Oh hi, October. You kind of snuck up on me. October’s arrival means many things – changing leaves, Halloween, apple picking, lots of pumpkin desserts – and a lot of other things that I love. I’m kicking off my month of fall baking with this ridiculously good caramel sauce. Let me tell you about this caramel. I first had the idea for it when PSLs and Salted Caramel Mochas made their yearly debut at Starbucks. I thought – what if I could combine my favorite aspects of each of those drinks and turn it into one fabulous concoction? My recipe search yielded many pumpkin desserts topped with caramel and a couple of pumpkin spice caramel sauces but not a single recipe that used actual pumpkin. I wanted pumpkin caramel, not just pumpkin spice, so I decided to create my own.
I had (what I thought was) a brilliant idea to make this caramel sauce using brown sugar. It did not go as planned and ended up tasting almost like a brûlée. That may come in handy later this year (Caramel Brûlée Lattes, anyone?), but it wasn’t what I wanted for this one. I started over, this time with my favorite caramel sauce as the starting point, and it was really simple after that. I first tried subbing a small amount of pumpkin for the cream. When it wasn’t enough, I increased the pumpkin and finally got the perfectly pumpkin-y flavor I was searching for. I still love my homemade pumpkin spice lattes (it’s one of the most popular recipes on this site for a reason), but it’s nice to have another way to make a pumpkin coffee drink without all the spices. You can certainly adapt this recipe by adding spices, but try it without first to see what you think. The earthy flavor of the pumpkin shines through the sweetness of the caramel, giving it a depth of flavor that is different than any other caramel sauce I’ve tried.