Edible Gifts! Chocolate and Caramel Sauces
December 16, 2010
This time of year, many of us face the very difficult task of choosing the right gift for everyone on our list. If we are lucky, we know just the perfect thing for each special someone, a gift that will not only excite and surprise them, but will also be of good use. Many times it is more challenging though.
Perhaps we don’t know the person very well or maybe they already seem to have everything they need. Too often,we pick out a gift just to check it off the list. The gift ends up having little meaning to us or to the recipient. That is why, when faced with that dilemma, I generally choose to give an edible gift!
Everyone loves ice cream, so one of my favorite gifts to give is a sundae kit. I’ll wrap up a basket of toppings: chopped nuts, cherries, and of course a jar of fabulous homemade chocolate or caramel sauce (or both!). These sauces will bring a smile to your special person’s face. The sauces are decadent and delicious and so completely unlike any product you may find on the shelf of a supermarket. These are the kinds of gifts that are hoarded away, savored, and celebrated!
Sounds good, you say, but when will I have time to make something like this? That is the best part of this gift! In one hour, you can have a batch of each of these sauces made and put in jars. All that is left to do is to write a cute tag for the jar and toss them in a basket or gift bag.
Salted Caramel Sauce
makes 5 cups
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Pour the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir to wet the sugar. Place on medium low heat long enough to completely melt the sugar. Once the sugar is melted (solution will be clear), turn the heat up to medium high. Simmer, without stirring, until the solution turns deep brown. Swirl pan periodically to mix. To test the color, dip a spoon in the solution and put a few drops on a white plate. Be very careful not to burn the solution!
When you have the color you desire, remove the pot from heat. Let it cool a few minutes. Carefully pour in the cream. The mixture will bubble up. Stir until mixture is homogenous. If the sugar seizes up, place the pot back on the stove and heat gently while stirring. The sugar will melt and you should be able to get a smooth sauce again. Add salt and stir. Pour sauce into clean jars. Cover, cool, and place in the refrigerator. Use within a month.
Note: The sauce will solidify in the refrigerator. To serve, warm gently in a microwave or in a bowl of warm water. Once warm, pour sauce over ice cream or dip fruit in it.
makes 5 cups
1 pound chocolate chunks
2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 shots brandy, amaretto, or peppermint schnapps (optional)
Chop the chocolate into 1/2 inch chunks (or smaller). (If you are using chocolate chips, there is no need to chop them further.) Place the chocolate in a medium size bowl. Scald (heat to steaming and then turn off the heat) the cream, half and half, and butter in a small saucepan. Pour the half and half mixture over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts. Add the alcohol, if using. Stir. Pour the sauce into clean jars and cover. Cool and then refrigerate. This chocolate sauce will keep for up to one month in the refrigerator (if you don’t eat it first!)
Note: The sauce will solidify in the refrigerator. To serve, warm gently in a microwave or in a bowl of warm water. Once warm, pour sauce over ice cream or dip fruit in it. (Secret: Its not bad just spooned right out of the jar either!)
Here is a printer friendly version of the recipe: Caramel and Chocolate Sauce
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