about it on this site regarding the butterscotch sauce. I know it’s not safe to can with olive oil.

  105. Just nearly doubled this — using about 1 3/4 c of sugar because i only had 3/4 c. of cream. I kinda winged it (yes, I HAVE heard someone say “wung it” for the past tense) and used about 10 Tbs. of butter. I tossed in a scant tsp. of fleur de sel and Oh, sweet mama but this stuff is frighteningly good! I’ll never buy a jar of inferior, overly sweet caramel for my caramelitas recipe again! Thanks, Deb!

  106. Matt

    Hi, Have you been able to bring French butter back the the US/through customs? I’m planning a trip and would kill to be able to bring some back with me, but I can’t quite figure out the rules on the customs website. For whatever reason (ok, because of this post), I thought you might be the person to ask…

  107. Kathy in St. Louis

    I made a quart of this last weekend as part of a dessert bar for my visiting family last week, and then they ran late and couldn’t come after all — so now I have a quart of caramel in the refrigerator door. I can think of worse things in life.

    My variation this time around was to add a healthy dose of apple cider to the cooking portion (and to cut back on the sugar to account for it) and to the final product. The final result was not only properly tinged with smoke and bitterness, but with a brightness from the apple cider. Wow — the best caramel I’ve made yet.

  108. Lindsey

    I made this earlier today to drizzle on top of cupcakes for a Halloween party (actually, the spiced applesauce cake you published earlier this week). It came out RUNNY. Delicious, but the consistency of caramel-flavored milk. What went wrong???

  109. Anne

    After receiving this wonderful caramel last year as a gift, I in turn made it and gave it as gifts. The flavor is intense and lovely! I will absolutely make it again this year.

  110. Terry

    My first try at caramel and it came out perfectly. I followed Deb’s directions to the letter. I think having the cream at room temp is key. I added a small pinch of kosher salt with the cream because I like a little more salt than what is in the butter. I was making it for a gift but now I have to go to the store for more cream because I’m keeping it – it’s MINE! All MINE! LOL!

  111. I made a half-recipe of this a couple of nights ago. Melting sugar over the stove until it’s dark and coppery still scares me a little bit. My trusty saucepan retains *a lot* of heat even when taken off the flame, so I’m always afraid that things will go from perfect to burnt just as I put in the butter. So, rather than living dangerously, when the sugar was getting in the right neighbourhood, I turned the heat to low and let the sugar cook a little slower, tasting every now and then until I thought it couldn’t take anymore heat. When I added the butter and cream, I had to whisk with the flame on again to get things to come together, but it worked! And sandwiched between macaron shells, the caramel was fantastic–a big hit with my friends today!

  112. JitLee

    Must. Resist.
    I just made a batch of this sauce (in about 10 minutes, I might add), and was REALLY tempted to stick a finger in the sauce to taste the darned thing.

  113. Katrina

    Just made this. Heaven on earth!!! Was licking out the pan.
    The 1st time I made it, I burnt the sugar. It was great, but the bitterness was a little too much.
    This time, perfect.
    Sigh… Must not eat anymore off a spoon…

  114. Alex

    Just made this sauce to pour on top of your blondies (one of my go-to recipes from your blog.) It’s amazing. I am selling them at a bake sale tomorrow to benefit our elementary school playground and I know they are just going to fly. Thank you!

    BTW, I was in Brooklyn last month and thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if you had a booth at the flea market in Fort Greene? Maybe next time.

  115. Deb – I’d like to add a caution to anyone who’s planning on storing this before using it…make sure you’ve preheated your glass jar with hot, hot water AND dried it out thoroughly before pouring the hot caramel into it. =) Or you can avoid the danger by letting the caramel cool for a while first. Even supposedly tempered-glass jars have shattered when I pour hot syrups into them…gaaaaah. Silly science.

  116. Heather J

    This just rocked my world. It’s not sickening sweet like the jarred stuff, and could not have been easier. I just made enough to drizzle over our apple dumplings we made after apple picking tonight; I used 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 generous tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of almond milk, and it was divine. I can’t believe how quickly it came together. I’ll never buy caramel sauce again. Thank you!

  117. Bonnie Pierce

    i must be a complete tard. I did EXACTLY what the recipe said….i stood there for 15 minutes stirring plain sugar and nothing would happen. SO i finally added a drizze of water to make it start bubbling and turn into a liquid form…….then it stayed white and bubbly and then all the water evaportated and i was right back to square one. NO amber color not even a light TAN….i went ahead and threw in the butter and the cream…now i have yellow sauce bubbling. what is WRONG with me?????????

