The French sure have some given the world some really great ideas. Cinema. The handbag. The hot air balloon. Salty, buttery, caramel that you can squeeze.
While visiting friends in Paris recently, my eyes immediately fell to an inconspicuous item on their kitchen counter — a tube of something called Regliat Caramel Spread. It appeared on the table for dinner one night soon after, when we had a perfect meal: hard cider and crepes slathered in caramel.
Regliat promises that its spread is "for gourmets, or for sports enthusiasts looking for a quick source of energy." Sure, you could eat it because you're . . . a sports enthusiast. If you're not of a particularly athletic bent, however, I'm here to say that a big dollop of caramel is also perfect for anyone whose Continental tastes run toward Biscoff and Nutella.
France takes its caramel very seriously. Its preferred version comes from Brittany, where the confection originated and where it excels. Back home in New York, I can come close with my own intensely deep, rich, homemade version. Best of all, it only takes four ingredients and 15 minutes to make.
David Lebovitz's recipe is perfection — just heed his advice that "the trick is to get the caramel base as dark as possible in step 2, close to burnt, but not quite." Don't be shy with the salt, either — the crunch is essential. I also like to add a hit of good balsamic vinegar for a surprise kick, but it's entirely optional.
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Use this as you would any delicious, sweet spread. You can pour it warm over fruit or ice cream, spoon it into your morning oatmeal or drizzle it as an irresistible topping for cake. Or you can just smear it on crusty bread for the easiest, Frenchest snack possible — a taste of Paris wherever you are.
Recipe: Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Inspired by David Lebovitz and Garlic & Zest
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Over medium heat, add the butter and sugar to a large saucepan or pot.
- Let the butter and sugar melt together, stirring often with a wooden spoon. It takes a few minutes for everything to get smooth and incorporated — don't give up!
- When the mixture is a rich brown, remove from the heat.
- Slowly pour in the cream, stirring constantly, until smooth. Be careful: It may bubble and sputter.
- Mix in the salt, and vanilla or balsamic vinegar, if using. Serve warm, or let cool and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
If you want to go full French, pick up some butter by Isigny Ste Mère.
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More French-inspired recipes we love:
- One ingredient gives this classic French dish new life
- French-inspired lentils are the easiest cure for your winter blues
- This cheesy, no-tear French onion soup is ready in under 30 minutes
- Two-ingredient Nutella palmiers are the easiest cookies you'll ever make
- David Lebovitz's L'embrassadeur is the next best thing to being embraced by the warm sun
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