2 cups refined, white sugar 1 2/3 cups heavy cream 2 Tbsp salted butter
Pour the sugar into a large (minimum 6 quart) heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, smoothing the sugar into a uniform layer. Allow the sugar to cook, untouched, until the edges begin to melt and liquefy.
Using a heatproof spatula (silicone works well), gently begin to stir the sugar, folding the melting sugar from the edges into the center. The sugar will begin to form little balls like really rough sand, this is fine. Keep stirring until the whole mixture turns a deep amber color, almost a chestnut color, and begins to smoke.
When the color is dark enough (but not burnt) and the caramel is barely beginning to smoke, remove the pot from the heat and quickly pour the cream through a sieve into the pot. The caramel will bubble up incredibly, so if you have an oven mitt for your whisking hand, this is the time to wear it. Whisk the cream into the caramel until you have a uniform mixture, stirring with a spatula occasionally to make sure the sauce is completely smooth.
Add the butter, stirring until completely melted and incorporated. Serve warm.
Making caramel is incredibly: easy, hot, sticky. This is not a job for little helpers.
Wear long sleeves, tie your hair back and use oven mitts over potholders if at all possible.
Keep a large bowl of ice water nearby, should any caramel splatter onto your skin!
Use a large pot (at least 6-Quarts) with a heavy bottom; a Dutch Oven is perfect, but do not use anything with a non-stick coating (i.e. Teflon).
If you burn the caramel, cut your losses and start over. There isnt a good way to rescue burnt sugar.