• Tommy Centola

Try non-chocolate sauce

Most everyone has a sweet tooth. Rarely in restaurants these days will you find a dessert served without a sauce on top or on the plate. The king of those sauces is the chocolate sauce or syrup. You can find many different options at your local grocery store.

While store bought sauces are fine, nothing can compare to the taste of a homemade sauce. The best part of making your own dessert sauces is they are easy to do. Using staple ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator, these dessert sauces will add another dimension to any dessert. Today I am sharing three non-chocolate sauces: Salted Caramel, Butterscotch, and a New Orleans favorite, Praline. Let’s head to the kitchen.

Caramel has long been a favorite sauce addition to desserts. It’s probably one of the top three ice cream toppings, with chocolate syrup and hot fudge. Adding salt to caramel sauce increases the sweetness while adding just a touch of saltiness. I think you will agree with me that salted caramel sauce is a great improvement on the original.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon sized portions

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat. Make sure to use a saucepan that’s a little bigger than what you think you will need. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble just a little. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stop stirring completely. Let the mixture continuing boiling until it turns an amber color, this could take anywhere from 4 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so make sure to do this carefully. Then, mix in the butter, vanilla and salt one at a time. Pour caramel sauce into a dish and allow to cool completely, then cove tightly and store in the refrigerator. The caramel sauce will thicken up some, once it’s cooled and refrigerated. To serve warm, reheat in a microwave oven before serving.

Similar to caramel sauce, butterscotch sauce is another great topping for ice cream and desserts. What makes the butterscotch different from caramel? In a word, sugar. Butterscotch uses brown sugar as its sweet ingredient. The molasses in the brown sugar give butterscotch it’s unique taste.

Butterscotch Sauce

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed dark or light brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, plus more to taste

Melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, cream and salt and whisk until well blended. Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes, whisking occasionally.

Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of the vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Dip a spoon in the sauce and carefully taste the sauce (without burning your tongue!) to see if you want to add additional pinches of salt or splashes of vanilla. Tweak it to your taste, whisking well after each addition.

This sauce recipe is near and dear to my heart. This recipe is from the first restaurant I worked at, LeRuth’s. Used as a topping for it’s homemade ice cream, the praline ice cream is a perfect way to end a meal. This recipe was found in an old notebook and shared on the LeRuth’s Facebook group. The first time I made it, there was no doubt that it was the original.

Praline Sauce

1 quart dark corn syrup

7 ounces sweetened condensed milk

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon butterscotch syrup.

Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Is it easier to just buy a pre-made dessert sauce? Yes. Is it worth spending a few minutes to make your own? Definitely! Most of the time, it’s the little things that make all the difference. A homemade dessert sauce is a little thing, but it goes a long way in flavor and adding a little bit of love to the end of your meal.

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