I am at a slight loss at where to begin with this post. I feel that I should spend some time describing the fluffy yet chewy meringue and how pretty the swirls of caramel look in them. But . . .
I really, really, really want to tell you about the salted honey caramel sauce, because it is an utter revelation.
It contains no dairy and no refined sugar, but yet is so yummy. So yummy that I kept dipping my finger into the bowl. So yummy that I licked each and every utensil that went anywhere near it. So yummy I could have eaten the whole lot, on its own, by myself.
You get the idea.
The fact that I wanted to devour the whole lot was, in fact, another (albeit smaller) revelation. Because I am not the world’s biggest honey fan, and this caramel does taste of honey. But it’s a buttery, caramel honey. Yet there is no butter in sight. It’s like magic.
The recipe below makes more than you need for the meringues, so there is plenty leftover, which you can drizzle over the cooked meringues, or over ice cream, or in yoghurt, so spread over bread, or dip your finger in each time you go into the fridge . . .
It does need to be kept in the fridge and it does set quite firm, but, you know, that’s what microwaves are for. And there are a couple of notes / observations below the recipe that will hopefully help you.
Right, now I have told you all about the salted honey caramel sauce, I should move onto the meringues themselves.
A basic meringue mix, dolloped onto a baking sheet and swirled with the caramel sauce before baking. I got excited when I peeked through the oven door about halfway through the baking time because the meringues had all puffed up and the swirls of caramel sauce made them look like cinnamon rolls / pinwheel biscuits. They looked so pretty. I was a little disappointed when I pulled them out at the end to see that not only had they fallen back down, but they had also caved in a little.
But that disappointment didn’t last for long. Because cooking the caramel sauce a little bit more makes it taste like toffee, and you get little chewy crispy (yes, both, chewy and crispy) bits on the sides and the meringues are soft and crispy on the edges and lovely and chewy in the middle.
I ate mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a hearty helping of extra caramel, but a blob of whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream if you want / need to keep it completely dairy free) would work too. And maybe some raspberries . . . or strawberries . . . or pineapple. Yes! Pineapple totally works because I just remembered that there was one of those tropical fruit packs lying around and I threw the pineapple from it into my bowl along with everything else. So, pineapple wins for me. I also remember that the coldness of the ice cream caused the caramel sauce to firm up so much that I ended up with an ice cream, meringue, pineapple, caramel blob / mass on the end of my spoon, which meant I had to eat it a little like a lollipop and my sister muttered a phrase that contained the words “you”, “child”, “such a” . . . but in my defence, how else was I going to eat it????
Salted Honey Caramel Meringues
Salted Honey Caramel:
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 170g honey (nothing too strongly flavoured)
- 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- Start with the caramel – place the coconut milk, honey and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture bubble gently and reduce for 40 minutes, stirring every now and then (see notes below).
- Add the coconut oil and vanilla extract and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Transfer the caramel to a bowl and leave for 5 minutes then stir vigorously until smooth and glossy (see notes below). Set aside and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 Celsius / 140 fan / 325 Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
- Whisk the egg whites with the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt until it forms soft peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar and whisk until you have a stiff glossy mixture.
- Place spoonfuls of the meringue on the baking sheet, spacing them well apart. Drizzle half a teaspoon of the salted honey caramel over the top and swirl the two together using a blunt knife.
- Bake for 20 minutes then turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside for a further 20 minutes.
I found that the caramel caught on the bottom of the pan more at the start of cooking, rather than the end. That’s not to say that you don’t need to keep an eye on it at any other time, but I had to stir it more regularly (almost constantly) for the first 10 – 15 minutes or so, from then on I stirred it every 3 minutes thereabouts.
When you add the coconut oil it will sit on top of the caramel and not mix in. This will still be the case when you transfer it to the bowl to cool. Don’t panic. Once it has sat there for 5 minutes and you start to beat it, it will incorporate and all will be hunky dory.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2015
Credit where credit is due:
Dairy-free caramel recipe originally found here
Inspiration for caramel meringues from here