Salted Caramel Sauce

I know I just posted a recipe for Dulce de Leche but can you really have too many different kinds of caramel? The answer is no. You can’t ever have too many kinds of caramel.

Salted Caramel is pretty popular right now and for good reason. If you’re new to the salted craze you may think it’s a strange addition. But don’t be scared. The salt really takes the caramel, and anything it touches, to a whole new level. This sauce is amazing on apple slices, ice cream, pies, or straight up on a spoon. It’s also the perfect ingredient to take a special dessert to the next level (spoiler alert for tomorrows post!).

You might think caramel is hard to make, and if your making candy it’s can be a bit more challenging, but for this sauce it’s really not hard at all. You won’t believe how quickly it all comes together. And I’m including a boat load of pictures to help you along the way.

 

Vanilla Bean Dulce de Leche

Later this week I’m going to share an ah-maz-ing cookie recipe that taste like a Twix bar! In order to pull it all together you’re going to need some dulce de leche, which is basically a fancy name for the best caramel sauce ever.

Like a lot of things in life, there is more than one way to make dulce de leche. Many methods use just a can of sweetened condensed milk, like this and this. Both of those recipes seem really easy and I’m sure yield excellent results. But, it’s just not that easy to find cans of sweetened condensed milk in Suzhou. Plus, I really loved the idea of using vanilla bean. Decadent dulce de leche with flecks of vanilla bean? Yes, please!

The good news is, even though there are just a few more ingredients to this, it’s still an easy recipe. The hardest part is being patient and waiting for it to turn that trademark deep, dark, golden brown.

 

 

Homemade Spicy Garlic Buffalo Sauce

**Slight Recipe Edit 8/13/12, changes noted in italics and below the recipe**

Over the past several years Buffalo Sauce has become quite the fad ingredient. I’ve seen it used in pasta, on pizza, in casseroles, and in dip known to some as “Crack Dip”… For most people I think it’s a love it or hate it type of situation. For me, I love it.

I’ve always been a pretty big fan of dip like sauces, and when I discovered Buffalo Sauce – I fell in love. Buffalo Wild Wings (B-dubs) was the place to hangout in high school. 10 cent wing Mondays and 15 cent boneless wing Tuesdays. Of course, the price slowly increased and I think a few years later they dropped the deal nights entirely, but the flavor of Buffalo sauce still brings me right back to those days of cruising around all day with my friends and then heading to B-dubs for a cheap (and delicious!) dinner.

My favorite sauce was always the Spicy Garlic and last week I really had a craving for it. I knew if I wanted to satisfy my craving I would need to make my own sauce. I found a copycat recipe that looked pretty good, but it still used a lot of Franks Red Hot. I have a bottle of Red Hot but it was pretty pricy so I wasn’t that excited about having to use almost the whole thing to make my own sauce. Also, one thing I have always liked about B-dubs sauce is that it is thick and emulsified, so it doesn’t separate when used in recipes or on wings. So I kept that recipe in mind and continued searching and until I found another recipe that looked good. I took the best of both recipes and combined it to make, what I think, was an awesome sauce.

It’s not exactly like B-dubs sauce, but Jesse and I both really liked it! Spicy, garlicky, smooth, and thick.

Homemade Spicy Garlic Buffalo Sauce

Ingredients
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar*
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ***
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp course ground black pepper
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp canola oil
1 egg yolk***
2 Tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tsp corn starch

*The recipe originally called for Rice Wine Vinegar, which I thought I had but turns out I did not. I used Apple Cider Vinegar instead and I think it really worked. 
**Feel free to add more or less of each spice, to suit your own taste. 

*** 8/13/12 – After some experimentation I have decided that egg yolk is not necessary, reducing the vinegar and adding the little bit of corn starch is plenty sufficient for thickening the sauce. I also decided that 1 tsp of smoked paprika could be a little overpowering, and 1/2 tsp is just right.

Directions
To a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, add the vinegar, dry spices, salt, sugar, black pepper, and canola oil. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken.

While the vinegar and spices are simmering, whisk together the egg yolk, water, and cornstarch. Temper the yolk mixture by adding a few teaspoons of the hot vinegar mixture to the liquid and whisk. Repeat two times, then stream the now warm yolk mixture into the sauce pan, whisking constantly. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool before pouring into a container for storing. Add additional water, as needed, if the sauce becomes too thick.

Optionally, pour the sauce into a heat proof measuring cup and use an immersion blender to make it extra smooth.

Use on wings, as a dipping sauce for fries, in your favorite Buffalo sauce recipe, or on Buffalo Chicken Sliders (recipe coming this week!).

Adapted from Domestic Fits and wlkr.org

In case you’re wondering where I got the bottle –  It’s just a “reused” juice bottle 🙂

How can I use this sauce??
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Buffalo Chicken Bites
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells
Easy One-Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta