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October 14 2010 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Uncategorized » 28 comments

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

So, the thing is, I’m too busy to be writing this post.  Not to mention too exhausted.  But this recipe, for bourbon butterscotch sauce, is haunting me.  Since I made it on Saturday, I can’t get it out of my head.  I’m pretty sure the only way to exorcise this demon is by foisting the demon on you all. 

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

You’re welcome! But, don’t worry, I’ll make this quick.

Bourbon Butterscotch SauceBourbon Butterscotch Sauce

Here’s the thing: when it is mid-October and Saturday and blindingly sunny and just plain hot, you really must have yourself one last barbecue.  (I speak from experience: we were bestowed with back-to-back 80-degree days last weekend!)   I’m talking burgers, juicy and draped in melty cheddar.  I’m talking crisp, salted oven fries.  I’m talking a salad with the very last tomatoes you can find.  And, boy oh boy, am I talking ice cream sundaes.

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

In particular, ice cream sundaes that involve a pristinely-white, vanilla bean-speckled scoop of vanilla-bourbon ice cream; a thick, dreamy butterscotch sauce, which is also spiked with bourbon; and roasted pepitas that are a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy.  To my mind, this sundae is the perfect marriage of fall flavors (butterscotch, while readily available all year around, somehow falls squarely into the fall category, in my mind—and then there’s the pepitas, which are about as October as it gets) and warm weather cravings (ice cream!).

Bourbon Butterscotch SauceBourbon Butterscotch Sauce

And have I mentioned bourbon?  As it turns out, my husband is a Manhattan man.  This means that our liquor cabinet now boasts multiple bottles of bourbon and our fridge hosts a pot of booze-soaked cherries.  Oh, and it also means that I throw a splash of bourbon into just about everything I cook.  (See above re: ice cream and butterscotch sauce.)

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

The star of this sundae, hands down, was the butterscotch sauce.  It is exactly the color that you picture when you hear the word butterscotch.  It’s got a sparkle of salt and, thanks to the bourbon, a depth and an edge.  I think you’ll like it.  Well, at least, I hope you’ll like it, because it’s about to start haunting you too.

Again, you’re welcome.

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
pinch salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter and a pinch of salt until incorporated and cool sauce to warm.  When the sauce has cooled to warm, stir in the cream.

Butterscotch bourbon sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.
Pepitas: For the pepitas pictured in this post, I used this recipe.  Kevin loved them, but I was pretty neutral on them.  I plan to keep experimenting until I get these just right.

28 comments so far. »
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  1. sally says on October 14 2010 at 8:26 pm:

    Definitely a must try recipe! I’ll have to go buy some bourbon.

  2. Whitney says on October 14 2010 at 8:38 pm:

    Love that picture of the Bourbon.

    Curses to last weekend of 80 degrees (I was running for 6 hours of it :(!

    Could have used some of this lovely sauce at the end of it. YUM.

    Hope you are well.

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet says on October 15 2010 at 3:47 am:

    Divine. You had me a bourbon.

  4. Molly says on October 15 2010 at 4:05 am:

    You know, I watched an episode of the Barefoot Contessa the other day in which she made a caramel sauce to serve over vanilla ice cream, which I’ve been thinking about ever since, and was planning to make this weekend. But this surpasses that, by far. Bourbon really does make everything better :)

  5. Jacqueline says on October 15 2010 at 6:25 am:

    I am so jealous Kristin. The sun, the bbq and that sauce. I feel like crying.

    Cold weather, grey, wet and dark early. It is soup time here, but I so wish it was bbq time.

  6. Martha says on October 15 2010 at 9:30 am:


    I love your blog, but I’m a novice cooker, what is this kettle you speak of? Where can I find one? This recipe looks delicious but I don’t want to burn the sugar by using a regular pot!

  7. laura @ alittlebarefoot says on October 15 2010 at 9:49 am:

    magnificent! i assume whisky or brandy would work, too?

  8. Maddie says on October 15 2010 at 1:00 pm:

    That is a lot of bourbon! (Not that I’m complaining.) I have all these ingredients lying around, and after seeing that first dreamy picture, I’m convinced to make this sauce tonight.

    So…thank you! And rest up.

  9. Sarah (Syrup & Honey) says on October 15 2010 at 7:17 pm:

    Um, yes, thank you! And damn you…whenever I make caramel or butterscotch sauce I somehow end up eating spoonfuls straight out of the jar. Does the bourbon make that more or less pathetic?

  10. ingrid says on October 15 2010 at 9:14 pm:

    I’ll have to give it try! You haven’t steered me wrong before….. I made and feel in love with your salted caramel sauce!

