Friday, April 27, 2012

Calling All Caramel Lovers!

Since I'm not an ice cream lover, my kids have never really had the weekly family visit to the local ice cream parlor. I suppose it could be considered selfish, but unless someone else suggests a visit, I forget about ice cream until a birthday rolls around. However, within the last couple months our friends have introduced us to a fun and unique frozen yogurt experience. My main objection to an average ice cream (or frozen yogurt) parlor is that we're forced to choose a size of cup, and often even the child-size is way more than I want. I hate paying for a large portion of ice cream that I won't be able to eat.

My love of U-Swirl started when I realized that they charge by weight. Not by how heavy-handed the server is, but because it's a self-serve operation. The basic idea is for the customer to walk a buffet line of 20 frozen yogurt machines, filling their cup with any amount of all flavors they choose, then move on to a topping bar of around 50-60 toppings, ranging from Captain Crunch Cereal to fresh fruit. The last stop before weighing our masterpiece is the sauce bar, which is stocked with approximately 15 squeeze bottles of sauce; everything from fruit sauces to marshmallow cream. What's really great about having all these choices is getting a preschooler through this extensive line in less than 2 minutes. If I took either of my kids at this age to a standard ice cream parlor, it would take 10 minutes for them just to make an ice cream choice. By the time we got toppings on, we'd be fighting amongst ourselves, and Family Fun Night will have been officially called off. At the U-swirl register your treat is weighed and you pay for only what you've filled. My cups usually have a couple bites of a couple different flavors, maybe some waffle cone chips, and a drizzle of caramel. The kids' cups are always a disgusting looking mess, but their pride in creating such masterpieces is always worth the rolling of my stomach.

After a few visits to U-swirl, fully enjoying my caramel topping, I found a new recipe for Classic Caramel Sauce. Posted to by lululovesfood, this recipe is very simple to make, but does require some patience to melt the sugar without burning it. This caramel is so delicious that I wanted to put it over everything! As it turned out, my favorite use was for dipping green apple slices, but it also made a delicious copycat version of Shari's restaurant's Cinnamasation French Toast. I made a basic cinnamon French toast, then topped it with pecan pieces, maple syrup and a drizzle of caramel. Delicious! This caramel can easily be drizzled over popcorn, ice cream, pound cake or fruit. It's rich, but not too sweet, and with this recipe handy I'll never need to buy another jar of caramel sauce!

Classic Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Measure and gather all three ingredients at the stove. Set a small, heavy sauce pan over medium/high heat. Add the cup of sugar, and begin stirring constantly. Melting the sugar may take a while but hang in there. Once it begins to melt it happens very quickly. When melted, the sugar will turn amber or light brown in color. Continue stirring constantly, and add the 6 Tablespoons of butter. The sauce will begin to bubble and foam a bit with the addition of the butter. When the butter is melted, stir in the 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Continue stirring to incorporate the cream, but the sauce will start to come together. Once it is all combined, turn down the heat and serve. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed jar or plastic container in the refrigerator. It can be re-heated for drizzling by setting the container in a pan of hot water for several minutes, a few seconds in the microwave, or eaten straight out of the fridge for dipping apples.


  1. That is one good looking caramel sauce! perfection.

  2. I saw somewhere that you were offering to send the Rocket Chef manual that you have scanned. I would appreciate a copy of this as well. Thank you so much! Oh, and this caramel sauce looks to die for! Yum!

  3. Thanks Rita and Donna! Donna, I've started sending you the two parts of the Magic Bullet/Rocket Chef manual. Enjoy it! :)


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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License