Burnt Caramel Sauce

Makes 2 1/2 cups / While teaching my brother how to make caramel sauce, I walked away from the stove too long and returned to smoky sugar. I found I much preferred the taste to the classic version, as did all my guests. Accompany this gift with a pint of vanilla or coffee ice cream—or both.

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, without stirring, until it begins to color on the edges, 2-3 minutes. Cook, whisking constantly, until it turns a deep brown and just begins to smell burnt, about 2 more minutes. (The darker the syrup the deeper the burn, so cook accordingly.)

2. Slowly add cream, continuing to whisk, until it is completely incorporated. Remove from heat; add vanilla and salt. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate up to two weeks.