Monday, October 20, 2014

Crockpot Caramel Sauce - One Ingredient Only!

It's apple season here in mid Missouri!  Nothing like fresh apples from the tree.  I grew up near orange groves and had never seen an apple tree until my family moved to Missouri so I still find it somewhat magical to see those ruby red orbs taunting me from the trees!

One of my favorite ways to eat apples is sliced and dipped heavily in caramel!  Caramel apples on a stick are wonderful in their own rite but those things are hard on the teeth!  This is a much easier way to enjoy a fall favorite.

I had long heard of making homemade caramel sauce with sweetened condensed milk by boiling the cans in water-which I couldn't believe!  #1-sounded dangerous - boiling unopened cans-NOPE, not for me!  #2-sweetened condensed milk tastes nothing like caramel, right?  (Wrong LOL!)  I decided to give her a whirl and see what I could come up with.  I didn't like the idea of boiling an unopened can of something in water on my stove.  No way!!  I also was not a fan of heating anything in a can.  BPA leaching into my food did not sound like something I wanted to worry about.

I decided to pour my sweetened condensed milk into canning jars.  (You boil them to water process them, right?That's what I thought!)  I also decided to cook mine in the crockpot-even easier because I could see the contents and see the color changes and I didn't have to sit right there by the stove watching the pot boil!  Two wins!

It worked-deliciously!  This caramel sauce ranks right up there with the delicious stuff you buy next to the apples in the grocery store.  It's creamy and deeply caramel flavored.  Lovely stuff.

OK, here's how I made homemade Crockpot Caramel Sauce AT HOME MY WAY:

Crockpot Caramel Sauce
(One Ingredient Only!)

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
Other Supplies:

  • Crockpot - tall enough for water to completely cover the jars
  • Water
  • canning jars with lids (I used half pints.)

Pour sweetened condensed milk into small canning jars, fit with lids/rings.  (Two cans of sweetened condensed milk made three half pints of caramel sauce.)  (Leave a little head space-do not fill brimming full.)

Place the lidded jars of sweetened condensed milk in the crockpot.  Fill with hot water, covering the jars with at least an inch or two of hot water (just hot from the tap).

Cover the crockpot with the lid.

Cook on HIGH 4-6 hours (all crockpots are different) (start checking them at 4 hours!).  Take a peak at your jars to see the color of the caramel as the time passes.  You want a medium caramel color.  Once they look "caramel" colored-at whatever time frame that is for you, they are done!  Take them OUT of the hot water so they don't keep cooking.  This last time I made caramel sauce, I cooked mine about 5 hours and they were a little too done.  Still delicious but a little too thick for my preference. 

Store in the refrigerator after cool (it will get super thick in the fridge).  Also, note that I replaced my lids/rings on the cooked caramel with clean lids/rings because my water left hard water grit on the lids.  

To use after refrigerating, bring to room temp or warm in the microwave until you can stir to a creamy consistency.

Uses for caramel sauce:
  • Dipping apple slices
  • Adding to brownie batter
  • Ice cream topping-milk shakes-sundaes
  • Gift giving
  • Drizzling over desserts like angel food cake, cheesecake, etc.

I find the store bought caramel sauce highly overpriced and will only be making my own from now on!




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