Yield: 1/2 cup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny cubes
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. In a thick-bottomed, light-colored, medium skillet or saucepan, combine water, sugar and lemon juice.
2. Stir over medium-high heat just until the sugar dissolves, then cook without stirring until the mixture comes to a hard boil. Still not stirring, let bubble vigorously for several minutes, until the sugar begins to caramelize and change color. Watch carefully, especially once the color begins to change; if needed to avoid burning, occasionally lift the skillet off the heat and gently tilt to swirl the syrup. As soon as the syrup turns the color of golden amber, remove from the heat.
3. With a whisk, immediately stir in butter until it melts, then whisk in cream. (Can be made ahead of time. Gently rewarm just before serving.)
Per tablespoon: 75 calories; 5g fat; 3g saturated fat; 15mg cholesterol; no protein; 8g carbohydrate; 8g sugar; no fiber; 2mg sodium; 5mg calcium.
Tester's note: A thick-bottomed pan heats more evenly and helps prevent the sugar from burning as it caramelizes. A light-colored pan makes it easier to gauge the color change as the sugar caramelizes. Size is important because when the butter and cream hit the hot sugar, the mixture will briefly balloon in volume.
Recipe adapted for home kitchens by the Post-Dispatch.