Chocolate Caramel Sauce

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream, not ultra-pasturized

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes (kosher salt can be substituted)

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan add the sugar and evenly pour the water over top.  Place the pan over medium-high heat and swirl the pan gently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear.  Avoid letting the syrup boil.  Increase the heat to high, cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid, and boil the syrup for 2 minutes.  Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil the syrup until it begins to darken around the edges.  Gently swirl the pan until the syrup turns a deep amber and begins to smoke.  Remove from the heat and add the butter.  Gently stir the mixture until the butter is incorporated.  Add the cream and stir to combine.  If the sauce becomes lumpy with hard clumps, set the pan over low heat and stir until smooth.  Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla, chocolate, and salt, whisking until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Serve warm.  The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month; it will become solid.  Reheat or set out at room temperature before using.  Enjoy!

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