The end of last week and into the weekend was spent making some decadent sauces for holiday gift giving and pure, unadulterated sugar indulgence. I’ll let you decide what you want to do with these.
I keep getting bombarded with the Dean & Deluca ‘confections & sweets’ pages. After perusing page after page of expensive candies and sauces my cravings and food blogging obsessiveness kicked in. I just can’t fathom spending $14 on an 8 ounce jar of Spicy Ginger Caramel Sauce. (Unless, of course, I can dab it behind my ears and know that it will act as a seductive scent causing men everywhere to fall at my knees and offer me anything my heart desires for all of eternity. And then I’ll bottle it, have a highly photoshopped advertisement shot – where I pose seductively, and let the money pour in as millions everywhere buy my magical concoction.) And why should I, since I already make caramels…it’s pretty much the same process to make homemade caramel sauce.
Since I prefer caramel sauce, to chocolate sauce, drizzled on my ice cream, making a homemade caramel sauce recipe wasn’t much of a decision for me. But I really liked the idea of a spicy ginger kick to the sauce to make it even more versatile. You could definitely use this homemade caramel sauce as a decadent ice cream topping, but why stop there? Turn an ordinary piece of store bought pound cake or a simple sponge cake into a decadent treat by pooling this spicy ginger sauce underneath it and top with some freshly whipped cream. Or add some of this caramel sauce recipe into your favorite bread pudding recipe for a new twist on an old favorite. A bowl of the warmed caramel sauce served with sliced pears and apples makes for a delicious dish to bring to a holiday party. Stir this caramel sauce into your favorite cup of tea and let the spicy ginger flavor help to warm you. Or you can just sit yourself down with a spoon and dig in.
And on a bit more of a serious note. I was recently asked the question: Corn syrup vs high fructose corn syrup, what’s the difference? You may have noticed that several of my, and others, candy recipes call for the ingredient corn syrup or light corn syrup (for the record, the ‘light’ part only refers to the color and not the calories). So I thought that more of you may also have that same concern and that I would answer the question here.
High fructose corn syrup is created by converting some of corn syrup’s glucose into fructose. Chemically, it’s very similar to sucrose: 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Corn syrup (which is what I use in candy making) is almost completely glucose. It’s made by extracting and breaking down the starch, in corn, into glucose molecules. In a nutshell the corn syrup vs high fructose corn syrup boils down to this (pun intended): high fructose corn syrup is a much sweeter version of corn syrup made that way by an additional process that introduces fructose to the already sweet mix. (Fructose has been shown to cause problems in some people.)
I thought today’s relationship advice would be better represented by a Venn Diagram. If you don’t know what in the hell I’m talking about, just take a look. I’m pretty sure this simple picture will return a myriad of bad memories from school. I’m a total geek, so I love diagrams like this. I think the diagram is pretty self-explanatory, but in a nutshell, it shows that there are 3 types of guys…and by ‘getting it,’ I mean everything that’s involved in a relationship.
Ginger Spiced Caramel Sauce Recipe
Makes approximately 3 cups
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
- 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup Corn Syrup
- 1/4 Cup Water
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the cream and first 6 ingredients.
Whisk all ingredients until they are thoroughly combined in the cream, with no lumps. Continue to whisk and bring the cream mixture up to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from heat.
In a medium to large saucepan Add the sugar, butter, corn syrup and water.
Bring mixture to a boil and melt the sugar. While the sugar is melting, keep stirring the mixture.
Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to medium high and cover the pan. Leave the pan covered for 3 – 5 minutes. (It’s ok to lift the lid at 3 minutes to check on the mixture.) You want the color to be a nice golden caramel color.
Once you’ve got that color, add the cream mixture (everything is going to boil up – don’t panic).
Keep stirring everything for another 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour into a heat proof glass container (like a large measuring cup) until it cools.
Then pour into jars for giving…or keeping for yourself.
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