I’ve got a thing for caramel. Not the wannabe stuff that’s sold next to the ice cream cones, wet nuts and Hershey’s syrup. I’m mean real caramel. Sugar melted to lava-like temperatures until it’s just on the verge of scorching and then abruptly stopped by a tidal wave of heavy cream. That’s what I’m talking about! This riff on the original actually has a more complex flavor than a regular caramel. It’s deeper and more intense. Not overly sweet. Perfect. One taste of this luscious stout caramel sauce will have you swooning.
Stout? As in Guinness? Yes. In fact, I used the Extra Stout variety, but I think it would be just as good with the regular stuff. To start, pour a 12 ounce bottle of this iconic black beer into a medium saucepan and simmer until it reduces by half. That should take about 10-12 minutes depending on your stove (I have a gas cooktop and it seems to go faster than most). Make sure you’re using a good quality saucepan for this caramel, because it can scorch with some flimsier cookware.
When the beer is reduced, stir in the vanilla and brown sugar. The brown sugar is better balanced than white sugar against the stronger profile of the stout. Return the mixture to the heat and bring it to a boil. Ignore your natural instincts to stir and instead, just let it cook for about 8 minutes. It’s important to pay attention to the sauce while it’s cooking. When it smells like its just to the point where it could easily burn and the bubbles threaten to overflow the pan, that’s when it comes off the stove.
A few knobs of unsalted butter and a rush of heavy cream will shock the molten sugar in the pan. After the furious sputtering and hissing subsides, whisk until smooth and transfer the caramel to a glass jar to cool completely before refrigerating.
Sometimes caramel sauces harden up to the point where you have to microwave them before you can spoon them onto your cake or ice cream. Not so with this one. It’s soft and velvety right from the refrigerator. Spoon some over a scoop of vanilla, drizzle over strawberries and pound cake — or eat it right from the spoon. I won’t tell. 😉
- 1 12-ounce bottle of stout or extra stout (such as Guinness)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pour the stout into a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook until the stout is reduced by half.
- Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to a rapid simmer and let the mixture cook 8-10 minutes without stirring until sauce turns a deep amber and bubbles start to grow and expand. Mixture will be hot like lava, so be careful.
- Remove from heat and add the butter, cream and salt and stir carefully until fully combined. Transfer to a resealable glass storage jar and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Spoon over ice cream and/or pound cake.
- Drizzle over sliced strawberries.
- Irish Black Cow Float: Vanilla Ice Cream + Stout Caramel Sauce + Guinness