If you don't count the water, just four ingredients - sugar, butter, cream, and salt - are all that is needed to make delicious homemade butter caramels.
Use a deep heavy-bottom saucepan. Put the sugar in the center of the pan. Pour the water around the sugar. Run a spoon through the middle of the sugar to moisten it, but do not stir the mixture.
Cook the caramel over medium-high heat until the sugar begins to caramelize and turns amber-colored. Don't be concerned if there is some crystallization around the edges. Most of it will melt when the cream and butter are added.
Use a long-handled wooden spoon when adding the butter and cream as the mixture will foam up and bubble vigorously.
Continue stirring until the butter, cream, and salt are incorporated and the mixture is completely smooth. Pour into a prepared loaf pan.
Allow the caramel to cool completely. Then transfer to a cutting board to cut into rectangles or squares. Wrap in waxed paper.
Adapted from Gayle Gand's Just a Bite
2 1/2 cups (500 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounce/45 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream, warmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking oil. Pour the sugar in the center of a deep, heavy-bottom saucepan. Pour the water around the sugar. Carefully run a spoon through the middle of the sugar to moisten, but don't stir the sugar and water together. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar syrup turns amber-colored. Swirl the mixture occasionally to even out the color. Don't be concerned if there is some crystallization around the sides of the pan most of it will melt when the cream and butter are added.
When the caramel is the right color remove from the heat. Using a long-handled wooden spoon carefully stir in the butter followed by the cream and salt. Be careful as the mixture will foam up and bubble vigorously. Continue to stir until the mixture is completely smooth. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
Allow to cool completely, about an hour. Once firm remove from the pan onto a cutting board, gently remove the parchment paper. Using a sharp knife cut into rectangles or squares. Wrap in waxed paper twisting the ends to close. Store at room temperature.