Elevate homemade caramel sauce with the addition of red wine! Full-bodied, robust, and sweet this Red Wine Caramel Sauce is perfect for desserts! Serve over ice cream, on top of brownies, or just off a spoon!
Red Wine Caramel Sauce also makes a delicious gift! Store in a Mason jar and wrap it with a festive ribbon to give to friends and family!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Dry Red Wine (I used a blend!)
- Heavy Cream
How to make homemade caramel sauce:
- Reduce the wine. By boiling it in a small pot on the stove. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Boil the sugar and water. Until the sugar is totally dissolved and turns a deep amber color. If using a thermometer, it should read between 320 – 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the reduced wine. Carefully! Whisk it into the caramelized sugar. It will bubble and steam and harden immediately. Keep stirring, it will smooth out.
- Add the heavy cream and butter. This helps keep the caramel sauce smooth and pourable!
What is wet caramel?
Wet caramel is made by combining granulated sugar and water in a saucepot and bringing it to a boil. It is easier than a dry caramel, which is made by melting granulated sugar solo in a pot. The addition of water helps the sugar granules to dissolve faster, smoother and easier. Don’t worry, the water evaporates during the cooking process!
What temperature for caramel sauce?
Caramel sauce is cooked up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit! That’s pretty freaking hot! If you don’t have a candy or instant read thermometer (I recommend this one!), you’ll want the sugar syrup to be a deeply golden, amber brown that’s the color of a good red ale.
Smooth Caramel Sauce
Crystallization can sometimes occur in caramel sauce. This will leave it feeling “grainy” as the sugar granules separate out from the sauce. To avoid this, follow a few simple tips!
- Don’t stir the caramel while it boils. If the hot caramel comes into contact with the cool sides of the pan it may seize. If necessary, gently swirl the pan to ensure even caramelization.
- Use a wet pastry brush. To brush the sides of the pan with water if it does begin to crystalize!
- Use clean tools! Any debris or residue on your pot or spatula will make the caramel grainy.
Red Wine Caramel Sauce
- Sauce Pot
- Heat Proof Rubber Spatula
- Instant Read or Candy Thermometer
- 1 ½ cups dry red wine
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup heavy cream at room temperature
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
- In a small sauce pot, boil the red wine over medium-high heat until reduced to ½ cup. This will take about 15 minutes. Swirl pan occasionally to avoid burning. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large sauce pot, stir together the granulated sugar and water. Place over medium heat and cook, WITHOUT STIRRING, until sugar has dissolved, and mixture begins to boil.
- Boil sugar until it reaches 350 degrees on an instant read thermometer, or is a deep amber color, about 9 minutes. If desired, swirl the pan to avoid scorching.
- Immediately remove the caramel from the heat and CAREFULLY stir in the wine. There will be an abundance of very hot steam, so be careful as you could burn your hands! Put an oven mitt over the hand holding your whisk, if desired.
- Caramel will seize upon the addition of the wine, keep stirring, it will smooth out. Once smooth, stir in the heavy cream and butter.
- Pour caramel into glass jars and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating for up to two weeks.
- Recipe adapted from Epicurious.