The Store-Bought Caramel Sauce Ina Garten Drizzles Over Brownies

Demonstrating excellent hostess skills doesn't mean you need to spend hours in the kitchen making every ingredient from scratch. Take it from Ina Garten, a culinary icon who has hosted her share of successful dinner parties. When preparing a batch of ultimate fudgy brownies at home, Garten finishes her freshly made recipe with a warm drizzle of sweet caramel. While the brownies are homemade, the caramel sauce Garten uses to crown her treats is not, and she is in no way shy about acknowledging her easy kitchen shortcut.

"You can make caramel, but why bother?" she admits herself on Food Network. Garten suggests that aspiring at-home chefs reach for quality caramel sauce to use in dishes. Garten herself chooses Fran's caramel sauce, a buttery, luxurious sauce that has attracted recognition from Martha Stewart and the 2018 Good Food Awards. This slow-cooked caramel uses Madagascar vanilla beans to add even more dimension to the sugary, creamy product.

Strategic culinary short cuts

Warming up caramel can help you achieve a silky, thin texture that's easy to work with, making the quick pouring of the sauce across dishes a breeze. The texture of the caramel you use for drizzling over brownies is important, Ina Garten advises, so that your caramel-coated brownies, cakes, and other desserts look as good as they taste.

While you can always try your hand at making caramel sauce yourself at home (creating an ingredient that is perfectly sweetened and salted to your liking), if you're in a pinch for time or simply can't be bothered, don't hesitate to reach for a store-bought variety. Simply heat and start pouring, and you'll be on your way to serving up a treat that your guests will rave about. Like Garten, after coating a tray of hot brownies with caramel, finish the dessert with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt before letting the dish cool to cut and serve.