I have had more than one fail when it comes to caramel sauce. I've tried several recipes, and I haven't been happy with how any of them turned out.
I even tried Barefoot's caramel sauce! She made it look so easy, and I thought it was hard. Mine just didn't look as luscious as hers did on TV.
The problem is, I really like jarred caramel sauce. Apparently it's hard to beat.
But...the other day, I watched Pioneer Woman, and she made this caramel sauce. And it looked easy. Like, you-don't-need-a-candy-thermometer easy.
So I tried it. And I added salt to make it salted caramel sauce (that's because I'm obsessed with Starbuck's Salted Caramel Mocha right now. Have you had one? Oh. my. goodness. Get in your car and run through the drive-thru. Even if you don't like coffee. I'm pretty sure it's mainly milk, chocolate and caramel, anyway. Very little actual coffee.).
As it turns out? This is very easy caramel sauce. Even for me. Even without a candy thermometer.
I had to improvise a bit because I didn't have the exact ingredients at home...I used cream instead of half-and-half (not a bad substitution), and I had to use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar. It made my sauce a bit darker and richer (and maybe better?).
My analysis: you should make this. It's easy (have I mentioned that yet?), delicious and probably keeps forever in the fridge. The least you can do for yourself is to stir it into your coffee.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1/2 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar (use dark or light brown sugar)
1/2 cup cream (or 1/2 & 1/2)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
Melt the butter, brown sugar and cream together in a small pan and bring to a boil. Stir to combine. Continue to boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until thick and caramel-looking. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Pour into a heat-proof container and cover. The sauce will be very thin when hot and will be very thick when refrigerated. Store in the fridge.