Our sad lactose free world has opened up soooo much in the past couple of years. Almost simultaneously I learned that select Cabot cheeses are naturally lactose free, AND an organic dairy company started making lactose free sour cream (and yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese). My husband developed lactose intolerance in his mid-20's, so although I can enjoy all the dairy I want, when I'm cooking for the family, I do not make 2 different dishes. Nowadays, I can go to my local grocery store and even pick up lactose free half and half. The one thing I'm waiting for is butter. Lactose free butter (that still has butter flavor unlike ghee), who's going to make it first?!?
A couple of nights ago we had friends coming over for dinner. For dessert, I had apples on hand and I whipped together an easy apple sharlotka. My husband, while admiring my handiwork, said that it looked like it needed a caramel sauce. It certainly did sound like a good idea. I looked at several different recipes and settled on a brown sugar base. With the addition of lactose free half and half and by substituting coconut oil for butter, I had a winner of a sauce. It would be an easy way to dress up lactose free ice cream or olive oil cake.
Lactose Free Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Pioneer Woman, makes about a cup
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lactose free half-and-half
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix the brown sugar, lactose free half-and-half, coconut oil and salt in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk frequently for 5 to 7 minutes, until the caramel begins to thicken. Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar or squeeze bottle. Refrigerate until cold. Caramel keeps refrigerated for about a week.
When you're ready to serve, you can reheat the caramel sauce by placing the container in hot water for a few minutes or microwave until a pour-able consistency.