How to Bake with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

How to Bake with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

The Ardent Homesteader’s recipes for baking with Cara-Sel Salted Caramel Sauce

Homemade salted caramel sauce: everyone wants it but few know how to make it from scratch or even how to incorporate it into their favorite cookie or pie recipes. Good news! At Hudson River Doorstep Market, when we talk about baking with homemade salted caramel sauce by no means are we suggesting you whip up a batch on your own! Not when The Ardent Homesteader, aka Kristin Nelson, has already hacked the recipe for the only salted caramel sauce you need. After years of gifting Cara-Sel Salted Caramel Sauce to family and friends, Nelson’s sauce developed a cult following, one that pushed her to start jarring and selling to customers outside of her inner circle. Since then, Nelson has not only developed a devoted customer base for Cara-Sel, but a hungry fan base for her recipes featuring her salted caramel sauce. See one of Nelson’s highly craveable and highly Instagramable recipes below! All you need to do is snag a jar of Cara-Sel, follow the recipe, and you will be well on your way to enjoying The Ardent Homesteader’s Toasted Pecan Cara-Sel Shortbread cookies. 

Bake it NOW. Up close an personal with Nelson's Toasted Pecan Cara-Sel Shortbread cookies. Photo Provided by The Ardent Homesteader


And for bakers who like to forge their own path, Nelson has a non-recipe recipe perfect for baking with Summer and Fall fruit. When making a fruit crisp or crumble, Nelson suggests substituting the sugar in the recipe for Cara-Sel! Simply drizzle the caramel sauce over the raw fruit, add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt, and then proceed with the recipe as written. No exact measurements needed, just add the salted caramel sauce to taste based on the tartness of the fruit. Doorstep Market Founders, Jennifer Solow and Tom Jacoby, bake with Cara-Sel every Thanksgiving, using Nelson's method in their Salted Caramel Apple Pie recipe. But enough chit-chat, it’s time to get baking! Be sure to tag us @hudsonriverdoorstepmarket and @ardenthomesteader on social with your Cara-Sel creations.

Founder's Pie. Last year's Salted Caramel Apple pies featured at the Solow-Jacoby Thanksgiving. 

Small Packages. Give the gift of Cara-Sel with the 2oz bundle! Photo Provided by The Ardent Homesteader.

Toasted Pecan Cara-Sel Shortbread Recipe

Recipe provided by The Ardent Homesteader

~1 cup (100g) toasted pecans, chopped as fine or rough as you like
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp (188g) all purpose flour

1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (less if Morton’s)

1 + 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup (2oz) Cara-Sel caramel, room temp flaky salt (optional)


Combine pecans, flour, and salt in a small bowl.
Using a stand mixer or large bowl + handheld mixer, cream butter, sugar, and caramel. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Transfer dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Use your hands to smoosh it into a long (~12-13”) log-like shape – it won’t be perfect yet – you just want to make it as even as possible.

Wash your hands and then fold the wrap up and over the dough and use it to press and roll it into a nice round log. Roll up tightly and chill for 90 mins or freeze for 20.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer chilled log to cutting board and
slice into rounds (mine were between 1/4“ and 1/2”), rotating log about a quarter turn every few slices to help keep them round.

Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheets and freeze for 20 mins. If you don’t have room in your freezer you can load up one sheet and separate them when it is time to bake.
Preheat oven to 325o before you are ready to bake.

Space cookies 1” apart and sprinkle with flaky salt (if using). Bake, rotating sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until golden brown around the edges, 20-24 mins. Let cookies set up slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (cookies will firm up and get crisper as they cool).

DO AHEAD: Make the dough log and freeze it, well wrapped until a craving strikes. Your future self will thank you.

Collection Title

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam tincidunt dolor in elit vehicula mattis eu sit amet nulla. 

Call To Action
Main Heading of Banner

Text here to lead into this maker to explore more

and guide to the call to action.

Image Caption Text here

Photo Credit: John Doe

Photo Credit: John Doe

Photo Credit: John Doe

Image Caption Text here
Winter, Hudson Valley Style
Discover the Region | Recipe

Winter, Hudson Valley Style