A couple of weeks ago, in the post titled, Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie, I included a recipe for Caramel Blondies with a Peanut Butter Caramel Blondie variation. The post shows a layer of Blondie batter with dollops of Peanut Butter Caramel over the top and a second layer of batter being spread over the caramel. The lead photo also features the Peanut Butter Caramel Blondie variation.
However, mea culpa, I didn’t include the recipe for the Peanut Butter Caramel in that post, because I intend to use it in other desserts and thus want it to appear on its own in the archive. But of course I didn’t expect two weeks to fly by so fast, nor intend to leave you hanging for such a long time.
I hope you will forgive me for the delay when you taste this creamy dreamy caramel, which is fairly firm at room temperature or saucy when warm. If you don’t want to bake Blondies in this summer heat, try it warmed over the best vanilla ice cream you can get. Add roasted, salted peanuts, Caramelized Banana and either chopped bittersweet bar chocolate or finely crushed espresso beans for an uncommonly good, altogether grownup sundae.
Peanut Butter Caramel
This heavenly caramel has so many uses. You can add frozen dollops of it to a Brownie or Blondie batter, warm it to serve over ice cream, chill it to frost a cupcake, or serve it at room temperature as an accompaniment to tart sliced apples.
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup water
½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
- To caramelize the sugar, in a 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the syrup clears. To prevent crystallization, do not rush this first step; use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to wash down the sides of the saucepan.
- When the sugar is fully dissolved, raise the heat, bring the syrup to a boil, and stop stirring. Continue heating without stirring until the syrup turns a medium-dark amber color. (An instant-read thermometer will test at 340°, but color alone is a reliable indicator.)
- Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream and then the butter. The mixture will foam and sputter, so be very careful. When sputtering subsides, stir with a silicon spatula until smooth.
- Return to a boil and boil until the mixture reaches 248°, about 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add salt and vanilla, and incorporate.
- Let cool for about 20 minutes.
- When the caramel is still very warm, but not super hot, stir in the peanut butter thoroughly.
- Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Note If the caramel is too stiff after incorporating the peanut butter or when at room temperature, warm it slightly in the microwave and then stir in cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. You can even add enough cream to achieve a sauce consistency.
Makes about 1 cup.