Caramel A La Mode Sauce

Homemade homegrown organic Honeycrisp apple pie is killer good. Add this caramel sauce and it is fatal.

My favorite childhood restaurant combined the apple pie, ice cream, and caramel sauce at The Longhorn Barbecue in Spokane. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Back in the day, I would order the “Maverick” which was two types of meat slathered in smokey sweet barbecue sauce accompanied by spicey smokey barbecue beans and a baked potato with butter, and a heavy dollop of sour cream with chives on top. This was me at 12 years old eating all of it because I could and where exactly did all the food go? Maybe I had a hollow leg because I could top off this cowboy special with the Hot Apple Pie Ala Mode. “Northwest tradition done right.”

So fast forward to now and my ass won’t fit through the doorway! Right? Just kidding! I moved away from the Longhorn Barbecue, but I have the memory. So I’ve recreated that delicious dessert to something even better with this Caramel A La Mode Sauce. This recipe uses the wet caramel method allowing more complex flavors as the water boils off. The hint of rum and cloves melds with the lightly salted caramel to add a spicey pizzaz! Serve it warm over the top of hot apple pie and a scoop of ice cream. Your guests will want to move in! Or put the sauce in small decorated canning jars with labels and give as hostess gifts during the holidays.

Early Stage

Early boiling looks like a clear liquid with large bubbles. No stirring! Stirring a sugar solution will promote crystalization and a grainy texture. So just leave it alone! This is where Bill jumped in to stir. I had to tell him no. I may have screamed. Occupy yourself by gathering ingredients and measuring them out for pan side readiness.

Final Stage

The appearance has changed from clear bubbles to a foaming light brown color. At this point, the boiling point rises so fast it can easily get too hot and burn. Now is the time to carefully add the half and half, stirring constantly, then turn off the heat. Now you can add each premeasured ingredient seamlessly while stirring as if you’re on a cooking show.

Scorching Stage

I’ve let the water/sugar mixture get too brown and my sauce scorched! I know! Hard to believe! This is why it’s so critical to observe the color during the last ten minutes closely!

‘Tis the Season Stage

The Caramel A La Mode Sauce added to anything baked with apples and served with ice cream is a gourmet delight! Perfect for special occasions and the holidays. Keep several jars ready for hostess gift-giving and holiday desserts. Look for my Honeycrisp Apple Crisp recipe as another match for this sauce!

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Caramel A La Mode Sauce

  • Author: Angell Clark
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 63oz jars 1x


Caramel a la mode sauce. I just like saying “a la mode”. Serve on apple pie, ice cream, pound cake, and apple crisp. ANYTHING chocolate! The rum and cloves give this sauce a spicey holiday flavor. 


  • 1  1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. dark rum (such as Bacardi Black)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves


  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes without stirring until the mixture bubbles and turns light brown color. 
  2. Slowly add half and half while whisking for one minute or until smooth, then remove from heat.
  3. Add butter, rum, salt, vanilla, pepper, and cloves while whisking. 
  4. Pour sauce into six 3-ounce jars. Attach a label on each jar with reheating directions: place jar in microwave on high until warm. Check and stir every 15 seconds.


Have all ingredients premeasured and ready to add within the first 10 minutes of heating the sugar and water. When the mixture begins to bubble, observe the color closely. It’s essential to move to the next step as soon as the color changes. A delay of just 30 seconds can scorch the sauce!

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Wet
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Caramel sauce, wet cooking method, premeasure, hostess gifts, apple pie a la mode