Baked Sunday Mornings: Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce

I'm going rogue again this week. I recently baked the delicious Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins that are on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule for today (you can read my blog post about them here), so I made the Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking instead. The sauce seemed like a perfect accompaniment for a batch of freshly-churned roasted banana ice cream in the freezer.

The caramel sauce recipe is pretty straightforward, but I think it would benefit from a little more specificity. You combine water, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a pot, and boil the mixture for ten minutes. Usually I judge caramel progression by its color, but because this caramel is made with brown sugar and not granulated sugar, the color was very dark to begin with and the color wasn't a helpful indicator of anything. The recipe says to boil the mixture on high heat, but I was concerned about how furiously it was bubbling and I turned it the burner down to medium high.

Around seven and a half minutes in, I started to catch a whiff of something beginning to burn, so I went ahead to turn off the heat and stir in heavy cream. I really wish that the recipe had provided a target temperature for the sauce instead of directions to boil it for a particular amount of time. (I wonder if the recipe at some point did include a target temperature, because the cookbook includes a note about how to clean up your pan and utensils after making this recipe, including your thermometer.) I had put a thermometer in the mixture just for reference, and it was about 265 degrees when I turned off the heat. After adding the cream I cooked the sauce on low heat to dissolve the clumps that had formed, and finally, I added vanilla and fleur de sel. The recipe calls for only an optional pinch of salt, but I found that I needed considerably more (probably close to a teaspoon) to balance out the cloying sweetness.
The sauce thickened up nicely as it cooled and I let the it cool almost to room temperature before pouring it over some ice cream. This sauce is really tasty, although I think I prefer the less sweet salted caramel sauce that the gentlemen bakers use in their sweet and salty brownies and sweet and salty cake. And I have to mention that this roasted banana ice cream is so freakin' delicious (it's very dense and creamy, with a strong caramelized banana flavor and delightfully full of hand-chopped chocolate chips), that it doesn't need any sort of sauce at all. But if you are in need of a caramel sauce, this one will definitely do!

Recipes: "Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito; "Roasted Banana Ice Cream" from Leite's Culinaria, adapted from Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne.