Cold Brew Coffee Caramel Sauce

We’re going to need more coffee.
— Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks

This week has been a great one for me. It is the first officially warm week that we have had in Utah! I'm talking high 70's here people. I generally dislike hot weather and prefer cold but this warmth has been much welcomed. 

Now that it is warm where I live, that means cold treats time! I am a huge fan of ice cream, smoothies, cold custard pies, etc, etc, etc. My absolute favorite thing to have when it's hot out is a cold brew coffee from my local café, Coffee Garden. I don't know how they do it but they have the best cold brew I have ever had! Jacob recently made us a batch of homemade cold brew and I have to say, his is now tied for first. My husband is great. 

Ice cream is also at the very top of my summer treats list so I wanted to figure out a way to combine cold brew coffee and ice cream. I don't have an ice cream maker and probably won't invest in one for a while, so I tried thinking of another way. I made caramel sauce as Christmas gifts last year and then recently I bought a dark chocolate cold brew coffee caramel candy bar from Trader Joe's and it hit me! Cold Brew Coffee Caramel on top of vanilla ice cream! 

I decided to cold brew heavy cream since you use it in caramel sauce anyways. All you do is combine the cream and coffee grounds in a french press coffee maker and let it steep in the refrigerator for 14-16 hours. It takes a while but it's worth it. I just do this the day before I make the caramel and most of the 14-16 hours is hands-off time. 

If you have never made caramel sauce before, don't be afraid. I suggest watching this video for easy to follow instructions. I learned the trick to add cream of tartar a while back and I was glad to see Bon Appétit did the same. From my understanding, the cream of tartar changes the chemical make up of the sugar as it cooks. This allows you to stir your caramel while it cooks, which usually you can't do when making caramel without the sugar crystalizing. I have found that this recipe yield a perfect caramel every time. If your sugar + water mixture starts to harden or crystalize for whatever reason, add a teaspoon of water and increase the heat a little bit until everything dissolves again. That video I linked to above is a very good tutorial on caramel and I suggest watching it if you have never made it before. 

This Cold Brew Coffee Caramel Sauce is absolutely delicious and is perfect on top of anything. Jacob and I have been eating it with Vanilla Bean ice cream and on top of various baked goods. This sauce would be perfect to drizzle over a pie, whipped into Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or anything else!

The coffee flavor is subtle and not at all bitter. I recommend getting freshly ground coffee, which you can get in the coffee section from most grocery stores now. You need coarsely ground or "french press" grind coffee for this recipe. You will notice that some smaller grounds might get through the fresh press and into your caramel but don't worry. It provides a stronger coffee flavor and adds a tiny bit of texture to the caramel in the end result. 

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it goes! I have been dipping my fingers into this caramel because it is so good and I hope you find it just as tasty. Thanks for visiting Persona Kitchen this week everyone, see you next week!

Cold Brew Coffee Caramel Sauce

Makes about 1 Cup Caramel Sauce


1 Cup White Granulated Sugar

3 Tablespoons Water 

⅛ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

4 Tablespoons Salted Butter*, room temperature

1/2 Cup Cold Brew Coffee Heavy Cream (recipe follows), room temperature 


For the Cold Brew Coffee Heavy Cream:

3/4 Cup Heavy Cream 

3 Tablespoons Coarsely Ground Coffee Beans (or 2 Tablespoons Espresso Powder)



1. Prepare the Cold Brew Coffee Heavy Cream: In a mini french press coffee maker, combine the heavy cream and coffee grounds. Let steep, in the refrigerator, for 14-16 hours. I start this cream the day before I make my caramel. After the cream has steeped, remove it from the fridge and let come to room temperature. Once the cream is room temperature**, press down the french press and pour out the coffee cream into a measuring cup and fill it to 1/2 cup***. Set aside.

2.  Have your butter and heavy cream next to the stove so its ready for you to use. In a medium sized heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar. Give everything a good mix to fully combine. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally. 

3. Once the mixture has reached a rapid boil and most of the water has evaporated, lower the heat to medium and cook the caramel, swishing the pan around (don't stir it at this point) until the caramel has changed colors to a deep amber and you can start to smell the caramel notes, 3-4 minutes****.

4. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the oven. Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time and whisk fully in between each tablespoon. Once all of the butter is incorporated, slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, whisking constantly. Be careful while adding the cream because the caramel tends to splatter. I always make sure to wear a long sleeved shirt of jacket! 

5. Pour the caramel into an airtight jar or container. Serve over ice cream, top baked goods with it, or use it any other way you wish!

This caramel sauce will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge. I have, however, eaten this caramel a month after I made it and it was still delicious! Just spoon a small amount into a bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds to get a "drizzley" consistency. 



* I use salted butter in this recipe because every time I make salted or regular caramel, I forget to add the salt at the right time and when I remember it's too late and the salt sinks to the bottom and doesn't dissolve. By using salted butter in this recipe, you get the perfect amount of salt in your caramel without worrying about another ingredient. If you only have unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt after you add the butter. 

** I found that the cream became very stiff and stayed that way long after removing it from the fridge so if this happens and your cream is too thick to pour, pop in the microwave (just the main container of the french press-- remove the top/push down part) for 10 seconds to loosen it up.

*** The recipe calls for 3/4 Cup of Heavy Cream because I found that I was a little short on heavy cream when I only put 1/2 cup. The coffee ground absorb some of the liquid so you need a little extra to get a full 1/2 Cup. 

**** This will happen very quickly so don't walk away from the pot! It helps to keep a small white plate and a few small spoons next to the stove to test the color. Once the caramel starts to darken, dip a spoon in every 30 seconds or so and drop the caramel onto the white plate to see the color. Keep going until you reach a deep amber color.