  118. Bonnie Pierce

    yep, i just successfully made 30 minute penuche frosting with sugar granules. I messed up bad.. please advise where i went wrong? BTW…your peanut butter choco chip cookies are a hit everywhere i go. i make them WAY too much but ppl are so appreciative :)

  119. This is DELICIOUS, made two batches today and can not believe how easy this was and how over the top it is. I also loved your salted crispy oatmeal cookies. Your blog is a gift and I just love it. THANK YOU!!!

  120. Damon

    I just made this, yet again. On the rare occasions I’m willing to share any with others, people tend to ask about the recipe. I always credit this blog, but I’d be curious if it’s adapted from elsewhere so I can give ‘full disclosure’.

    1. deb

      Hi Damon — I always, always, always list if I have adapted a recipe from elsewhere. Here, I did not. But I didn’t invent caramel sauce either! I just have my own proportions and techniques that I’m fond of.

  121. Jeni

    This recipe is the BEST caramel recipe I have come across. I am a huge fan of all Dabid Lebovits’s recipes, and your notes to add the perfect high quality salted butter made a tremendous difference. I am in caramel heaven over here. Thank you!

  122. Hi Deb! I love your blog to pieces and anytime anyone asks me, “Do you have a recipe for ____?” I always say “Go to this blog. You will never have to ask anyone for a recipe again.”
    I want to make a salted caramel to incorporate into buttercream. Do you think this has the right viscosity to mix in well without thinning it too much?


  123. deb

    I haven’t tried to make one but I do fear it could be too wet. It seems safest to pick a frosting intended to hold caramel, like a caramel frosting (Martha and many others have versions). Good luck!

  124. Reporting back: I reduced the cream added by 2 tablespoons so it was slightly thicker and it went into the buttercream like a dream. It is this beautiful pale caramel colour and is still holding its shape very well. I love that the dark colour of the caramel just leaves a tiny bite of bitterness and salt among all the sugary creaminess of the buttercream. I want to say I put almost the whole recipe in, but I’m afraid that’s misleading because every time I came back into the kitchen as it was cooling, there seemed to be a couple of new caramel-covered spoons in the sink. Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  125. Erica

    Sigh. Today’s apple tart reference made me download your Paris restaurant listing. Going to France for a milestone birthday next year. My birthday is July 6 – when most countries (including hometown NYC) are in tourist overload (lol), so I’m considering Paris for early spring or the Fall like you did. Thanks for the restaurant list! Any updates from Parisian travelers/natives are greatly appreciated!

  126. I adore your perspective in your photos, bright colors and great focus with perfect composition. Makes me want to spend the day in the kitchen with brighty colored pots and pans cooking and humming the French national anthem. Just found your blog and can’t wait for your next post!

  127. euy

    This caramel sauce is AWESOMESAUCE. i made it for the first time and put it on top of banana bread (from simplyrecipes) and it made it really gorgeous. Also put it on top of your apple mosaic tart cos I couldn’t be bothered to make a separate sauce. i used brown sugar as I didn’t have any white on hand, and added rum into the mix to thin it a bit more. it’s got the right amount of bitterness that’s just non-burnt, and isn’t too sweet – perfect for slapping on top of slightly tart fruit desserts – i use it as icing and just freeze portions of the cake/pastry for tea-time and dessert cravings. thanks! :)

  128. amoeba

    Found the recipe today and just had to make it immediately tonight, though I don’t even have anything to serve it with (apart from a spoon, which works fine for me!)

    When I was in France last year, I had a crepe with a sauce exactly like that and have been craving it ever since. If I’d known before that it would be so easy to make at home…

    Although cooking something from just sugar, butter and creme did seem a little weird, but who cares… ;)

  129. Laura

    BEST E.V.E.R.! Made it at Christmas for gifts for my gourmet group, then made it again for Homemade Ice-Cream Sundaes on the 4th of July. Just really rocks. I add a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt in at the end for that periodic crunch of salt… So good.

  130. Hillary B

    I made this yesterday to serve over ice cream and it was AMAZING! Absolutely amazing. I thought that I had messed it up when I added the cream and it appeared to seize up on me (even though the cream was at room temperature) but then after continuing to stir it for several minutes, it smoothed out and came together nicely. I poured it into glass jars and brought over to a friend’s house for a delicious dessert topping! I am going to make your mom’s Apple Cake this week for Yom Kippur and serve this sauce on the side! I will make this over and over again.

