Salt on Caramel = Heaven/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Been so busy recently have scarcely had time to post.  Just got back from taking James to camp 🙁  My chief videographer and dessert innovator. I was in Boston talking salt on Simply Ming.  I was in NYC working on confections with Bouchon Bakery head chef Sebastien Rouxel and putting together a pitch for a chef drama with some friends.  I came home to find a great new ice cream book from Ohio’s own Jeni Britton Bauer!  Salt, sweets, ice cream, and an unused photo donna shot for the new book due out in fall: salted-caramel! Of course.  Caramel is one of those awesome no brainer dessert sauces that more people ought to do at home.  Takes 10 minutes tops, uses inexpensive ingredients, and is easy ( just be sure to use a really big pot because when that cream hits the hot sugar, the water in the cream vaporizes and the volume in the post can rise three times its height.  Want it richer?  Add some butter before you add the cream.  Sebastien and I were talking caramel and he likes to add lemon or passion fruit juice for variety to Bouchon’s caramels (add the flavor with cream).

What puts caramel over the top though is the fine salty crunch of some fleur de sel—it both heightens the flavor and balances the sweetness. It also adds an appealing crunch. Salt and caramel are a heavenly pair.

My advice for an awesome long weekend 4th of July dessert?  Jeni’s vanilla ice cream, in James’s chocolate chip cookie bowl, with your own caramel sauce and a sprinkle of fleur de sel or maldon salt.


Basic Caramel Sauce (from Ratio)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2  ounces unsalted butter (1/2 stick, optional)
  • 1 cup cream
  1. Heat the sugar and just enough water to begin dissolving the sugar, a few tablespoons or so, in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.
  2. When the sugar is dissolved and beginning to brown, stir the sugar or swirl the pan to ensure even cooking. Keep in mind that the sugar is very hot and its burns can be severe.
  3. When the sugar reaches a beautiful dark amber color, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, if using, followed by the cream. The caramel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month, in a sealed container. When ready to use again, reheat to serve.


If you liked this post on salted caramel sauce, check out these other links:

© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved



21 Wonderful responses to “Salted Caramel”

  • Lissa Guillet

    Awesome. I’m of the opinion that salt is often completely overlooked in sweet things and that just makes me sad. People ask me why my hot chocolate is so good and they don’t believe me when I tell them it’s a pinch of salt that does it(and a good quality chocolate).

  • Pam

    Dear Jesus. That photo makes you want to lick the screen. Don’t do it. I tried.
    And yes, caramel/butterscotch sauce is nearly instant gratification and everyone loves you for making it.

  • J.W. Hamner

    When I first saw the photo I thought the ice cream was ricotta (probably because I just made some) and thought salted caramel and ricotta was an awesome idea. People do salt, honey, and ricotta so it seems caramel should work… but maybe not?

  • Lee D

    Ben & Jerry’s new “late night snack” falvor has salted caramel and it’s fantastic. Vanilla with chocolate covered potato chips. Lots of salt and sweet.

  • Matt

    I got Jeni’s book for Father’s Day and the Salty Caramel ice cream was the first recipe I made. It was awesome.

  • cybercita

    Three years ago I made the mistake of bringing a jar of salted caramel sauce to the ice cream social the local contra dance holds at the end of the dance season. I have been informed every year since that I am not allowed to attend the dance if I don’t bring it with me!

  • Moonbeams

    LOVELY! Lissa, salt is overlooked in so many things. Just a small pinch makes flavors of all sorts POP. I am a firm believer in the four real good groups: sweet, salty, fried and au gratin. One of my favorite munchies is bacon coated with brown sugar and baked until it is crunchy good. Mmmmm.

    Also, Jeni’s features a marvelous salted caramel ice cream.

  • Bunny42

    A tiny thing… In the text you advise adding the butter before the cream. The recipe calls for whisking in the cream, followed by the butter. Which? Also, would kosher salt work, too?

    • ruhlman

      I reversed the order of the butter and cream, because of sebastien’s suggestion, but they’re basically the same thing, cream just has more water. So adding the butter first is a little safer, cooling the sugar but adding less water.

      And yes, kosher salt will work just fine.

  • Chappy

    Stupid question: what’s the difference between caramel and toffee? They seem like the same ingredients to me.

    • ruhlman

      Caramel has a whole range, from pourable to hard, depending how hot you get your sugar. Toffee denotes caramel with dairy fat that’s brittle and crunchy.

  • Pat

    Seems like salted caramel is the hot new flavor. I’ve heard that Starbucks has some kind of latte or beverage along those lines.
    Chappy, maybe caramel is soft and toffee is hard? So toffee would have to be cooked longer, I imagine.

  • Natalie Sztern

    Salt is G_d’s natural gift to us from the Oceans:a gift that has and will always keep on giving to us in all forms for a good life

  • allen

    I like an ice cream sandwich on dark chocolate almond lacey cookies, but this friggin ice cream bowl is genius! No more dripping ice cream down the wrist, it’s contained in the bowl and then caramel sauce with course salt – c’mon! Nobel prize nomination.

  • Maureen

    I would give a lot of money for this right now. I read the comment that said I shouldn’t lick the screen and I obeyed but I REALLY wanted to. It looks so good!

  • Teri

    sorry for the off subject, Brioche hamburger buns
    with your brioche recipe how many ounces should I use to make hambuger buns or about how many buns do you think your recipe would make?

  • Mamou

    What did I do wrong? I used organic sugar, and it never really caramelized. Is it too coarse to melt? I finally added more butter and a little brown sugar to make a variation that kind of worked. 🙁


  1.  Recipes I Want To Try | A View From Here