Do you remember how I mentioned that I made an ice cream bar for Zuni’s birthday party back in May? Well, this Vanilla Bean Caramel was one of the components of said bar. I used the basic recipe from my trusted ice cream source, The Perfect Scoop, and added a vanilla bean to take it over the top (much thanks to Annie’s Eats for the idea!). The result is a luscious sauce that is amazing poured over ice cream, stirred into coffee, used sandwiched between cookies, and even eaten directly from the jar (hey, don’t look this way, it was just a suggestion) 😉
Vanilla Bean Caramel
Yield: 1 ½ Cups
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Spread sugar evenly at the bottom of a large saucepan. Place over medium-low heat. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all of the sugar has melted, making sure not to over-stir.
Measure out the heavy whipping cream into a small bowl, and scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into it. Add the bean itself to the cream as well. Set aside.
Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove from heat. Whisk in half of the cream mixture, making sure to work carefully as the caramel will bubbly and steam violently. Once the cream has been incorporated, stir in the remaining cream and mix well. Stir in vanilla and salt. If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.
When cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The vanilla bean can stay in the caramel or be thrown away, according to preference.