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Eating Well: Gooey caramel sauce perfect ice cream topping

Thanks again to the Pioneer Woman, homemade caramel sauce is brought to a new level, gooey and delicious but not overpowering sweet with its rich brown sugar flavor.

Having had my eye on this recipe for quite some time, I decided to attempt it this past weekend.

It almost sounded too easy to be true so once I had the ingredients in my pan I carefully “whisked” the  mixture for seven minutes once the boiling phase began.

At that point I quickly added the vanilla extract and continued to boil for the additional minute.

Then it was off the stove for a very slight cool down before pouring the caramel sauce into a pint fruit jar, which I covered tightly and placed in the fridge.

The sauce was quite runny going into the jar but as it set in the fridge and cooled it quickly thickened.

I was worried that it might be sugary, but upon reheating the sauce it thinned out to the perfect texture topping -- creamy, smooth and delicious served over the vanilla bean ice cream I had selected as a match for the topping.

The recipe made about a cup and a half so enough for several dishes of ice cream, or dolloping onto a  hot cup of coffee, hot chocolate or anything else you are so inspired to pair it with. (It would also be great served over homemade bread pudding, another recipe for another time.)

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking.

Easy Caramel Sauce

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup half-and-half

4 tablespoons butter

Pinch salt

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. Heat to serve.