This homemade caramel sauce is straight from heaven! Its ooey-gooey, deliciously sweet flavor will have you over the moon excited, especially when you realize that you can add this to just about anything!
In a medium-sized (3-4 quarts) heavy-bottomed saucepan with tall sides, add the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Turn the heat on medium-high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring and watch closely until it turns an amber color. It may take about 10 minutes, but the change will happen fairly quickly. If it appears to be turning darker in one area much faster than the rest, gently swirl the whole pot. DON’T STIR IT! Stirring will cause the caramel to crystalize and it will become unusable.
Once it is a medium amber color, reduce the heat to medium-low and very carefully and slowly stir in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and steam significantly. Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 230° (softball) and then remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and butter. Pour into a heat-proof glass container and let cool completely.
To reheat for serving, heat in 20-second intervals in the microwave.