Caramel Topping

The caramel can be stored at room temperature for up to three days, or refrigerated for three months. To reheat, microwave on high for about 1 minute, stirring twice, or else put it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes.

1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a heavy 4-quart or larger saucepan, preferably nonstick, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling, about 5 min. Stop stirring and allow it to boil undisturbed
until it turns a deep amber (380F). Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.

Using a high-temperature, heat-resistant rubber spatula, or a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter. The mixture will be streaky but will become uniform after cooking slightly and stirring. Allow to cool for 3 minutes and then gently stir in the vanilla extract.

Yields 1 cup.

Fine Cooking #35, Rose Levy Beranbaum, the author of The Cake Bible, Roses Christmas Cookies, and The Pie and Pastry Bible.