I had grand plans today to share what I touted in last week’s newsletter as a recipe starring “nutrient-packed leafy greens.” Instead, my lack of willpower has resulted in Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce. Leafy greens. Butterscotch sauce. Same thing, right? New Year’s weight loss resolution-makers, shield your eyes.
In researching what goes into a successful—and incredibly simple—butterscotch sauce, I discovered countless discussions across the interwebs about butterscotch versus caramel. To summarize: A butterscotch sauce is made with brown sugar, while a traditional caramel sauce is made with white sugar.
I’ve caramelized sugar a million times and a thousand different ways—white sugar, brown sugar, butter, no butter, bourbon, whiskey, cream, vanilla. This recipe is hands-down the winner when it comes to a fast (10 minutes!) and easy sauce for ice cream sundaes. I tested the recipe with light and dark brown sugar, and the dark variety inevitably won out for its deeper molasses flavor and intense amber color. I also opted for large-flake sea salt to balance out the sweetness. And the texture? Silky smooth, and totally eat-it-with-a-spoon-worthy.
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Easy Homemade Butterscotch Sauce
Yield: About 1 cup
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt (regular or large-flake sea salt)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (not non-stick) over medium heat.
- Add the brown sugar, salt and heavy cream and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until it's well blended. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping down the sides occasionally, and boil it for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the butterscotch sauce to a container to cool. (See Kelly's Notes.)
- Kelly's Notes:
- The butterscotch thickens significantly as it cools, so it's important to not over-boil it or you'll end up with chewy butterscotch caramels rather than a pourable sauce.
- If you want to add a kick to your butterscotch sauce, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of your choice liquor (think bourbon, whiskey or cognac) at the same time you stir in the vanilla extract.