Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

I love caramel anything.

Right up there with vanilla flavored or vanilla scented anything, caramel makes me do the happy dance.

Add a little dark rum to it?  Even better.

Try not to just drink this caramel sauce.  Because I totally wanted to.



Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

1 c sugar

1/4 c water

1/2 c butter (1 stick)

1/2 c heavy cream (I used half-and-half)

1 tsp vanilla extract (I used TJ’s bourbon vanilla)

2 tbsp dark rum (or bourbon, whiskey, other rum, or other liquor such as Gran Marnier, Cointreau, etc. – adding alcohol is entirely optional and if you omit, you’ll still have amazing caramel sauce)


Place sugar in a heavy sauce pan or medium-sized pot and add the water.  Turn stove to medium-high heat and stir  until sugar has dissolved (avoid letting sugar burn)

Cover pot, turn heat to high, and boil for 2 minutes.

Remove lid and continue to boil on high heat until syrup turns brown around the edges of the pan.  Swirl the pan occasionally until mixture turns a deep amber and begins to smoke.

Remove pan from heat.

Add butter (the mixture will really bubble) and gently stir until all butter is mixed in.

Stir in cream (more bubbling)

Add vanilla extract and rum (or liquor of choice).

Stir until bubbling stops.  (If sauce become lumpy, set pan over low heat and stir until smooth then remove from heat)

Pour into glass (or heat-safe) container. 

And immediately put your pot and any utensils used into some soapy water so that cleanup is not an exercise in elbow-grease-Hades.


I admit that it’s a bit scary working with boiling sugar and any time one makes candy, caramels, or sauces that involve boiling sugar, this is a time to be 100% focused on what you’re doing because in 4-5 minutes, it’s all over.

In those 5 minutes, pay attention to what you’re doing so you don’t burn yourself, burn the house down, or worse, waste all that good sugar, butter, and cream.

This is what the sugar + water looks like after it’s dissolved and boiling for 30-45 seconds

Barely browned on the left side of the pot

This is 30 seconds later.  Much more browned.

You should be swirling the pot right about now.  Not taking pictures!

And this is 1 minute after that.

Browned and ready.

And, it has just created the most luscious scent in your house that will linger and waft for the next 18 hours making sure you remember you have caramel sauce on hand.

Now remove it from the heat and start adding the butter, cream, vanilla, and rum as directed.

Stir and get ready to dig into your caramel sauce which literally only takes 5-10 minutes to make.

I used apples because I had them on hand, but you could dip peaches, nectarines, bread, crackers, cucumbers or kale leaves or a dirty sock in this stuff.

Really, it will work with anything.

And everything does taste better emerging from a caramel bath.

Hungry yet?

Or shall I say thirsty?

Drink up Spoon Up and enjoy!

I thought I’d show you just how much I adore caramel:

In cookies: Vegan GF Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan, GF)

In caramel macchiatos (vegan)

In raw vegan caramel form (3 ingredients! and vegan, GF)

and Raw Vegan Caramel Nut Butter Bites are always a hit

And if you want a sweet dessert to get drunk off with a lovely touch of rum in it, try my Vegan Bananas Foster recipe

Combining a caramel-ey finish, flaming bananas, lots of sugar, and lots of rum.  Perfect.

From my last post, Cookie Monster, it was fun hearing what your favorite types of cookies are!


1. Do you like Caramel?  Fave ways to eat it?

One of my least favorite ways to use caramel was when a jar of caramel sauce fell out of my cupboard and shattered all over my floor.

What a sticky, glassey, nightmare that went on for hours.  Days if you count the miniscule glass fragments that I kept finding.  Shudder.

2. Do you ever make any sauces, dips, or recipes with alcohol in them?

Not that I am a boozehound these days, but I do think cooking with a little something-something every now and then can add a nice layer of flavor to a recipe.

All the actual alcohol gets burned off anyway, and what remains is the flavor layer and depth it imparted, which is usually pretty subtle, anyway.  Unless we’re talking bananas foster.  Not subtle, and I love that.

My Rum Cake Balls (no-bake, vegan, GF)  are really tasty and are middle-of-the-road in terms of how much alcohol you can taste.

Nothing like the cake from story I told from our time in the Caribbean that inspired the recipe in terms of alcohol content!


And to each her own.  If you don’t drink, aren’t old enough to drink, don’t drink for health or other reasons, rock on.  All of my recipes that call for alcohol will still “work” or “turn out” just fine if you don’t add it.

3. Best thing you ate or did over the weekend?

I slurped down some Dark Rum Caramel Sauce, but of course.

