I can’t wrap my head around it – some people call it Caramel Sauce, others Butterscotch. But they’re all talking about a rich, delicious, luscious sauce.
This is our “go to” birthday cake, Cafe Latte’s Turtle Cake. Now, since my birthday is smack dab in the middle of Christmas preparations, you know any cake I serve has a) got to stand out and b) be relatively simple. This year I’m at the folks and made it for all of us, and I wanted to share it with you, too!
Salted Caramel – while the name evokes a gourmet treat (and it is) it always makes me want to snort just a little. Make caramel sauce and add a little salt. I know it’s fantastic, but people seem to just go nuts over the name! Anyway, salted or not, you just can’t beat a rich, luscious home-made caramel sauce.
Oh you’re having a party, you say? A special party? Like the blockbuster blogging event, the anniversary of Fiesta Friday? The event where the premier food bloggers can’t wait to bring their favorite dish every week? And you’d like me to bring a dessert, you say? You don’t have to ask me twice!
An Apricot Caramel Sauce? To American tastes, the combination of dried fruit and caramel may seem a bit different, but it is absolutely surprising and certainly delicious.
Easy to make, watch the sugar carefully and don’t burn it – if it becomes darker around the edges or you catch even the faintest whiff of a burnt smell, move your pan off the heat and keep stirring until the sugar is melted, moving it back on if needed. A fork seems to work very well for stirring.
Blend a long time – there will be some texture; if that bothers you, simply strain it while it is still liquid enough to sieve. Once it cools, it thickens, so rewarm if necessary.
This is the caramel I normally serve with my Baked Austrian Crepes in Custard Sauce. It’s so good in or on so many things. The dried apricots may be replaced with a different dried fruit.
Apricot Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1 cup firmly packed dried apricots (about 6 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a dry heavy saucepan (about 3-quart capacity) cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork until melted and then swirling pan, until sugar is a golden caramel, perhaps just a bit past golden towards amber, but not too dark.
Remove pan from heat and carefully add 3 cups water down side of pan (it will bubble up and steam). Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.
Slice apricots and add to pan. Simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Cool mixture 10 minutes and in a blender purée with vanilla until very smooth. Add any or all of the additional water if desired.
Sauce may be made several days ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm.
Put Your own Spin on It
I’ve made this before with both pears and peaches instead of apricots and both are wonderful! I’ve not yet tried dried apples, but I imagine they’d give a lovely flavor to the sauce.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! Every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
- Sugar: Look for sugar on sale, which usually happens around the holidays. While any holiday generates a sales price, the best sales are generally from Thanksgiving to Christmas, when coupons are abundant. Check out Aldi for your sugar; their prices are generally great. A rule of thumb: A store brand on sale will often beat a name brand on sale with a coupon. Aldi generally beats both. 1 cup is about 8 cents.
- Dried Apricots: Dried fruit can be downright cheap when purchased on sale with a coupon, especially during the Christmas sales. The Holidays are a great time to buy dried fruit of any kind at a low price. Regular price for Apricots, 6 ounces was $2.99. Sale price $1.00, coupon, $1.00 off two, final cost was $1.50.