Homemade Caramel Sauce

When the weather starts turning cool, it pays to keep a jar of caramel on hand. Maybe it’s my professional bias, but stirred into coffee, drizzled over thick slabs of banana bread, or as a syrup for yeast-raised waffles, caramel sauce makes everything taste more cozy and autumnal.

Caramel has gained an unfortunate (and undeserved) reputation for being somewhat tricky, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Caramel is insanely fast and easy to make at home, a three-ingredient affair—nothing more than sugar, water, and cream. Okay, okay, salt and vanilla, too, but it hardly seems fair to count the seasonings.

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In fact, caramel is so deliciously pure and simple that I need to take a moment to dismiss some of the wonky ingredients and techniques that can lead you astray. From overcomplicated recipes to “tips and tricks” that simply miss the mark, here are five ways you can “just say no” too fussy caramel.

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