Oh man. I’ve reached a new place…a place where I’ve taken to eating ice cream sundaes in the middle of the day. This is not a usual occurrence, as I usually like partaking of my ice cream curled on the couch and binge watching House of Cards or some other amazingness on Netflix. But today that changed. I made a caramel sauce and set it up to photograph early in the day. I got the photo I wanted and took a little taste just to see how it all worked together. That little taste turned into me scooping ice cream, caramel sauce and graham crunch into my mouth like it was almost midnight and the ice cream was going to become a pumpkin. Then I pushed it away when I realized the 12:00 I saw was only noon and I hadn’t even eaten lunch. But it was really good, and I can’t imagine it’ll last long in our house.
This recipe is for my darling friend, Karen. She is just one of the most wonderful people I know and she hates chocolate. We do not share that hate for chocolate, but we share so many other great things we have in common, and she is one of my biggest blogging (and life) supporters. I figure someone who endlessly promotes me, supports me, and is always encouraging me deserves a thank you in the form of Brown Butter Caramel Sauce. You don’t always get that kind of person in your corner, and I want to make sure I let those people know how much I appreciate them. So I made this sauce with her in mind. The Graham Crunch is my own addition and took the caramel sauce shenanigans to a brand new level. Make this over the weekend, and be sure you have plenty of ice cream on hand to offset the caramel and graham crunch.
4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2-3 Tablespoons Half and Half or Heavy Cream
Pinch Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Place butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Melt until the butter in the bottom of the pan begins to turn a golden brown color and smell nutty and delicious. It will look frothy at first, this is okay. You don’t want to go too fast, it will burn and taste bad. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
Once the butter is browned and nutty, add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and stir to combine. Let this come to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and no longer looks separated, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat.
Carefully and slowly add the half and half or cream, it will bubble, so stand back. Stir to combine and add the pinch of salt.
Once it has cooled a bit, stir in the vanilla. At this point you may add a little more salt if you’d like more of a salted caramel flavor. Store any uneaten sauce in the fridge. It will become firm, but 15-20 seconds in a microwave will get you smooth, pourable caramel again.
As you may remember from a previous post, I love the Milk Bar cookbook. It challenges me to make things I would not have thought of and it makes me think of food in new ways. One of those is a recipe for a “crunch”. It isn’t challenging, in fact it is very simple, but it makes me think of using crackers and cereal in a way I wouldn’t usually use them. I modified her Ritz Crunch using graham crackers and it turned out so delicious and buttery-toasty crunchy that I wanted to put it on everything. Use it to top your next ice cream sundae. It’s easy to make and it keeps well in an airtight container.
2 cups Graham Crackers, crushed into dime-sized pieces
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Milk Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
7 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place graham crackers, sugar, milk powder and salt into a bowl. Stir to combine.
Pour over melted butter and stir well to combine. It should look like this:
Remove from oven. It will not seem very crunchy, but this is normal. After it has cooled slightly, test a piece; it should be a little crunchy. Let cool completely and break into chunks with your hands. It should be very crunchy now. Store in an airtight container and eat as needed. Repeat as necessary.