Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. water

1 c. heavy cream

1 T. unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (OR seeds of 1 vanilla bean)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat cream and butter in small microwave safe dish until just warm; set aside.

Spread sugar in medium saucepan; add water. Heat on medium-low heat until mixture becomes mostly clear. Do not stir! This could cause the sugar to crystallize and get all chunky and non-caramely. Gently swirl the pan to prevent hot spots and burning. Continue heating, about 10 minutes, until mixture turns medium amber and immediately remove from heat.

While whisking continuously, slowly pour in about half of cream mixture. Continue whisking until evenly combined. Whisk in remaining cream. Add vanilla bean paste, extract and salt. Stir well and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in airtight container in fridge.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, previously Cook Like a Champion