Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Let’s talk ice cream toppings this morning. Do you ever eat your ice cream plain or are there always toppings involved? I don’t need a lot to make me happy, but at the very least there have to be sprinkles. I don’t care if they’re chocolate or rainbow, but they’re not optional. If I’m going all out and adding a sauce and whipped cream too, I’m most likely to choose strawberry sauce. It has to be the good stuff with chunks of real strawberries though! I’m honestly not much of a hot fudge person, even where it makes the most sense. Growing up my combination of choice was always mint chocolate chip ice cream with strawberry sauce, which people usually told me was a really odd pairing. To each his own, right?

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

It’s only recently that I’ve started to fall in love with peanut butter sauce too, and this homemade peanut butter caramel sauce has a lot to do with that. It was about a month ago that I stumbled upon the recipe and immediately ran to the kitchen to give it a try. If you’ve ever made traditional caramel sauce, the process here is nearly identical – except at the last minute you stir in a big scoop of creamy peanut butter! It immediately transforms the caramel into the most luxuriously thick and creamy sauce; I can almost guarantee you’ll just want to eat it by the spoonful. The flavor is very similar to a traditional peanut butter sauce but it has caramel notes that give it a little more sweetness and depth.

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

You can do a ton of things with this sauce, it’s really versatile. I ended up baking with most of mine, and I’ll be sharing those recipes with you later this week. If you’d rather keep things simple, the peanut butter caramel sauce is an amazing dip – perfect with apples, bananas, chocolate graham crackers, and anything else you can think of. Alternatively, drizzle it over brownies, apple pie or even chocolate cake. There aren’t too many places this sauce wouldn’t be appropriate!

And yes, peanut butter caramel sauce also goes well with mint chocolate chip ice cream in case you were wondering :)

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
slightly adapted from Bobby Flay (via Food Network)

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
pinch sea salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the heavy cream to a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. You just want the cream to be lukewarm – don’t boil it. Add the sugar and water to a second small saucepan and swirl the pan to combine. Set over medium to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Cover the pan and continue cooking for two minutes (the steam will wash down the sides of the pan). Remove the cover and continue cooking (without stirring) until the caramel becomes amber in color. Gradually whisk in the warm cream, mixing until the mixture is smooth (if some of the caramel seizes, just reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until it melts). Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Transfer to a heatproof jar.

Once cool, store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It will thicken considerably in the fridge – to serve either warm it gently in a small saucepan or in the microwave until fluid.