Salted Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce

Yesterday, this caramel sauce was my Everest. I was SO nervous to make it. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? But there was this one time when Brett and I were dating and I completely botched a batch of caramel. It tasted so burnt that it scarred me for years.


To prepare myself for failure, I spent a lot of time reading through recommendations on how to make a silky, rich caramel. There is a lot of information out there! It was a a bit overwhelming, but I decided to just go with my gut and some consistent suggestions. And you know what? It was pretty gosh darn easy once I came up with a plan and knew what I was doing! And to my surprise, the caramel actually turned out and didn’t taste like overcooked butterscotch.


A couple of things I know I’ll keep in mind when making it in the future:

  • Prepare!! Read through the recipe a few times and set out all ingredients before starting. This was huge for me this time around because I wasn’t scrambling to find a food I needed last minute. Having everything out really helped me stay focused on the pot and temperature of the caramel.
  • Speaking of temperature, a candy thermometer is a must for this recipe. I know this isn’t something you’ll need every day, but it’s worth the investment for recipes like this. In my opinion, it’s the best way to know when you’re caramel has reached the appropriate boil.
  • Have patience and go easy on yourself. If you haven’t found this out already, I’m a perfectionist in the kitchen, and I need to take this to heart every once and a while. Caramel may take you a couple of times to perfect and that’s okay!! There’s a reason it’s tricky – it’s pretty much a science.



This caramel is the caramel of my dreams. It’s so smooth and indulgent that you’ll want to put it on everything. Apples, ice cream, pies… you name it! Nielsen-Massey was gracious enough to send me a bottle of their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and it added a rich touch to this caramel. If you end up making it, don’t forget to tag #marinamakeseats!


Salted Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce



Spray an 8X8 baking pan with cooking spray and cover with parchment paper. Spray the top of the parchment paper and set aside. You’ll be placing the caramel in here to cool evenly.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and heavy cream over medium heat. Set aside to use for later.

In a separate sauce pan, add water and corn syrup. Slowly add the brown sugar (making sure it doesn’t get on the sides of the pan) and stir gently with a spoon to moisten. Cook everything over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, cover with a lid for one minute.

Place the candy thermometer in the pan and continue boiling for about 5-10 minutes, until the caramel reaches 275 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as the caramel reaches temperature, add the cream and butter mixture slowly a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring with the candy thermometer to incorporate.

The cream and butter mixture will cool the caramel slightly. Continue boiling again until the temperature reaches around 235 degree Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and stir in the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.

Place in the baking pan to cool and top with a few pinches of sea salt. Place in the fridge for one to two hours to cool completely before transferring to a jar or container.

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