- 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Maldon sea salt
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, and salt. Stir slowly until mixture comes to a boil, about 4 minutes. Stop stirring and cook until mixture is honey-colored, slowly swirling pan as needed to ensure even caramelization, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, 1 minute more.
Remove pan from heat. Using a whisk, carefully add cream, whisking constantly. Return pan to low heat, continue to stir until caramel has dissolved off of whisk. Continue to cook, using a silicone spatula, until caramel registers 220° on a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heat-resistant container, stir in vanilla (if using) and salt, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate up to 1 month in an airtight container.