Where Easy Caramel Sauce is good for a quick caramel fix, Golden Caramel Sauce is the no-holds-barred version where flavor and consistency are top priorities. Traditional caramel sauce relies on heavy cream which allows the sauce to be thick and rich due to the solids present in the cream. This vegan caramel sauce recipe relies on cashew cream to supply the extra cream factor and solids, resulting in a silky smooth golden caramel that's perfect for drizzling on ice creams, baking into pies or tucked into brownies. Substitute the vanilla extract for bourbon, rum or brandy if you want an extra layer of flavor complexity.
1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked and rinsed
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Prepare the cashew cream1)
Place the cashews in a small saucepan with the water. Cover the saucepan, bring the cashews to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer the cashews and the water to a blender and add the coconut oil. Blend on the Whip setting for one minute.
Prepare the caramel3)
In a heavy duty, medium saucepan, add the water then add the sugar in a mound in the middle, taking care to not get sugar on the sides of the saucepan. In another small saucepan, add the cashew cream, cover and place on medium-low heat. Cover the sugar and water mixture and bring it to a boil over high heat until the mixture registers 300F (149C) with a candy thermometer. This should take about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture registers 350F (177C) which should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
While you're caramelizing the sugar, bring the cashew cream to a boil. The goal here is to add the hot cashew cream to the hot caramel; if the cashew cream boils before the water and sugar caramelization is done, remove the cashew cream from heat and leave the cover on.
Remove the cover from the cashew cream and carefully pour about ¼ of it into the caramel mixture, allowing it to bubble vigorously. When the bubbling has subsided, add the remaining cashew cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Slowly and carefully transfer the mixture to a heat proof container placed over a wooden cutting board to insulate your work surface, cover and store in the refrigerator until cool, about 2 hours. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one month. To reheat, just warm it up in the microwave or in a pot and give it a quick stir. Makes about 1 cup of Golden Caramel Sauce.