  131. Susan

    I just made a (another) batch of this to drizzle over some apple cheesecake bars. It’s so stinkin good!

    BTW…for anyone worried about pouring the hot caramel into a glass jar, put a spoon into the storage jar before you pour the caramel sauce into it. It dissipates the heat enough to keep the glass from shattering. Leave it in until the sauce cools some, about 10 minutes. (A tip I got from a restaurant when ordering iced tea. They served a (heavy) glass full of ice with an ice tea spoon in it and an individual pot of screaming hot water with a tea bag steeping in it so you could pour your own single glass of fresh iced tea)

  132. rupi d

    I was looking for the perfect caramel sauce recipe and turns out there are pretty much no two alike. I made the mistake of doubting yours for being too simple! After wasting good butter and cream on a recipe that was terrible, I tried your “simple” version and it is perfect. I’ve been using your recipes for years, how could I doubt you??

  133. LSS

    This may be an unexpected question, but I live in a small village in Turkey at the moment and it’s surprisingly hard to find salted butter for baking. “Breakfast butter” has salt, but also has a hint of cheesy flavor to it, so I avoid it for baking. Is it possible to use unsalted butter and add in a certain amount of regular table salt to achieve the same result here?

  134. Eleanor

    Long, long time reader, first time commenter! People don’t even ask me where I find my delicious recipes anymore because the answer is inevitably the same! Question; my local providore sells salted caramel sauce which they store at room temperature, presumably for longer than two weeks. A glance at the ingrediants reveals no preservatives, just the usual suspects of cream, sugar, butter, salt etc. I would love to make bottled salted caramel sauce to give as gifts to colleagues and neighbours and imagine they will have to be left on desks, doorsteps etc. and a few under the tree for emergency gifts. so no refrigeration. Do you have any suggestions as to why the providore sauce does not require refrigeration but every other recipe does? I realise this recipe was posted quite some time ago but would love your thoughts :) Making your french roast chicken from your book for dinner tonight and I can’t wait!

    1. deb

      Eleanor — Is it vacuum-sealed/canned? If so, that might be what they did to make it safe at room temperature. However, I understand that dairy products aren’t safe for canning, so hm… yeah, I’m not sure.

  135. Jane Herriott

    Deb, GO to Brittany next time you go to France! I went to France for two weeks after graduation just this past June–about 6 days in paris, 4 in Provence, and 4 in Brittany. Brittany was the highlight! We did St. Malo and the Gulf of Morbihan. I had the best oysters I’ve ever had in my life in Quiberon and about swooned when the waiter pointed (basically) across the street when I asked where they were from. Brittany is oysters, caramel, milk, beer and Calvados. What else do you need?

  136. Ashley

    Hello! I know this recipe is a bit older, but I wanted to tell you how much I absolutely love it. The sauce it great for everything from ice cream, to cookies and even in coffee. I love its smooth texture, and how it’s not grainy at all even once it cools.

    I was curious, would there be anyway to adapt this into a caramel candy? I imagine cooking it to around 250/260 degrees once the cream is added might work, but I’m not sure. Most caramel recipes I find are just not caramel-y enough for my liking, and I like my caramel dark like this recipe!

    Thank you so very much – I really love your blog and aspire to someday have one too! :)

    Best Regards,


    1. deb

      Hi Ashley — Thank you. I believe cooking it firmer is the first part, but it’s also possible less cream would be needed for a candy. Definitely you could use any other caramel candy recipe that firms up well, and use this cooking technique (cooking it darker, etc.) when making it. Good luck! (Also, yes, I’m really overdue to put a proper salted butter caramel candy recipe on this site, I know!)

  137. Payal

    Hi Deb, I realise this recipe was eons ago and you may not be responding to questions but on the offchance you do – or someone else who has tried it does – can I use this caramel sauce to coat your earlier caramel cake recipe instead of the glaze you used on that one. Would this coat and absorb well into the cake layer or is there any reason to stick to the original. I like the complexity of salted caramel far more than the sweetness of traditional caramel so would love to make the switch.

    1. deb

      Payal — I definitely think you can use this, or, use the proportions of butter and salt here to make the amount recommended in the Caramel Cake. Enjoy!

  138. cindy

    Hi Deb,
    I’m making the Chocolate Cupcakes with salted caramel filling……which caramel recipe do you prefer for the cupcakes? This or the other?

