Just like that meme that says, "there's no angry way to say bubbles" , so the same can be true for caramel. There's just something about it - the colour, the smell, the taste, the texture that just gets us all hopped up and happy. And not just from its notoriously high GI levels.
Caramel holds a certain nostalgic element that many hold dear to their hearts. For me, it's eating Caramel Treat generously spread atop Marie Biscuits while on outdoor school camps. I didn't know that there was such a thing as portion size back then and so I would often scoff the whole lot on the first day. Enough to trigger a serious stomach ache. But even a stomach ache isn't enough to put one off caramel for very long.
Caramel can be divided into "dry caramel" and "wet caramel". Dry caramel constitutes sugar that is cooked and caramelizes on its own, whereas wet caramel requires a liquid (normally water) to be added to the sugar before melting and caramelizing. The most important thing to know about cooking caramel is that it shouldn't be under-cooked otherwise it will just be sweet, dissolved sugar (not caramel) and it can't be overcooked - otherwise it will come out burnt and terribly bitter.
Luckily not all recipes require you to actually make your own caramel from scratch and nowadays it's the flavour of caramel that is more sought after than the actual texture. It has an indescribable nutty, malty, toasty, buttery flavour that seems to just tip-toe on your tongue and offer your soul a ginormous bear hug.
Take a look at some of our caramel-rich recipes. You won't be able to get enough! We can't.
1. Caramel Peppermint Crisp cake - us South Africans love Peppermint Crisp in anything!
2. Peanut butter caramel slices - Take these to the office and you will be loved forever.
3. Caramel apple crumble - apple crumble with a twist.
4. Blistered pineapple with caramel sauce - a gorgeous, Summery dessert.
5. Chocolate and hazelnut caramel bars - chocolate, nuts, caramel... what more could you want?
6. Popcorn ice cream with salted caramel bites - for the adventurous ice cream makers.
7. Crème caramel - a true classic that never disappoints.
8. Boozy chocolate sticky buns - high carb and highly indulgent.
9. Honey and oat toast with caramel macadamia spread - take your toast topping to another level.
10. Salted caramel cheesecake - because everyone loves a cheesecake!
11. Chocolate crumpet caramel cake stacks - dessert breakfasts are definitely a thing.
12. How to make your own salted caramel - this makes a beautiful edible gift.
13. Sticky caramel baked puddings - Serve these after a Sunday roast on a cold Winter's Day. Heaven!
14. Peanut brittle with sea salt chocolate - wow the family with your own homemade brittle.
15. Chocolate and caramel lamingtons - just delectable.
16. Custard and caramel pavlova - The textures in this dessert are mind-blowing.
17. Pear cake with salted caramel sauce and caramel shards - feel the need to impress? Make this cake.
18. Banoffee pots with salted caramel - a mash-up of retro and modern come together beautifully in this dessert.
19. Salted caramel Rice Krispie treats - your kids won't know what him them.
20. Salted caramel coma cake - the most insane cake you will ever see.
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- Tessa Purdon
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