Growing up, my brother and I had a set of honorary grandparents who did not have any grandchildren of their own, so we were their “grandkids”. I don’t think I even understood that they weren’t my actual grandparents until years later. Anyhow, one of our favorite activities with them was going to their house on Sunday nights. We would get to go swimming in their neighborhood pool, and then go downstairs in their basement family room to enjoy some ice cream. Let me tell you, my Grandpa Horton took his ice cream seriously. Every Sunday night when we were over, their laundry room magically converted into a fully-stocked ice cream parlor with endless supplies of Hudsonville ice cream, all of the toppings you could hope for, and Pepsi straight from a can. Not to mention their wide assortment of candy always at the ready in a large sectioned container, like the kind you would use for a veggie tray. It was good stuff. Before we went home, Grandpa would give both of us a brown paper lunch bag to fill up with candy to bring home. (Until I got my first cavity… then he switched to giving us cash instead of candy. Not a bad deal! Although he also made us both eat a prune every time we visited too…)
With all of the ice cream toppings I could dream of, I always, always, had vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce on top. For a long time, I only ever ate that combo at their house. Now, many years later, both Grandma and Grandpa have been gone for several years, I still get a flashback to my days as a 6 year old with dripping wet hair sitting at my little folding table in the freezing cold air-conditioned basement eating ice cream and listening to Grandpa tell us war stories. Vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce is, and always will be, a very special treat for me. It seemed almost necessary for me to try making some great homemade salted caramel sauce myself in honor of them. I feel like Grandpa would get a kick out of this little blog project of mine.
This Homemade Salted Caramel sauce is a cinch to make as long as you don’t get distracted and let the caramel burn. Watch closely and stir frequently. That’s all there is to it. The darker in color that you cook the caramel, the more nutty flavor you’ll end up with. I like mine a bit on the dark-ish caramel side when it tastes like the caramel on caramel popcorn instead of the caramel sauce that is sold as an ice cream topping. It’s totally up to you though. If you want a more subtle flavor, just cook it a little bit less so that it is a lighter shade of caramel color. Whichever way you choose, you’re in for a treat.