Adapted slightly from the version in “The Joy of Cooking,” this is a versatile sauce you can use as a dessert sauce, heat and spoon over ice cream, or stir into hot chocolate. Or, you could make chocolate caramel sauce by using half the amount of butter and stirring in 3 oz chopped chocolate at the end. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks in a sealed container.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp rum, or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan and pour the water evenly over. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, swirling the pan by the handle to stir (don’t use a spoon.) Don’t let the mixture come to a boil before the sugar has dissolved completely. Once it’s dissolved, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, cover the pan, and boil for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to boil until the syrup starts to darken around the edges. Now, start swirling the pan by the handle until the syrup turns a deep amber color, then remove it from the heat and add the pieces of butter, stirring until the butter melts. Next, stir in the heavy cream (if the sauce becomes lumpy, set it over low heat and stir until smooth.) Finally, add the rum or vanilla and ground cinnamon.
Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, spoon the amount you want into a microwaveable container and heat for 20-30 seconds.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.