You can turn a good dessert into a great dessert simply by improving your presentation. Adding a scoop of ice cream to the top of a warm slice of apple pie makes dessert a little more memorable – as does adding a drizzle of fudge to a simple scoop of ice cream! A sauce is typically the easiest way to finish off a dessert with a new layer of flavor and this 5-Minute Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce recipe is one that you should definitely have in your arsenal. This simple caramel sauce is made with brown sugar, cream and butter, along with a dash of vanilla and salt to round out the flavors. It comes together in under 5 minutes, including the time that you need to measure out all your ingredients.
To make it, simply combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan or a medium-sized nonstick skillet. While it may seem like the ingredients could fit into a smaller pan, the caramel will bubble up as it cooks and you’ll reduce the risk of making a mess by simply using a slightly larger pan to start out with. After boiling the caramel for about two minutes – stirring to dissolve any crystals from the sugar – you’ll end up with a buttery, creamy caramel sauce.
I add vanilla and salt right after taking the caramel off the heat. By adding the vanilla while the sauce is still very hot, the alcohol in the extract will evaporate, leaving only the vanilla flavor behind. I also add another pinch of coarse salt – for that salty-sweet effect – after the caramel has cooled slightly. If you enjoy salty-sweet desserts, you’ll appreciate the subtle crunch of coarse salt in the finished sauce.
The sauce will thicken as it cools, so you will need to reheat it in the microwave (or on the stovetop in a nonstick pan) to make it drizzle-able if you need to. The sauce does not thicken up enough to turn into a sliced caramel, however. In fact, you can enjoy it as-is with a spoon any time you like.
5-Minute Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
coarse salt, for topping
In a medium sized skillet (pref. nonstick) or a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, heavy cream and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil, stirring regularly, for about 2 minutes. Mixture will bubble up as it cooks. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla extract. Transfer to a small container – such as a glass jar or bowl – to cool slightly before using. Top with sprinkle of coarse salt before serving.
Sauce will be easy to drizzle when warm, and it is ok to reheat it in the microwave if necessary.