When it comes to holiday latte’s, there’s an invisible line separating those who love pumpkin spiced from those who love salted caramel.
Apparently, you can’t love both.
When I told my dairy-free friend Maria about my newest dairy-free pumpkin spiced creamer, she said she wasn’t a big pumpkin fan… that she preferred the salted caramel mocha instead. (Although she DID gladly take the leftover cashew cream off my hands, WITH a smile I might add.)
Personally, I’m a pumpkin fan. I could take or leave salted caramel (and I usually leave it). I will admit though, that while I’m not a big fan of salted caramel on a spoon, just put it on my food and it’s a completely different story.
Add some to my coffee with splash of half and half and I’ll make the stuff disappear lickety split! It’s like a hot cup of heaven!
That cup of coffee was so good, so so SO good, there is no way I could withhold the recipe from you guys. It would have been a severe injustice to the frugal folks who enjoy their salted caramel latte’s and don’t enjoy paying big bucks for them.
I made the sacrifice though, just in case my taste buds were off. I swung into Starbucks last week for a Vente cup of research… at least that what I told Mr. Crumbs. The results were not what I expected though – MINE WAS BETTER!
Homemade Salted Caramel
So here it is, a homemade salted caramel recipe in its full glory.
First though, let me note that there’s a negative stigma associated with making caramel and candies and such – and rightly so. Cooking with sugar is dangerous, scary, and finicky. Clear the kids out of the kitchen, wear long sleeves (trust me on that one) and do not multi-task while making caramel!
Read the directions in their entirety, twice, and have all ingredients on hand before you begin. Homemade caramel is NOT impossible, but it requires your full attention. Once you make it – and oh yes, you will want to make this – you’ll understand what I mean. And then you won’t be scared to make it again!
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
Homemade salted caramel adds the perfect balance of sweet and salty to any drink or dessert, making it absolutely delicious!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- Yield: approx 3 cups 1x
- In a large 5-6 quart, heavy bottomed pot, measure sugar in an even layer. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt. The sugar will be clumpy at first, but will melt down as it continues to cook.
- When the sugar has completed melted, stop whisking. Tilt the pan, or use the whisk to gently move the sugar around in the pan as the sugar cooks. When the sugar reaches 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer, or turns a light amber color, add all the butter at the same time. The sugar will bubble angrily when you do this, so be careful. Whisk the butter into the sugar until it is completely melted and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Slowly add the half & half to the sugar, whisking as you pour. Again, the sugar will bubble up angrily, so be careful. Whisk until all the half & half is incorporated and smooth. Add the kosher salt and whisk to blend well.
- Let the caramel cool for 15 minutes before storing in a glass jar. Allow caramel to completely cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. The caramel will keep for up to two weeks.
- The caramel will harden in the fridge, so allow to come to room temperature before using in recipes requiring a pour or drizzle. For recipes in which it will be mixed right in, cold caramel is fine.
Each serving is approximately 1.5-2 Tbsp, to taste.
Homemade Salted Caramel Drinks
Once you’ve made a batch of this creamy, delicious, sweet stuff, you’ll want to smear it over everything. I don’t think I’d recommend it over steak (although you never know!), but here are some ideas that are sure-fire winners:
- Coffee Creamer: one serving of SC + 2 Tbsp half & half
- Latte: one serving of SC + 1 cup strong coffee + 1/2 cup preferred hot milk (serve over ice to enjoy cold)
- Mocha: one serving of SC + 1 cup strong coffee + 1/2 cup preferred hot milk + single serving of homemade instant hot cocoa (serve over ice to enjoy cold)
- Tea: one serving of SC + 1 cup of chai tea (serve over ice to enjoy cold)
- Warmer: one serving of SC + 1 cup warm milk
- Hot Chocolate: one serving of SC + single serving of homemade instant hot cocoa
- Kid-Friendly “Latte”: one serving of SC + 1 cup warmed apple juice/cider + 1 Tbsp half & half (serve over ice to enjoy cold)
- Yogurt: one serving of SC + 1 cup regular or Greek yogurt
A great addition to ANY salted caramel recipe is a touch of finishing salt for that extra savory flavor that brings any dessert to the next level. I love Ava Jane’s Kitchen because it doesn’t have microplastics (gross, right?) and it’s SO GOOD! Plus, you can get a bag for just 1¢!! (Get your penny bag of salt on this page.)
But that’s not all!
- Drizzle over oatmeal peach or maple apple apple pear crumble, or in place of syrup on sourdough waffles or pancakes (or over these soaked pancakes instead)
- Stir into traditional oatmeal or use as a dip for freshly picked apples
- Drizzle over homemade ice cream instead of store-bought caramel
- Use in place of brown sugar in holiday baking recipe for a delicious sweet & savory combination
More DIY Holiday Beverages
- Salted Caramel Mocha
- Cinnamon Dolce Latte
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Latte
- Peppermint Mocha
- Vanilla Bean Creamer
- Homemade Eggnog
- Pumpkin Pie Apple Cider