Friday, August 3, 2012

Jalapeno Caramel Sauce

My apologies on the tardiness of this post.

I actually made this recipe back during the disaster night in my kitchen. Remember then? Remember the candy thermometer? I was just keeping you in suspense, on the edge of your seats, coming back to my blog every day (I'm pretending that you have been in suspense since June when you first saw that I used the candy thermometer; please don't burst my bubble by saying you don't remember).

Anyway, I had been wanting to try my hand at homemade ice cream toppings and Father's day gave me an excuse. I was heading home to see my dad the weekend after the holiday and I wanted to make him something special. He enjoys ice cream, so I figured this would be perfect. He also likes spicy things so I thought it would be fun to add a little extra flavor to the caramel by infusing the heavy cream with jalapeno before making the sauce. It really added something to the caramel (in my opinion, and agreed upon by my dad and sister. My mom didn't love it, but then again she isn't a big jalapeno fan). The caramel isn't overly spicy but you definitely get an aftertaste in the back of your throat of a jalapeno kick. I think it compliments some vanilla bean ice cream perfectly.

You can certainly skip the infusing the milk stage (or try infusing the milk with something). The caramel making isn't too difficult although you certainly need a candy thermometer to make it. Temperature is key in making candies.

Jalapeno Caramel Sauce (Caramel recipe and instructions from Brown Eyed Baker, addition of jalapeno Julie's own concoction)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp diced jalapeno pepper (about 1/2 of a pepper)
2 cup granulated sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 tbsp kosher salt

Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it has nearly reached a simmer, add the jalapeno and stir. Cover and let steep for at least 2 hours (the longer you let it go, the more the jalapeno flavor will infuse in the cream). After steeping, place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the cream into it. Using a wooden spoon, squeeze all of the cream from the peppers.

Allow cream to cool to room temperature.

Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking as it melts. Don't worry about clumps that form, as you continue to stir everything will melt. Once all of the sugar melts, cook until it has reached a deep amber color and the temperature reaches 350 F.

Once the caramel reaches 350 F, add the butter all at once. Be prepared for it to bubble up, but continue to whisk until it is completely melted.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in your room temperature jalapeno cream. Be careful because it will bubble up a lot again. Whisk until all of the cream as been incorporated. Add the salt and whisk again.

Allow the sauce to cool for 10-15 minutes and then pour into a glass jar. Let it cool to room temperature and then store in a refrigerator.

In order to use, you will need to warm the sauce (in the microwave for 30 sec to 1 minute).

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