  139. Cat

    Made this last night. I only had some Trader Joes “organic” sugar that was really “evaporated cane juice” and not the usual straight-up white sugar. Got some slightly fancy butter imported from Denmark and some good cream from a dairy farm across the state.

    Unfortunately, despite a lot of stirring, some of my sugar hardened onto the corners of the saucepan. It also browned almost immediately when it melted, possibly because it was basically raw sugar rather than regular white sugar. I think because not all the sugar melted into the caramel, when I added the butter and cream, the ratio was a little high. So the sauce came out quite thin, even when it cooled. Also, the butter didn’t really stir all the way in, but left a little bit of a slick on top. I finally added the cream anyway, and then the sauce came together.

    It is, however, totally delicious and sort of tastes like English toffee. Because it is destined for ice cream, the thin consistency is probably fine, as it means it will not need to be as warm to be pourable, and won’t harden into that unchewable consistency when it hits the cold ice cream.

    Next time (oh yes, there will be one) I will check how much of the sugar didn’t melt into the caramel and scale back the butter/cream slightly to adjust.

  140. Hi Deb, I have made this many times, it really is the best and so easy. I made it yesterday and it turned out different, this batch got a little plastic-y on ice cream. Could that be from the butter or cream? I usually use Kerrygold butter but was out and used a local organic sweet cream butter instead but I also noticed a bit of heavy cream left in the measuring cup after. I’m hoping I can reheat the sauce and adjust it but I’m not sure which to add, butter or cream. Thanks.

    1. deb

      wendy — It’s hard to say. What do you mean by plastic-y? Did it firm up? (This is expected, caramel firms when cool.) But if it seemed plasticy in another way, it might be something else. Hope to help.

  141. Maro

    oof, this sauce nearly bested me twice.

    the first night, i made it and all my sugar crystallized, then finally melted. then i added butter and it completely separated. i didn’t want to waste the cream, too, so i tossed the butter/sugar. stupidly. before reading comments and your helpful replies.

    so last night i tried again, tried low temp instead, stirring the whole time (boy, is the internet divided on the stir-vs-no-stir issue) and had an even rougher go with crystallization — it took forever to finally melt, and even then i had some bitty sugar lumps that i had to strain out at the end. but i kept going, past the inevitable butter/sugar separation, stirring until my arm wanted to fall off, then adding the cream and stirring for another unholy amount of time to get it almost completely smooth.

    but it tastes amazing, so i guess it’s all worth it. can’t wait to try it on the blood orange (and mango) tart this weekend!

  142. deb

    So, on the stir vs. no-stir, from what I understand, you’re not supposed to stir caramels that start with water and sugar. The water causes crystallization. I prefer dry caramels for this reason (no water), and haven’t experience crystallization. I wonder if by crystallization, it might have just been clumps that hadn’t melted yet? There’s always a couple that are pesky and resist — using the spoon to break them up smaller and smaller can help them melt before it gets too dark. I hope that helps.

  143. Sally

    I make this *ALL* the time and it is foolproof. I usually make it w. unsalted butter and add 1/2 a heaping teaspoon fleur de sel at the end. I’ve made many, many caramel sauces, and this is the easiest AND the best – by far! Thank you!

  144. jeanne

    I’m wondering how this will turn out with fresh goat milk instead of the cream. I’m looking all over for a salted caramel sauce recipe for goat milk.

  145. Malinda

    I’d like to make about 5x this recipe to give for gifts- do you think I can make a mega-batch, or should I do smaller batches to avoid trouble?

  146. Fran

    This looks delicious! I’m looking for a salted caramel to top a chocolate cake – would this sauce work if I poured it on the cake when cooled a bit? Or would it soak in/run off?

  147. Jess

    I’m not a candy maker by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve failed at making rock candy. Yes, the same stuff made by grade schoolers to show how crystals form. My candy making attempts have resulted primarily in lots of cursing and even a couple nasty burns.

    So when I saw this recipe I thought, “No way is it that easy,” and rolled my eyes hard enough that I nearly strained a muscle. However, I really wanted caramel sauce so I shushed my dissenting thoughts and made the recipe. It came out perfect. It really and truly turned into the best caramel sauce I have ever had. Granted, I did run it through a mesh strainer because I don’t trust my skills in dissolving every last crystal but that is a minor extra step.

