There is a knack to creating the perfect caramel. I've always known this and that's probably why I've never tried making it. Just a tad too complicated for this amateur baker. But over the weekend I felt brave and confident and looking at the recipe in my faithful Women's Weekly COOK book, I muttered to myself, "how hard can it be?". Quite hard, I found. The method itself is really straight forward, plain simple actually. The tough step for me was the part I have little control over... the actual setting of the caramel.
It took hours. Something the recipe didn't disclose to me. And this impatient Virgo proceeded to check on the tray at least fifty times, before desperately moving it to the fridge, in an attempt to make it harden. When it came time to carve up the sweet slab, it was a stretchy, gooey mess. Not quite what I had envisaged. Nothing like the picture in the book. However, what it lacked visually, it made up for in taste. Beautiful creamy flavour, similar to Mars Bar caramel. Though after a night in the fridge, the consistency did improve. It still didn't break into nice, neat squares as I'd hoped, but was much firmer and actually held shape.
So all is not lost, it wasn't a complete flop by far and I WILL be making it again, as it's incredibly delicious. And much like having children, second time around won't be near as daunting, because I know what to expect and it's SO worth it.
125g butter, chopped
395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
100g dark eating chocolate, melted
1/4 cup (35g) roasted hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
(I used unsalted cashew nuts & they did the trick nicely)
Grease deep 15cm square cake pan; line base and sides with baking paper
Stir butter, milk, honey and sugar in medium saucepan over low heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves
Increase heat; cook, stirring, about 10 mins or until glossy and caramel in colour
Pour caramel into pan; cool
Remove caramel from pan
Spread with chocolate; top with nuts
Allow chocolate to set at room temperature; cut into small squares to serve