And I have plans for Sunday still!

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!


  1. I totally see why you would want to drink this. My question is how do you contain yourself because i don’t think I could!

  2. I looooove caramel! It is one of my VERY favorite things. But I don’t drink alcohol, and even when I did, rum was my least favorite drink. You know what though? This looks irresistible. Only you could make me want to drink rum again, Averie! You are a genius!

  3. I am sooo with you on vanilla. I really don’t make many sauces with alcohol, other than maybe using some wine in them.

  4. …but all of this talk of caramel begs the question: is it ‘care-uh-mel’ or ‘car-muhl’? ;)
    i can just imagine those crisp apples covered with this stuff. looks, sounds and reads to be amazing!!
    cooking with alcohol…i have been lately (i mean, once you buy a bottle, you’ve got a whole bottle!) and like you said, i enjoy the extra layer of flavor. and besides. kahlua is just plain good. i’ve also done glazes with red wine and that was fun – although i can’t say i’ll be making vodka brownies anytime soon ;)

  5. That caramel sauce with the apples looks unbelievable. Such amazing photos, I can almost taste it just by looking at them. I love caramel, but I hardly ever eat it. And cooking with alcohol – even though I don’t drink, I do think a bit of booze in desserts can be a really nice addition.

  6. WOW. I’ve never thought to combine rum and caramel. Genius at its finest. Again.

  7. Girl, this caramel sauce looks amazing! Love the apple dunkers too. Just submitted to StumbleUpon :)

  8. OH. MY. GOD. I am going to MAKE this. Caramel is awesome.
    Yesterday I went to an art festival, which was cool. I picked up some artisan chive and onion dip mix and put it in some greek yogurt. So good.

  9. Haha…I love caramel anything AND I love rum anything, so this is perfection for me :-)

  10. Mmm I love caramel so much! I’m just like you…caramel and vanilla <3

  11. This looks delicious! Apples are a great choice for dipping. Some nuts would be yummy too, maybe almonds or brazil nuts?

  12. Caramel is right up there with my most favourite things! I don’t really bake with alcohol, but I am with you on the vanilla, love it!

  13. I love caramel!
    I’ve never made anything sweet with alcohol but I’ve made savory wine sauces before. Yum!!

  14. Double YUM! I could see it being amazing on top of oatmeal. Holy yum!
    Quick question, if one was interested in buying a purse online… where would she go? Any ideas?

  15. Looks amazing!! I would drink this sauce too :)

  16. oh. my…. this looks heavenly. Honestly butter and cream make any recipe ten fold better. I would never be able to live without those two! Your pictures!!!! I know a lot of people compliment you on them lately, but I just have to say you really have improved so much on the composition especially. Love it!

  17. I’m sitting here munching on an apple and wishing I had that caramel sauce! Man, and here I thought this delicious juicy apple was good, but that sauce would make it GREAT! I love, love, love caramel! I have made a caramel sauce before and I have actually burned the crap out of a caramel sauce before, lol. But I don’t think I’ve ever made anything or cooked with alcohol before.

  18. Yum, the caramel sauce looks great. My hemp fudge balls actually tasted a little like rum balls, not sure how. :-P But I adore chewy, date-based raw vegan caramels with nuts – yum! So great recipes in this post! :-)

    1. Yes!
    2. I add wine to cooked vegan dishes a lot and the occasional fruit cocktail in the Vita-Mix.
    3. Went out to eat last night and got a lot done in the house.

  19. Mmmm caramel! Awesome food photography as always.
    I’ve been wanting to make your rum cake balls for a while now and since this post has sparked some serious caramel cravings, and I always love to bake on Sundays, I just might have to give them a try!

  20. omg, the picture are absolutely stunning!!! I bet it took quite a while to decorate everything to make it look that great!
    best thing I did over the weekend: I took part in a spinning-marathon (3 hours). One of the most amazing things I have ever done!

  21. My goodness I think I put weight on just looking at your blog! :D Everything always looks so good! And I love cooking stews with red wines… yum! Apart from that I’m not so adventurous with alcohol… aside from when drinking it! ;)

  22. Oh my! This looks amazing! I olove love love caramel, and I bet this goes great with the apples! And over icecream, or pancakes..

  23. dip kale or a dirty sock… haa, that’s awesome.

    I’m not a big rum fan, but in this? yes please!

    Happy Sunday!

