Have I told you yet how much I love caramel? I’m mildly obsessed. I can’t get enough of caramel lattes, anything with salted caramel, and classic homemade caramel sauce *swoon*. Even though I’m one of those people who rarely makes the same thing twice, caramel sauce is basically a staple in my kitchen. I make it so much that I feel like I can practically do it in my sleep (not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…). So today, my mission is to get you all making homemade caramel sauce as much as I do! This IS a good thing, because once you learn the basics of caramel, it’s something you’ll have down pat forever and you can use it in a million different ways. I also have a giveaway in store for you – I’m excited!!!
Now I know I’m not the only one out there who’s obsessed with homemade caramel, because a crazy amount of people have written to tell me over the past year that they’ve made my DIY Caramel Sauce; it makes me so happy! I love it too, and the formula is simple: sugar + milk + sea salt = amazing caramel sauce. I like to experiment though, and I wanted to see if I could turn it into something new but just as good. I could! I did! Here’s the new formula : sugar + milk + sea salt + cinnamon + vanilla + LorAnn Oils Butter Emulsion = amazing Buttery Cinnamon Caramel Sauce. Yup, read that again. NO cream, NO butter, and you still get a glorious buttery caramel sauce.
So what is butter emulsion? It’s a natural butter flavoring that’s similar to an extract, but instead of being alcohol-based, it’s water-based. That means that when you cook or bake with it, the flavor doesn’t bake out. I was super excited to hear about LorAnn’s emulsions because a) I get excited about anything that has to do with baking, and b) LorAnn has a million and one types of emulsions and other flavorings. Why stick to the basic vanilla and almond when you can have hazelnut, toffee, irish cream, champagne, cheesecake… annddd I could go on. If you can think of a flavor, LorAnn probably has it. They come in a variety of types – emulsions, natural flavors, and super-strength flavors – and on the LorAnn website, they explain the difference between all of these. (This is good if you start to feel overwhelmed by all the choices, like I did). :D
I have a few of LorAnn’s emulsions and flavors and I’m still experimenting with them, but as soon as I tried the butter emulsion in this caramel sauce, I knew I was onto something. I don’t know how, but somehow a small drop of this buttery elixir makes the caramel absolutely dreamy.The sauce has this incredible buttery cinnamon flavor that reminds me of butter caramel candies and the glaze on these cinnamon rolls. I’ve been making it instead of my typical recipe for about a month now, using it in my lattes, and occasionally dipping a spoon straight into the jar. It’s good stuff. BUT, I didn’t just want to share this recipe without giving you the chance to get some of your own LorAnn Butter Emulsion; how unfair would that be?! Lucky for you, LorAnn Oils has offered to give away three bottles of bakery emulsion and three bottles of super-strength flavorings to one reader! For a chance to win, enter the giveaway in the Rafflecopter form below. (This giveaway is only open to US residents and is open until November 9th at Midnight PST.)
P.S. Making caramel is really simple once you learn the process, but certain steps do go fast, so make sure you read through the entire recipe before you start so you won’t miss anything. Also, if you want more tips, you can check out my original DIY Caramel Sauce. There’s lots of detailed instructions and also tons of questions I’ve answered in the comments section. One last thing: making caramel sauce with milk instead of cream works beautifully, BUT there are a few really important things you should do to make sure you don’t end up with a curdling issue. 1) Use fresh milk 2) Use pure cane sugar (typically the granulated sugar you find at the store is pure cane sugar) 3) Don’t burn your caramel (which would be a bad thing anyhow) and 4) When the recipe says “stir constantly”, I really mean CONSTANTLY. All these details are just to set you up for success; once you get it down, it’s EASY! :D
Buttery Cinnamon Caramel Sauce
An easy, cinnamon-y, Caramel Sauce made entirely with milk, and infused with butter emulsion for a wonderfully creamy flavor.
- Yield: 3/4-1 cup* 1x
- 7 1/2 ounces (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 8 1/2 ounces (1 cup) milk**
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Lorann Oils Butter Emulsion***
- Place the granulated sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed pot****, shaking the pot briefly to spread the sugar in an even layer that covers the bottom surface. Place on the stove over medium-low heat and wait for it to melt; this will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove. Keep a close eye on the sugar during this time.
- Meanwhile, set out a heat-safe spatula, a trivet, and an oven mitt next to the stove. Measure the milk in a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup and have ready to microwave. Once you start to smell the sugar getting hot (it smells a bit like cotton candy), or when you see it starting to liquify a bit just around the edges, microwave the milk for 60-90 seconds; it should be very warm. Set this near the stove as well.
- Once about 1/4-1/3 of the sugar has melted, use the spatula to start scooping the melted sugar gently over the unmelted sugar, just enough to keep the melted sugar from getting too hot as the rest melts. If you see the sugar starting to clump, stir less. Once all of the sugar has melted, stir gently until it turns a deep rusty golden color. At this point, remove from the heat immediatley and place on the trivet. Using the oven mitt on your stirring hand, stir the melted sugar as you pour the hot milk in. Be careful; it is extremely hot and will bubble up substantially. Continue to stir until the bubbling subsides. Some of the sugar may have seized into a solid clump; don’t panic if this happens!
- If the caramel is smooth and you want a thin sauce, skip to the next step. Otherwise, return the pot to the stove (medium-low heat) and stir the caramel constantly until any and all seized sugar has melted back into the caramel. If any hardened sugar is stuck to the sides of the pot, gently pry it off so that it can melt in the liquid. Cook for about 4-8 minutes total, stirring constantly, depending on how thick you want your caramel sauce to be. Four minutes should give you a fairly thick but fluid caramel, while eight minutes should give you a very thick, almost drizzle-able caramel. Exact times will vary depending on the heat of your stove and the type of milk you use. Bear in mind that the caramel will not look very thick while its hot but will thicken substantially as it cools.
- When done cooking, remove caramel from heat and add the cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, and butter emulsion. Stir in until evenly combined. Pour into a heat-safe vessel (like a canning jar) and allow to cool. Lid and transfer to the refrigerator.
*The yield for this recipe will vary depending on how much you cook down the caramel. A thicker caramel will yield less, while a thinner caramel will yield more.
**I usually use 2% milk, but I’ve had readers make my original all-milk caramel sauce with 1%, almond milk, rice milk, goat’s milk, and lactose-free milk (like Lactaid) with success.
***You can find LorAnn emulsions on the LorAnn Oils website as well as Amazon and local crafting and baking stores including Michael’s and Joanne.
****It’s best to use a light-colored pot so that you can easily see when the caramel is dark enough (so that you don’t burn it).
Thanks to LorAnn Oils for providing me with samples of their products to make this post possible!
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