Add the sugar, water, and lemon to your high-sided saucepan and heat over medium-high, bringing to a boil. Don't stir the mixture at all - swirl the pan lightly rather than stirring.
Once the mixture begins to boil, the sugar will eventually begin to caramelize and turn golden in color. The longer you heat it, the more the color will deepen from a honey yellow to an amber, then a deep amber.The caramel will turn from deep amber to burnt in seconds, so be careful not to leave it for too long. I like to move to the next step when my mixture is a medium amber color.
Step 2: Add the cream
As soon as the mixture becomes a medium amber color (look at my photo for reference), carefully pour in the cream and add the salt. At this point, you can stir the mixture with a heat-proof silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Mix until it is thoroughly combined and into a smooth caramel sauce.
Step 3: Reduce further & add any flavoring
If it's too thick, you can add a little extra cream. If it's too thin, then you can continue to reduce the caramel.Note that the caramel will be more liquidy while it's still hot and will thicken up as it cools, and thicken even more when refrigerated.
At this point, switch off the heat and add any extra flavorings, stirring them in well to combine fully.To taste the caramel and adjust any flavorings, add a little of the caramel to a cold saucer/plate and cool for 30-60 seconds, then taste.
If you want to use the sauce immediately while warm, allow it to cool slightly, then serve. To save for later, allow the homemade caramel sauce to cool completely before transferring to a glass jar.
How To Store
Store your homemade caramel sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator for between 2-3 weeks.You can also freeze the caramel sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.It will thicken up as it chills. If you want it thinner, then reheat it lightly in the microwave (15-20 seconds to thin, 40-45 for a heated sauce) or over the stove, stirring frequently. If it’s still too thick, then add in an extra splash of cream and stir well.once reheated, use the caramel immediately. Don't return any of it back to the glass jar!
!!Read the blog post for my TOP TIPSfor making homemade caramel!!Also, read the blog post for ways to flavor this sauce, including chocolate, coffee, boozy, fruity, etc.
The type of cooker you use can affect the way the caramel is made. On an induction/electric hob, I find that you can wait for it to become a deep reddish amber color. However, on a gas hob, it’s usually best to move on to the next step when it’s a slightly lighter amber.
If your caramel sauce is a little thin once it’s cooled, you can actually return it to the pan and boil for slightly longer to reduce it.
If you still have issues with the sugar crystallizing on the side of the pot, there are two steps you can do. First, you could use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the sugar down from the sides of the pan. Alternatively, when the sugar syrup begins to boil, cover it with a lid and keep it closed for a couple of minutes. During this time, the condensation will build up in the pan and wash down the sugar crystals.
To fix crystallized caramel - add an extra 1/4 cup of water to the sugar mixture and bring it back to a boil (optionally, with a lid on to take advantage of the condensation). This will allow the sugar crystals to re-dissolve. Then, continue with the recipe.