  11. Jessie says on October 15 2010 at 10:18 pm:

    oh butterscotch! how i adore butterscotch! if the peeps at home were as fond of it as me… i would be making it all the time!

  12. Amy says on October 16 2010 at 7:31 pm:

    Sooooo…is the caramel supposed to seize up and harden when you put in the water and bourbon? Or did I cook it too long? Thankfully with some serious simmering and stirring, it managed to right itself, but I’m wondering if I did it wrong…

  13. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on October 17 2010 at 6:27 pm:

    sally: You won’t regret it!

    Whitney: Oh, I know it was terrible marathon weather. I went for a run (that was MUCH shorter than yours) that morning and I was still hot. But, congrats to you!

    Jessica: Ha!

    Molly: I don’t think I’ve seen that one. Really, butterscotch, caramel — you can’t go wrong!

    Jacqueline: I know those days are headed this way, too, so I’m trying to soak the sunshine and warmth up.

    Martha: You know, I wondered the same thing! I just used a heavy, large pot.

    laura: I am guessing either one would work well. If you try it, let us know!

    maddie: What does it say about me that I didn’t blink at the amount?! I hope you did give this a try. If so, let us know how it turned out!

    Sarah: Less. Definitely less.

    ingrid: Oooh, that salted caramel sauce was so good.

    Jessie: Me too!

    Amy: Mine seized a little, but—as you said—simmering and stirring loosened it up. Hope you enjoyed the final product!

  14. Sues says on October 17 2010 at 8:52 pm:

    Oh wow! I would be putting this on absolutely everything! And then just pouring it into my mouth :) It looks AMAZING!

  15. Abigail @ Good to Think and Eat says on October 18 2010 at 4:30 am:

    I’ve always loved butterscotch; as a kid I used to hoard the shiny gold Werthers that I found in my grandfather’s cut-crystal candy jar. It was only recently that I found my taste for bourbon, but oh have I found it. I absolutely can’t wait to make this sauce!

  16. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) says on October 18 2010 at 4:32 am:

    That sauce looks wonderful!! I would never let it reach the stage where I use it in something else, i’m pretty sure I’d just sit down with a good book/movie and gobble this up with a spoon :)

  17. Brynn says on October 18 2010 at 1:06 pm:

    oh yum yum yum….this is definitely something I would just tuck in the fridge and eat by the spoonful! As soon as I have a fridge, that is. House hunting has been slow-going. Miss you!

  18. Maddie says on October 18 2010 at 4:59 pm:

    Just had to report back to confirm that this sauce is definitely a haunter of dreams—I’ve been having it in sundaes all week and still can’t get enough. This recipe’s a winner!

  19. heather @ chiknpastry says on October 18 2010 at 8:15 pm:

    YUM. bet this is just fantastic dipping sauce for apples!! i say that because i have ten thousand of them in the fridge :)

  20. natalie (the sweets life) says on October 19 2010 at 8:15 am:

    my stomach is rumbling just looking at that–picture perfect!

  21. nicole says on October 19 2010 at 11:02 am:

    Oh, my g-d … I want it all. The ice cream, the sauce, the pepitas … YUM. Perfect.

  22. Barbara says on October 19 2010 at 12:28 pm:

    Oh geez. I wish you hadn’t told me about this. What perfect, mouth-watering photos.
    Oh well, it’s going to be the holidays soon, right?

  23. Peef says on October 20 2010 at 1:39 pm:

    Pepitas. Brilliant. I also have a bag of apples that are asking for the perfect sauce to be dipped in, and I think this is the winner!

  24. Leah says on October 23 2010 at 10:03 am:

    I made this last night for a family dinner. I normally dislike bourbon, but this was stupendous! Mmmm, I think I could just eat it by the spoonful! Good work!

  25. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on October 26 2010 at 4:55 pm:

    Leah: So glad to hear you gave this a try! (And, um, about the by-the-spoonful thing: I get it.)

  26. ingrid says on November 09 2010 at 8:36 am:

    Yes, thank you! I bought some bourbon last night and am making this deliciousness tonight.

  27. Tami says on November 29 2010 at 2:58 pm:

    Oh, yummy, this is my idea of dessert heaven, especially with the bourbon. I’m such a huge bourbon fan and the Manhattan is my go to drink. Sure wish I could access your supply of beautiful bourbons. Our selection here is sadly lacking. These sundaes are making my mouth water.

  28. Elizabeth says on June 21 2011 at 10:02 pm:

    Kristin, I just wanted to let you know that I made this sauce tonight. It’s hot out and I wanted ice cream, and for some reason this recipe that you posted almost a year ago popped into my head. It was divine. Poured over vanilla ice cream, it was absolutely, positively perfect. Thank you so much for posting it!

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