Christmas gift ideas: Caramel & whisky sauce

4 Dec

Inspired by last month’s Good Food magazine, I decided to make some Caramel and Whisky Sauce for the three parts of my family here in the UK for Christmas.  The recipe looked simple enough and apart from the cans of condensed milk and caramel, I already had all the ingredients.

Little did I know!

Apparently, it is impossible to buy caramel in a tin here in south London. Or at least, I couldn’t find it in the big Clapham Sainsbury’s, Jack’s Supermarket or Costcutters at Stockwell, or in any of the little supermarkets I checked in Brixton. No problem I thought, I’ll just make some caramel instead. It can’t be that hard, right?

Well, it was actually trickier than I expected. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food and in the end it steered me right, but I had to remake the recipe THREE TIMES. That’s because although the ingredients and steps are right in that recipe, they leave out some crucial information. So, I’m going to share it here with you so that you don’t have to make your caramel three times too…

Top tips for making caramel:

1. After  you add the intial water, do not stir the sauce. I did this in round one and rather than caramelising, the water just evaporated and I was left with raw sugar again. I tried adding more water, but it just bubbled and didn’t turn colour. Fail.

2. When it says “heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until you have caramel” what it actually means is “heat and bubble for 4-5 minutes until it just about starts to turn brown, then take it off the heat“. I thought I had to wait until the entire thing turned brown, but the caramel keeps cooking when you turn it off the heat, and as you whisk it with the cream and butter the entire thing becomes golden brown and caramelised. If you leave it on the heat and wait for everything to go brown, you will end up with bitter, burnt caramel, which is what I did the second time I did it. Fail.

Looks delicious, tastes disgusting - burnt caramel

3. Rather than using a heavy based frying pan, I actually found it worked better in a heavy based pot.

Once the caramel was made, I let it cool down completely before reheating it with more butter, brown sugar, condensed milk and ground ginger, dissolving the sugar and melting the butter as it heated up. Then I added in the whisky and stirred it until it was nice and smooth.

That's more like it.

I bought these cute jars at IKEA last weekend, and the caramel sauce is now sitting in the fridge waiting for me to take it over on Christmas eve. I have tasted some (of course!) and it tastes divine – VERY sweet (well it would have to be with so much sugar and condensed milk in it!), but with a nice whisky flavour and it would be amazing with Christmas pudding and ice-cream.

I used a gravy boat to pour the sauce into the jars

Next step for the gifts is to make some labels for the jars, which I’ll be doing later on this week!

Get the full recipe on the Good Food website

One Response to “Christmas gift ideas: Caramel & whisky sauce”

  1. Karen 04/12/2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I’m sure the pretty jars will be very welcomed gifts…delicious.

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