  24. Yummy! I do love to incorporate alcohol into recipes :) It gives it that extra special kick!

  25. This looks great! I love caramel. I would definitely drizzle this over a spice cake. Holy Yum!

  26. That looks like an ice cream topping to me!!! YUMMMM

    I would have nightmares about that caramel shattering. I hate breaking glass, and with 16 little feline walking around, makes me extra stressed.

    Haven’t talked all weekend. Miss you <3

  27. That’s so funny, I made a pineapple upside-down cake with rum caramel this weekend! You’ve shown me the light… I should’ve just made a bowl of caramel and shoved my face in it. There’s totally still time to make that happen.

  28. Best thing I did this weekend was go to a motorcycle course (which I’m at right now!) and watch my boy-friend do what they love haha.

  29. mmm that looks RICH! i make a grand marnier sauce to drizzle over pcakes sometimes for brunch.just got rid of nate’s fam who has been staying with us since fri so unfortunately my sunday leisure is a mad scramble to clean up, and restart the week. lots of cooking this afternoon to get me ready for work lunches etc. oh adulthood ha.

  30. Oh Wow! YUM YUM YUM!!!!!

    I love caramel. Especially a good, deep, dark caramel like this.

    Was I mistaken when I thought that you were vegan? I am a little confused, I think.

  31. Averie, you are SUCH a sweetheart. Love u so much!

  32. I ADORE caramel sauce!! Actually, caramel anything ;)

  33. Yum…that sauce looks amazing! I had fun teaching yoga outside yesterday at a campground. Loved the breeze and eating lunch afterwards out by the lake.

  34. This looks and sounds quite delicious! Around the holidays and for gifts in general we make a lot of rum cakes in my house. Sometimes we’ll switch it up and use a different kind of liquor but I think rum is the best!

  35. ow! What a great treat! I love caramel flavor with apples- SO good! Best thing I did this weekend? See the outcome of Josh’s sister painting our baby room! Pictures to come tomorrow

  36. If I hadn’t just inhaled way too many meringue cookies, I’d be all over this right now. As it is, the thought of sugar is enough to make me….well, you know. The photos however, made me drool, and in the sugar-shocked state I am in that is saying A LOT. Normally in this condition, pictures like this wouldn’t be remotely appealing, but theses….you’ve got the goods, friend.

  37. Caramel is one of my faves too! Vanilla is number 1 though! :D YUMMY!
    When i look at that broken jar of caramel sauce I want to cry…
    Best thing I did this weekend is turn 30! Woooo! Big party, lots of family and friends, great food and music = Perfect! PLUS the sun came out and it was singlet weather… We’re in the middle of winter over here! So it was gorgeous!
    Oh oh oh and I have a recipe for YOU!
    Best thing I made/ate this weekend was White Tim Tam Balls. White Tim Tams, condensed milk and coconut. Whats not to love?! :D

  38. i wish there were a way to make vegan caramel sauce. its just not the same. at all. i used to adore caramel with apple slices. mmmm…

  39. I still want to make those cookies, but I cannot find peanut flower in my city at all :-(

  40. LOL I totally believe that this stuff could make even a dirty sock taste good. ;) I love caramel but I never bake with it for some reason! But my mom makes an amazing oat, chocolate and caramel bar recipe that I’m dying to try out.

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  42. Umm speaking of caramel, my friends said those Salted Caramel popsicles at the Viva Pop stand were AMAZING. I had the Strawberry Basil which was so good, I went in & bought a regular size one at the end of the event! :-)

    • By the time we got to Viva Pops, they were out of everything except key lime. Scott said the key lime pop was probably the best thing he ate all day. And he likes cheese, salty, savory, etc…not a key lime guy..at all. But he loved it!

  43. This looks like it might also be really good with bananas. I have a plethora of them and have been using them in some recipes on my blog (http://mynaturallyfrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2011/06/hidden-inspiration.html)

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  46. Caramel is a wonderful thing! I love making it from scratch, adding roasted pecans and serving it over cheesecake. Then I mix the leftover sauce (with pecans) into Cool Whip and freeze it. That gets scooped out like ice cream onto cones. DROOL!!!!! Not healthy by any means, but we all deserve some junk food here and there. right?? LOL

  47. Know what would go great with this recipe? A frozen margarita! LOL Seriously! There are many other terrific cocktails, to be sure. But when you’ve got an excellent frozen margarita recipe, nothing beats it! My perennial favorite is still the ORIGINAL Jimmy Buffett Margarita – not all the time easy to find as of late, since Mr. Buffett now promotes his own mix and tequila. But it’s out there. I actually have a copy of the recipe (and quite a few more) on my site! Give it a try!

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