Vegan Apple Cider Caramel Sauce! get creative...

Vegan Caramel Sauce is so easy!

Yesterday I made a Caramel Apple Pie with Apple Cider Caramel Sauce drizzle. But instead of posting both recipes at once, I've split them into two posts. Sauce. Then Pie. I want to show you how versatile and inspiring this Caramel Sauce can be on its own!

Today the Caramel Sauce recipe - and this weekend I will share my Apple Pie recipe with you. So for today, lets let our Caramel Sauce imaginations run wild!.. Caramel Banana Split for dessert this weekend? Caramel apple slices dipped in cashews to snack on? Hot Caramel Apple Cider? Oh yes!...

Let's just look and drool for a few photos before we dive into the recipe...

Apple slices with nuts and caramel sauce...

Sneak Peek at my next post: Apple Pie (w/ sauce!)...

This sauce, which started out as a pie recipe side note, a mere afterthought to my original recipe - turned out to be so luscious, gooey, flavorful and inspiring that I knew it deserved its very own post. Not only does this sauce work as the perfect accent to my apple pie recipe - but it can accent a wide variety of dessert and even snack recipes! Here are a few Caramel recipe ideas...

* Drizzled over soy cream for a Caramel Sundae or Parfait.
* Caramel Banana Split.
* Caramel Latte Coffee Beverage (with soy whip and caramel drizzles over top).
* Hot Caramel Apple Cider.
* Grilled bananas with Caramel Sauce.
* Poached pears with Caramel Sauce.
* Peanut butter and crackers with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce. Add bananas too.
* Caramel apple slices dipped in crushed nuts.
* Caramel Sauce over warmed pound cake.
* Caramel Sauce drizzled over warm pancakes or waffles in place of syrup.
* Grilled pineapple with Caramel Sauce.
* Vanilla soy yogurt with a drizzle of caramel sauce, fruit and nuts.
* Vanilla Caramel SoyShake.
* Chocolate Pudding with Caramel Sauce.
* Sticky Caramel Pudding.
* Caramel Pecan Pie.
* Caramel Rice Pudding.
* Fold in vegan butter - melt into warm caramel - for a 'buttered toffee caramel' flavor.
* Homemade candy with Caramel filling.
*Apple Crisp of Pie with sauce ( my recipe soon!) get the idea!

Variations. I made this sauce in a few different batches to see how I could modify ingredients. The original cider sauce (as seen in the photos) was fabulous. But then I made a second sauce subbing the 1/2 cup of apple cider with 1/4 cup chai tea concentrate 1/4 cup water and a splash of soy milk. And a Tbsp more corn starch. This sauce was also fabulous. It was much thicker from the additional corn starch. When it cooled it turned into a sort of caramel pudding texture. Here is a photo of the (more corn starch added) recipe..

So in the recipe - you can add 1 tsp to up to 3 Tbsp corn starch - the more you add, the thicker the sauce will become. The 3 Tbsp caramel is lovely directly off the stove. But when it cools, it firms up quite a bit into pudding.

And you can also play around with that 1/2 cup of cold liquid (even adding more to thin out your caramel). You can use apple cider as I did, or a combo of various liquids you may have on hand. Try soy milk, rice milk, chai concentrate, tea, pear juice, coconut milk - whatever your mind can dream up!

Consistency: the corn starch will greatly modify the body of the caramel - but so will the amount of liquid you use. For a thinner consistency caramel, add more liquid to the recipe. Again, play around with this recipe and create the caramel you crave!

Another modification option is to add a generous dash of flour to the corn starch mixture. This will brown your sauce and bit more and give it a more complex texture.

Lastly, you'll also notice I added lemon juice to my cider caramel recipe below. This is an optional element for a basic caramel - but I really liked the fresh zing lemon added. It complimented the warm apple cider flavors quite nicely.

Be creative and have fun with caramel!

Caramel Sauce. Heating the sauce is simple - no special tools required. When it cools it turns into a thick bowl of sticky goodness.

Vegan Apple Cider Caramel sauce
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup vegan shortening (I used Earth Balance shortening sticks)
1 cup vegan dry sugar (I used Whole Foods 365 brand)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1-3 Tbsp corn starch (or arrowroot powder) *see variation notes above
1 tsp ginger powder
Dash cinnamon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt (opt'l)
1 tsp molasses (opt'l)

1. Dissolve the corn starch into the cider.

2. Add the cider/starch to a sauce pan with the other ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil - stirring constantly. When the bubbling becomes intense, reduce to medium heat and continue stirring until the mixture thickens a bit. Next, for some reason I decided to whip the caramel in my food processor for a few minutes to beat some air into it. This turned out to be a great idea. I think it really fluffed up the caramel in the end. After whipping it I reheated it for another minutes - then turned off the heat. I tried also using my foam wand (normally used for coffee) that actually seemed to work well too! An immersion blender would also work. If you don't have anything to whip the caramel with it will still turn out fine - just a bit less airy.

3. Remove from heat. Pour the sauce into a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Once chilled, use sauce as you wish in recipes!

And don't miss my Caramel Apple Pie recipe next up...

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