How To Turn A Can Of Cola Into A Quick Caramel Syrup

Like soufflés and hollandaise sauce, making caramel is one of those kitchen tasks that many people avoid due to pure and utter intimidation. We get it. Anytime a recipe calls for temperatures so precise that it requires a thermometer or involves words like "crystallization" or "beware of burns," the fear factor increases. If you're a fan of baking competition shows, surely you've seen contestants in tears over scorched pots of what was a vital element in their bake that they don't have time to redo. All of this might make you want to grab your wallet and keys and pick up a jar of ready-made caramel sauce.

There's nothing wrong with this, but if you want to wow your guests (and, more importantly, yourself) and you're just not up to the challenge that traditional caramel-making poses, there is good news. You can make a homemade caramel sauce with a can of cola and a few other simple ingredients. And bonus — no thermometer is required! The concept makes sense when you think about it — caramel is almost pure sugar, soda is the same, and the caramel color is automatically built in.

Heat + cola = caramel

To whip up a quick batch of caramel syrup, simply heat 12 fluid ounces or a single can of cola with some brown sugar until the mixture has thickened. After about 10 minutes, add a little heavy cream and a generous knob of butter (both for richness and flavor) and stir, and you've got yourself a thick, silky caramel sauce. Once cooled, you can use it in anything you want a caramel flavor in, like coffee drinks, ice cream, drizzled-on baked goods, over popcorn, and more.

You can use any type of cola you'd like but make sure it's the regular version and not diet, as diet varieties have no actual sugar in them. You can use this caramel as a cookie filling and to flavor frostings. You could also add additional ingredients to it, like cinnamon, cayenne pepper, bourbon, or sea salt for extra layers of flavor. Really, once the base is done, the caramel world is at your sticky fingertips.