What’s better than a freshly baked, crusty French baguette with a little (or a lot) of butter slathered on it? The answer to this question is salted butter. Beurre demi-sel* is a common find here, and it adds a special something to almost any food experience. It adds flavor when used in cooking, is delicious on bread or with raw vegetables (radishes!), but the absolute best thing to do with salted butter is to make caramel.
I always had trouble with caramel. Something so simple and that calls for only two or three ingredients had always been a sort of Achilles heel for me. I couldn’t get the texture right. If I managed to not burn the sugar, my caramel hardened instantly once I took it off the flame (I ruined at least one pot this way). So, I stopped trying to make it. Until one day, when browsing the internet I found a so-called fool proof recipe for salted butter caramel. I read the instructions, and it seemed doable. I’d been craving crêpes for a few days prior to this discovery, and decided to give it once last go.
What resulted was a perfect, gooey, salty sweet and dark brown caramel that was the perfect topping to my neutral crêpes. It was quick, easy and the result was definitely satisfying. The best part was that I was able to store the extra caramel sauce in a tupperware dish and to heat it up the next day to eat with some fresh fruit. It is the perfect caramel, and the salted butter gives it that extra little punch that keeps it from being too sweet.
*Beurre demi-sel: salted butter
Caramel sauce au beurre salé
I C sugar
3 ounces (6 T) salted butter (beurre demi-sel or beurre au sel de mer)
Approximately 1 C heavy cream (or crème fraîche)
Heat a small sauce pan over moderately high heat. Add your sugar to the pan, stirring gently until the sugar melts and you don’t see any more crystals. Turn the heat down slightly and continue to cook the sugar, stirring occasionally until it reaches a nice, deep brownish color. Once it’s dark enough, add the butter and stir until combined. Take the pan off the burner and add the cream. Don’t worry if it bubbles and puffs up: this is normal. Continue stirring or whisking until the sauce is uniform and you’re done!