I discovered this Canadian Thanksgiving the joys of the no-bake cheesecake. I used to snub the idea, but this past weekend had one that was so delicious and stunning, I had to change my mind. Bonus: it did not compete for oven time with the turkey, and sat quietly in wait in the fridge until we were ready for it. The day after, leftovers were revived with a drizzle of caramel – an addition I’ll plan for next time. Caramel sauce is simple to make, and can also be stored in the fridge – warm it up when you need it.
My sister made it, using a Martha Stewart recipe – a simple mixture of cream cheese and cream, flavored with pure maple syrup, poured into a crushed-cookie crust and topped with roasted pears. A perfect vehicle for caramel, I thought – when the leftovers came home with me I doused the lot in thick caramel sauce, just to see. I was right – next time I make this, I’ll give it a caramel spin, or pass a gravy boat of caramel sauce for guests to douse their own.
There are many desserts that can benefit from a quick drizzle of caramel – even the simplest pound cake or baked goods from the grocery store bakery can be given a lift, and made to look extra-special. And a pint of good-quality vanilla ice cream can be transformed into a salted caramel sundae with a warm dose of caramel and sprinkling of coarse, flaky sea salt.
This is a simple recipe – all you need to do is heat the caramels and cream until the caramels melt, stirring until the mixture is smooth. If you want it thicker, add more caramels – to thin it, add more cream. Add a bigger pinch of good-quality salt to make salted caramel sauce.
Thick Caramel Sauce
50 pieces Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, heat the caramels, cream and salt over medium-low heat or in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Store in a jar in the fridge, and rewarm if it gets too thick. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.