Holiday EntertainingWhat to CookDessertHolidays

15-Minute Spiced Caramel That's Vivacious and Velvety

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Let's say you're in a weekend state of mind a little early this week—so what are you doing to celebrate Thursday? We partnered with Simply Organic to share spiced and herbed recipes for cozy gatherings.

Caramel sauce may not seem like an anytime dessert—first of all, who the heck makes a fancy dessert sauce on any given night of the week, and second of all, there’s a lot of bubbling hot sugar to contend with.

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Five-Spice Caramel Sauce
Five-Spice Caramel Sauce

But homemade caramel, in addition to being buttery and thick and warm and making your kitchen smell honeyed, is ready in just about 15 minutes. Making it, really, is no harder than melting down fruit into a sauce (but the finished result keeps longer, feels more luxurious, and later, you can sneak thick, cold spoonfuls of it from the fridge).

And here is something: Put some apples in the oven, just because. Don’t think too hard about it, just slide some cored apples into the oven as you’re sitting down to dinner with your people. Suddenly, no matter how bonkers the month or week or day has been, you’ve got a real dinner with a real dessert in the works. Enlist someone else—your partner, maybe, or someone with small hands—to do the dishes while you make that caramel, which you’ll drizzle over the hot fruit. Or you can skip the fruit and just drizzle the caramel over ice cream instead.

Whisk like a champ.
Whisk like a champ. Photo by Mark Weinberg

Caramel is total magic: Turn the heat on under a pot of sugar—here, sugar and honey, which gives it a warm sweetness—and let the heat transform it; it’ll bubble and bubble and change color and then, just when you start to think that maybe it’s burning and you’ve lost it (lost it!), you whisk in hot cream and it becomes saucy and perfect and complex. This caramel gets a hit of five-spice powder, which makes it especially fall- and winter-appropriate, if you ask me, and gives it a dimension that’s hard to pin down, sort of hovering and warm, and turns it into one of those things that makes you close your eyes when you eat it. It’s even more special than a regular caramel sauce. Especially on any given weekday night.

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Five-Spice Caramel Sauce

D0abaf68 a3aa 4105 a15a 732c3fd0d9ee  186158 Caroline Lange
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Makes about 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • Fat pinch of salt

Thursdays are like warm-ups for the weekend—so why not raise a glass a little early? We partnered with Simply Organic to share spiced recipes for cozy family nights and impromptu get-togethers. Head here to see all their spices, and get ideas for your #ThursdayMoments.


Our magical menu genie will plan your holiay feast for you.

Tags: simply organic, caramel, family