This recipe came about because of a carameltastrophe. My husband and I were invited to a dinner party, and I always like to bring something. I decided to make a batch of Smoked Tea Caramels. For some reason I was thinking I was making a half-batch, and used my 3-quart sauce pan. When I added the cream the caramelized sugar and cream mixture bubbled over to create a burning mess on my glass stove top. Luckily I did not get hurt! I set the pan aside figuring I'd just toss it, but once I had gotten my mess cleaned up I decided to turn it into caramel sauce instead. When the dip contest was announced I was thinking about doing a riff on my Pumpkin Spice Tiramisu as a sweet dip. Since I had a ton of caramel sauce I decided to use it instead. For adult gatherings I recommend the optional alcohol as I think it adds pizzazz. —hardlikearmour
If your caramel sauce is not a pouring consistency at room temperature, heat it briefly in the microwave and add a tablespoon or two of your whipping cream to thin. Allow to cool in the fridge to no warmer than room temperature.
In a medium bowl combine caramel sauce, mascarpone, espresso powder, vanilla extract (1 tsp if using rum or brandy, 2 tsp if not), and rum or brandy. Whisk together until combined. Whisk in whipping cream about 1/3 cup at a time until stiff-peak consistency.
Transfer mixture to serving bowl, and sprinkle with instant espresso powder. Serve with lady fingers, toasted slices of angel food or sponge cake, or fruit slices. It's surprisingly good on bananas!
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.