This is the thing about Christmas–sometimes you can’t get it all done. I was out for more than ten hours yesterday and dragged my sleep-deprived self home to an even more sleep-deprived husband I hadn’t seen in two days. And I decided that the little time we had to spend together eating dinner before we collapsed was more important than writing about caramel pecan sauce. Part of the reason I write this blog is to share recipes, stories, memories, and the joy I receive from these foods and experiences. Even though I went to bed feeling guilty that I wasn’t on time with the day’s planned entry, there are only so many times each year you can enjoy mushroom risotto (don’t worry, it was leftover and you will read about it soon) in front of the Christmas tree with your best friend.
And you get to read about caramel pecan sauce anyways–one of my mother’s greatest Christmas hits. I remember her at the stove late at night during many Christmas seasons, whipping up this sauce to gift to neighbors, teachers, and coaches. Mom would beautifully package this sauce in jars with thick, red ribbons or tasteful tissue paper. I unfortunately did not receive her knack for packaging and crafts, but I can make a mean caramel pecan sauce like her. As long as you have butter, whipping cream, dark brown sugar, and pecans on hand, you can make this in minutes for an instant dessert or hostess gift. Serve over perfectly ripe pears, drizzled on your apple pie, and of course over ice cream. Brigham’s peppermint stick, preferably.
Caramel Pecan Sauce (from Kate)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. pecan halves
1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 c. whipping cream
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until the nuts are toasted and the butter is lightly browned. Add brown sugar and cream and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and the sugar dissolves and the mixture turns deep golden brown. Remove from heat to cool and pour into pitcher to serve or jars to store. Makes about 2 cups.
Note: The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools and may be refrigerated for a couple of weeks. Reheat before serving.