I wrote recently about why I (and many others) love our microwaves, and also about how we’ve been getting on with our new Heston for Sage Quick Touch.

To put it through it’s paces, we’ve not only been defrosting, softening, melting, reheating, sterilising, steaming… we’ve been pushing it a little further and seeing how else we can use it. These fabulously easy microwave salted caramels can certainly be made on the stove, but we found the microwave method very quick and straightforward and they turned out absolutely perfectly.


The recipe I’ve used is adapted from a number of American ones I found on the web; I’ve amended the amounts, partly because of what I had available in the stock cupboard and partly because I prefer to work in (metric) weight measurements rather than (cup) volume ones. One of the sugars this recipe calls for is corn syrup, which is far more prevalent in the US than here in the UK. From what I’ve read, I think the inverted sugar helps to form a smooth and glossy finish.

I had some corn syrup that I bought recently in the US so I didn’t need to substitute, however as corn syrup is difficult to find in the UK, my understanding is that you can substitute glucose syrup (which can be made from corn, potatoes, wheat or even rice) – this is sometimes labelled as liquid glucose or confectioner’s syrup.

The thermospatula!

Some recipes advise cooking until the caramel reaches soft ball stage, which means the caramel solidifies into a coherent ball when a spoonful is dropped into cold water. I find that really difficult to judge, so I prefer to use a thermometer to make sure the mixture gets hot enough. For the last few months, I’ve been using my new thermospatula from Lakeland – it’s much easier than using my old traditional metal jam thermometer clipped to the side of the pan which made it difficult to stir – now the stirring spoon is the thermometer!)

This recipe produces a soft chewy caramel with a delicious buttery flavour. I’ll be a little more generous when I sprinkle sea salt on top next time, as the crunch and flavour of those little white flakes is gorgeous.

Easy Microwave Salted Caramels

Makes approximately 50


For the caramel:
Butter for greasing
120 grams butter
180 grams light corn syrup (or glucose syrup)
200 grams Demerara sugar or light brown sugar*
200 ml condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 0.5 tsp vanilla extract)
For sprinkling:
2-3 generous pinches sea salt

* You can substitute regular (white) sugar if you don’t have light brown.

Note: Since this recipe is for salted caramels, I went ahead and used lightly salted butter as that’s what we always have in our fridge. Use unsalted if you prefer.

Note: Make sure the bowl you use is heatproof to a high temperature (we used Pyrex). The mixture boils and expands enormously during cooking so the bowl also needs to be at least three or four times as large as the initial volume of all the ingredients.


  • Grease a baking dish or roasting pan with butter and set aside.
  • In a large heatproof mixing bowl, melt the butter, then add all the other caramel ingredients and mix well.
  • Microwave on full power until mixture reaches a temperature of 115 °C (240 °F). We started checking after 5 minutes and returned the bowl to cook further in 30 second bursts. Full power on our microwave is 1100 watts, and our mixture took 7.5 minutes. If your microwave is less powerful, you may need to cook for a few more minutes. The mixture will start boiling and expanding long before it is ready; you need to keep cooking until you reach temperature or your caramel won’t set when it cools back down.
  • Once it’s ready, pour into prepared baking dish. It should naturally spread out such that the surface is flat.
  • After it’s cooled for a couple of minutes, sprinkle sea salt generously across the surface.
  • Leave to cool for at least an hour.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or rectangles and wrap individually in squares of parchment paper.
  • Store in the fridge, especially in warm weather.

If you try this recipe, please come back and let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear from you!

Kavey Eats received a Quick Touch microwave and a thermospatula for review. The Lakeland link is an affiliate link, please see sidebar for more information.

Jul 072012

Honeycomb ice cream is the very favourite flavour of a friend of ours, so this honeycomb ice cream slice, or semi-freddo, seemed a suitable house warming gift for his move into a house which already has all the kitchen gadgets, towels and cushions it could ever want.


Honeycomb ice cream isn’t actually made with real honeycomb as made by bees, but with cinder toffee, also known as hokey pokey, puff candy and sea foam, depending on where you’re from!

Semi-freddo is an Italian dessert and translates as “half cold”. In fact, it’s fully frozen, but its use of whipped cream or whipped egg whites means it doesn’t freeze as hard as traditional ice creams. My usual solution to keep ice cream soft is to include booze, but this is a great non-alcoholic alternative.

For both the cinder toffee and the ice cream, we used this recipe from BBC Good Food, minus the pineapple.

Having never made cinder toffee before, we had a couple of failures before getting it right. The first batch never hardened, a result we think of undercooking the caramel. The second batch we burned, and threw away before even mixing in the bicarbonate of soda. The third batch worked like a charm, made by heating the sugar more slowly and using a cold water test to check the caramel was ready.

Because of the two failed batches, we halved the amounts when making the third batch, intending to make more if it succeeded and waste less ingredients if it failed. In the end, we didn’t make more, so our ice cream didn’t have quite as much honeycomb in it as the original recipe.

I’d suggest making the volumes in the recipe below, then using about two thirds of the honeycomb in the ice cream and munching the rest while you work…

We really liked the hint of caramel flavour in the ice cream base too, which came from the use of condensed milk. It was also an incredibly quick and easy ice cream base to make, and created a light and airy result without the use of an ice cream machine.


Honeycomb Ice Cream

100g caster sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
A small bowl of cold water
568ml double cream
250ml condensed milk

Tip: If you don’t have the time or inclination to make the cinder toffee, you could subsitite a Crunchie bar or shop-bought cinder toffee instead.


To make the cinder toffee:

  • Put the sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Continue to heat until it starts to bubble and take on a darker colour, taking care not to let it burn.

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  • Test whether it’s ready by letting a drop fall into the bowl of cold water. Pick it out with your fingers. If you can squeeze it, the caramel is not yet ready. If it has hardened into a brittle caramel, it’s ready.
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda, mix vigorously.

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  • Immediately pour onto a sheet of baking paper while it is still frothy.

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  • Leave to cool and set.

To make the ice cream:

  • Break up the cinder toffee into small pieces. I would use about two thirds of it for the ice cream. The rest can be stored in an airtight container for at least a week.

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  • Whisk the cream until it is thick but still a little floppy.


  • Add the condensed milk and whisk again until it holds its shape.
  • Fold in the honeycomb pieces.

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  • Spoon into a freezer container or a loaf tin lined with clingfilm and freeze overnight.

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  • Turn the ice cream out of the container or tin (peel off the clingfilm) and slice to serve.

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This recipe is really, really simple (once you master the cinder toffee and don’t let our initial failures on that front put you off) and absolutely delicious. It’s also an ideal recipe for those without an ice cream machine.


We also made a rich bitter chocolate ice cream, which contrasted nicely with the honeycomb. I’ll be blogging the recipe soon.

This is my entry into July’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream.


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