Salted Vanilla Caramel Sauce with Fresh Oranges

I have been carrying on a passionate love affair with caramel for years now. It is so amazing. On everything. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t improve the flavor of whatever you poured it over. Why is it that it is often the most simple desserts that wind up being the best? Whether in chewy candy form, or a decadent sauce, caramel just makes the world a little sweeter. At Halloween I always make a big batch of caramel dipped apples (which I then dip in white chocolate, and roll in cinnamon sugar, which ends up tasting sort of like apple pie), and sometimes just for fun I will melt in some caramels into my favorite brownie recipe. And really, at the end of the day, good vanilla bean ice cream with a simple caramel sauce is all it takes to put me ten steps closer to heaven. Here I made a deliciously thick, luxurious, salted vanilla caramel sauce and poured it over fresh oranges. Elegant in its simplicity. I think this makes a really lovely dinner party dessert. You can make everything two days in advance, and assemble it right at the table. It couldn’t be any easier (or more inexpensive). I start by stirring together three cups of sugar and two thirds cup of water in the bottom of a heavy bottomed sauce pan. (This makes a lot but it keeps well for weeks in the refrigerator.) I then cook that mixture over low heat for about ten minutes, or until the sugar has all dissolved. (If there are remaining sugar crystals around the side of your sauce pan as your syrup is cooking, remove them by dipping a pastry brush in water and running it along the side of the pan to dissolve the crystals. This will prevent your syrup from re-crystallizing and becoming gritty. If you find that grittiness is a recurring problem for you, you can also add a third of a cup of corn syrup to the sugar syrup, which will also prevent crystallization.) I then turn up the heat to medium, and cook until the syrup is a nice caramely brown color (about another eight minutes or so, but depending on the heat of your stove and your elevation it may take more or less time, so watch it carefully), being cautious not to let it burn (the sugar will likely start caramelizing around the edges of the pan first, when this happens just give the pan a gentle swirl to ensure that it caramelizes evenly). Off the heat, I then carefully pour in two and a half cups of heavy cream (which will cause the sugar syrup to bubble up wildly – don’t be scared) and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until it is all combined. Meanwhile I dissolve half a teaspoon or so of salt (or to taste) in two tablespoons or so of vanilla extract, and add that to the caramel (table or kosher salt is fine but this recipe is made even more special with the addition of good sea salt, gray salt, or fleur de sel… but whatever you have on hand is just fine). Give it a stir, and let it cool. The sweet, tart oranges, with the rich, sweet, salty caramel is a really fantastic combination. Serve it up with or without a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream, and you have an easy dessert, simple enough for every day but special enough for company.  Store the extra sauce in a microwave safe container in your refrigerator, and just before serving pop it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to get it flowing again.  Enjoy!

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Filed under Desserts, Jams/Spreads/Sauces

28 responses to “Salted Vanilla Caramel Sauce with Fresh Oranges

  1. WOW. This does look heavenly. Love your photos, I can almost taste that creamy luscious caramel! 🙂

  2. can’t stop salivating. I love when something so simple can be sooo yummy

  3. Love the combination of the thickly, sweet-salted caramel with the bright citrus! Caramel takes the most glorious photos.

  4. Caramel on everything, I say. Way better than chocolate sauce. Your presentation is simple, yet artful.

    • Hi TCH,

      Thanks! =) I agree. Chocolate sauce has nothing on caramel. I always find chocolate sauce to be overly sweet and overwhelming to whatever I am serving it with. But I wouldn’t mind filling a whole tub full of this caramel and climbing right on in! lol

      Thanks for stopping by! =)

  5. misssmouse

    Oh my, I love salted caramel..I love it more than chocolate..possibly…
    I never thought of serving it with oranges but it looks really good!

  6. Saving…have a little something that I’m concocting for Labor Day dessert, and I need a bit of caramel. This will be the PERFECT addition!! I’ll make sure to give you a shout-out in my blog when I post it :)!

    • Hi Wendy!

      Yeah, this sauce is really delicious. It will thicken a lot upon standing, and when you refrigerate it, it does set up quite a bit, but 20-30 seconds in the microwave always brings it back to pourable. Whatever you are making I am sure will be enhanced by being doused in caramel. I look forward to reading your post !

      Thanks for stopping by! =)

  7. Jacob – I agree with you 100% when it comes to caramel sauce. Forget the chocolate sauce over ice cream – for me caramel wins everytime. Honestly I can just eat by the spoonful. Love the combination of the caramel and orange – brilliant!

  8. I love caramel too! Your sauce looks amazing, but I’m ridiculously drooling over that caramel apple description! Hope to see those here this fall 🙂

    • Hi Sarah!

      I’m looking forward to them too! =) I will definitely post about them when the time comes. So pretty. And I think they make your standard caramel apple (which is perfectly delicious on its own) into something a little bit more special.

      Thanks for stopping by! =)

  9. woman&warrior

    What are some other simple preparations to use that sauce?

    • Um…… hmmmmm. Well certainly drizzled over ice cream, grilled fruit (pineapple would be especially good),baked apples, wine poached pears, roasted bananas, brownies, cakes, cheesecakes, cobblers, pastries, pies and tarts, profiteroles, on puddings and bread puddings, over popcorn, as a dip for sliced fresh fruit. You can add it to milkshakes, coffee, and hot chocolate. Over a nice ripe brie with toasted pecans… the possibilities are really endless. =)

  10. Amazing colors! How can something so simple look, and taste, this good??

  11. Wow, you always have the best pictures!

  12. Mmm, I adore caramel too. I love the idea of pouring it over fresh fruit.

  13. This looks wonderful! Could you tell me, is it possible to use a non dairy cream? could I substitute almond milk, soy milk or rice milk?

    thank you!

    • Hi Lisa!

      I think as long as what you are substituting the cream for is high enough in fat I think it should work out fine. I have seen recipes that use dairy free coffee creamer, even some that use soy yogurt. Having never tried them myself I can’t vouch for their effectiveness. If I were making it, however, I would venture to guess that the non dairy creamer should work perfectly as a substitution. Hope that helps!

      Thanks for stopping by! =)

  14. That caramel looks and sounds incredible. I have never had salted caramel. Soemthing i am going to have to try very soon.

  15. b kinch

    Looks so good, Jacob! Especially that last pic. I love caramel apples, too, though I’ve never tried the fancier chocolate ones. I love the shiny cinnamon candy apples that you have to crack, too. Mmmm.

  16. Holy Cow – that looks amazing. I just bought some clementines so I’ve got to try this. Your photos are beautiful. Kate @kateiscooking

  17. woman&warrior

    Wow, perfect instructions and recipe proportions! sauce came out wonderfully, and you peeled back my fear of trying to make caramel since I’ve failed at least 3 times before. served over halved fresh figs. Thank you Jacob!

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