It is actually quite easy to caramelize sugar, and there is no need to substitute caramel sauce with an “easier” recipe. Any sauce that is not made with caramelized sugar is missing the depth of real caramel flavour. The full-fat coconut milk provides enough creaminess that you won’t miss cream. However, there is a light coconut flavour.
Making a caramel sauce is basically just caramelizing sugar and adding cream and butter. I have added coconut milk instead of the cream for this vegan version, but I find that adding more fat is not necessary. If you wish, add a tablespoon of coconut oil when the sauce is done.
The tricky part it to bring the sugar to just the right amount of caramelization. A little too long, and you might burn it – a little too short, and you will not get the depth of the caramel flavour but will be left with an overly sweet sauce! So be sure to watch very closely. It takes practice but it definitely pays off!
This sauce is great for serving over ice-cream or other desserts, or for dipping fruit! If you want a less runny sauce that will stay on a cake or cupcake for decoration, decrease the amount of added coconut milk to 1 cup.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
Mix the water and the sugar in a large pan. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat and boil for about 5-7 minutes until the sugar turns an amber colour. Watch it very carefully as it can go from caramel to burnt quite quickly. When it has reached the desired colour, remove from the heat and add the coconut milk. Don’t stand too close to avoid being splattered! Mix until smooth. If there are clumps or crystals, put the pan back on low heat until the caramel is completely dissolved.