    I figured it had to be a fluke so of course I had to try making it again. And then again. And… I’ve made it enough times at this point that not only do I confidently serve it to others and give it away as gifts, but I’ve even dared to play with it just a little. I’ve successfully added vanilla to it (a tsp stirred into the cream). I’ve also added just a touch of cinnamon to it (didn’t measure but it was just a small amount added at the same time as the butter). My favorite though was when I added a tblsp of maple syrup to the sugar as it was melting. That got poured over a spice cake and was amazing. This sauce is amazing and I’ve found it pretty easy to add small variations to it so it fits with whatever I need it to.

    Thank you so much for a recipe that is genuinely as easy as the recipe makes it seem.

  148. Laura Hipps

    What happened? We followed the recipe exactly – the caramel looked and smelled wonderful, but it had a very bitter taste. Any thoughts/suggestions??

    1. deb

      Bitter usually means the sugar cooked too long/burned slightly. All good caramel has a very faint bitterness from the toasted sugar, but if prominent, again, I’d say it burned a little.

  149. Tangela

    help me…..when I added the butter and the cream—the liquified sugar seized up and hardened? I kept whisking and some of the clumps dissolved but I was left with almost 1/2 cup of semi hard candy. What did I do wrong?

  150. I made this last night to mix with raspberry jam for you neapolitan cake. I’m still waiting for the cake to “age,” but this was delicious, both on its own and mixed with jam in about a 1:1 ratio.

    I was worried about heating just sugar in a pot, but it did melt down better than I thought it would. Even though my cream was at room temp it did cause the caramel to clump a little when added. I just put it back on low heat and kept stirring until it became smooth again. It seemed really thin, but as soon as it cooled it was perfect! I did add a generous pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla as well.

    Thanks for this recipe!

  151. Holly Keyes

    Just made this for some xmas gifts. One batch filled two 250 ml mason jars nicely. The recipe worked well and was very easy but melting the sugar in the pot took a little faith and patience. I might add a splash of vanilla to the next batch – I still have empty jars!

  152. SD

    This was my first attempt at a dry caramel, which for some reason I always thought was vastly more difficult than a wet caramel. I did have to toss the first batch, as my son and husband found the aftertaste bitter, as Laura did (my daughter and I thought it was fine). Second time around I watched it like a hawk and it was perfect.

  153. Lindsey DuBois

    Hi there – this recipe looks DELICIOUS!! And I love that it has no corn syrup. Do you think it would work well on popcorn to then bake into caramel corn??

  154. K

    This is perhaps my fifth December in a row making this caramel for gifts. Had no trouble doubling the recipe; used a heavy, four-quart pan, half-salted, half-unsalted (grocery store brand) butter; added a teaspoon of table salt and a heavy splash of vanilla extract at the end. This batch filled four one-cup jars about 3/4″-1″ from the top.

  155. Isobel

    Hi! I’m on a mission to make salted caramel frosting for a friend’s birthday cake. Would I be able to incorporate the above recipe into say-a buttercream frosting? Thanks in advance for any insights!!

  156. jessica Bonvicino

    Hi! I made the caramel but it came out chunky. Not all of the sugar melted I guess?? Do you have any tips to remediate this?

  157. Jocelyn

    This is incredible. I make it to top your luxe butterscotch pudding (also amazing), or as gifts for Christmas. Thank you for making me look like such a chef!

  158. Anna

    How does more/less butter impact the caramel in the end? I’m curious since I’ve been looking at a few recipes, and there are some that like to use 2 tbsp of butter, also the joy of cooking uses a whole stick. I haven’t found a good answer anywhere about the traders between more butter vs more cream

  159. Annalisa Coody

    I usually have made caramel using a wet method but I took a leap of faith and tried this method today. It’s still cooling and I am crossing my fingers (both in hopes of success and to keep from burning myself by prematurely touching it 😉)

    On another note, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your site, Deb, and have been a fan for years. Thank you so much for continuing to write and for the humor and candor in your posts. You’re a gem!

  160. Lusca

    Love this sauce, though I’m struggling to get the chemistry right. Does anyone know why the sauce might separate in hot coffee? Could it be that I’m subbing cream with 2% milk?

  161. Katie K

    I have made this, no joke, maybe a hundred times since I first came across it. It’s perfect. I’ve never found another recipe that stacks up to this one, and I always end up using it in place of any other caramel called for in a dessert. Thank you for posting it twelve years ago, and thank you for keeping it up here still.

  162. Bentley

    I always keep a jar of this in the fridge, I add a 1/4 tsp smoked salt at the end and it makes a drool-worthy sundae with king arthur marshmallow spread and toasted pecans. It sounds like a sugar bomb but the bitterness/salt level of this caramel just makes it sparkle!