This post marks Day 15 of Miss Ginsu's 2008 Advent Calendar. To find other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.
Seems like a great year for the home-cooked gift, doesn't it? A little something tasty in a pretty jar. Something you can't just get off a grocery store shelf. Something that says, "I didn't drop a bunch of cash, but there's a whole lotta love in here."
Last season, I recommended you bless friends and family with your own candied orange slices, citrus bitters, do-it-yourself vinaigrettes, a spicy tomato chutney, little lemon loaves and a tangy citrus curd, among other things.
Today, I have another nice little sauce to add to the holiday gifting lineup: a decadent Brandied Caramel Sauce.
Brandied Caramel Sauce (Makes about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp Calvados or brandy
2 Tbsp salted butter (or use unsalted butter with 1/2 tsp salt)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan (it must be roomy and completely dry) cook the sugar over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts.
2. Once the sugar melts, cook without stirring. Simply swirl the pan, until the syrup turns a golden color.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour the water and brandy into the pan down one side of the pan — the mixture will bubble and steam.
4. Return the pan to the heat and simmer, stirring, until the syrup melts into the liquid.
5. Stir in the butter and lemon juice. To store, cool to room temperature and pour into airtight containers. Keep refrigerated and rewarm before serving.
Though it's dreamy spooned over ice cream or hot bread pudding, it's also ace with sliced apples or pears, so I can see this sauce being a lovely gift in a pretty jar along with a basket assortment of your favorite crisp, local fruit.