This apple caramel sauce is an amazing alcohol-free, sweet topping for bread pudding. There are just five ingredients in this easy recipe that is a delicious sweet and tart dessert sauce.
Be sure to check out my recipe for gluten-free bread pudding. This sauce would also be amazing on waffles, cinnamon pancakes, French toast or gluten-free crepes with apple pie filling. I have some more yummy bread pudding sauces, including my creamy rum sauce, brandy white chocolate sauce and Kahlua and cream sauce.
Apple juice provides a wonderful sweet and slightly tart base for this bread pudding sauce. Regular apple juice will be cooked down until it is syrupy so that this is a creamy, thick, ooey gooey sauce.
Sugar is the base of caramel sauce. The sugar will be added to the partially reduced apple juice and cooked until the mixture is a thick syrup.
A combination of cream and butter will turn the sugar apple juice mixture into a rich, creamy sauce.
Apple cider vinegar may sound like an odd ingredient in a sweet, dessert sauce. But in order to balance the sweet and rich ingredients, a little bit of apple cider vinegar will bring some well needed tang to this recipe.
How to Make the Sauce
The sauce takes a little bit of patience but is well worth the result. It does not need to be watched every minute so as long as you’re nearby it’ll just need a stir every so often.
- Start by simmering the apple juice in a large pot. The larger the pot the quicker the process will go. More of the apple juice touching the bottom of the pan, means that it will evaporate and reduce more quickly.
- After about 10 minutes, add the sugar and stir until it’s combined. Continue simmering and stirring every few minutes. After another 10 or 15 minutes, the mixture should be a thick syrup.
- At this point, stir in the cream, butter and apple cider vinegar and simmer another minute or two stirring constantly.
- Transfer the sauce to a bowl to cool for at least 10 or 15 minutes. It will continue to thicken a little bit as it cools.
That’s it! The sauce is ready to pour over your favorite bread pudding.
Apple-Caramel Sauce for Bread Pudding
- 1¼ c apple juice
- 1 c sugar
- ⅓ c cream or dairy-free cream sub like Nut Pods unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- Place the apple juice in a small pot (1½-2 quart size) and bring to a boil over high heat. NOTE: If you use a larger pot, the juice and sugar will evaporate more quickly, so you may need to reduce some of the recommended times.
- When the apple juice is boiling, turn the heat to medium and cook for 7 minutes.
- Add the sugar and gently shake the pot to spread it evenly. Do not stir.
- Cook for 10 minutes over medium low heat to keep it at a simmer and dissolve the sugar (gently bubbling). Do not stir.
- Turn the heat to medium high and cook for 7 minutes more or until the mixture is syrupy and darkened in color
- Turn the heat to low and while stirring, add the cream, butter and apple cider vinegar. The mixture will bubble vigorously, just keep stirring for another minute.
- Be careful! This sauce is very HOT and will burn on contact. Transfer the sauce to a heat safe jar or measuring cup and let cool for 30 minutes.