I tried to make my own Caramac bar after Nestle discontinued it
I tried to make my own Caramac bar after Nestle discontinued it – one version was a sticky mess
- Ellen said melting white chocolate gradually in the oven was a ‘triumph’
- READ MORE: 14 discontinued treats fans are clamouring to see back on shelves
It’s sad times for Caramac fans everywhere, with Nestle UK confirming it’s scrapping the chocolate bar.
Apparently Caramac isn’t as popular as other bars in Nestle’s range, but you wouldn’t have thought so given the huge outcry – with one expert saying the decision is a ‘bit ageist’.
Perhaps he’s right – I grew up with Caramacs and have friends who have fond memories not only of the bar itself, but Easter Eggs and other versions. I’m not sure the last time I had one though.
That said, you never know when you might fancy a snack that harks back to your childhood, so now Caramacs are off the shelf I figure I’d best see if it’s possible to simply make my own. Surely it can’t be that hard.
A few minutes in, my confidence levels aren’t quite so high.
It’s sad times for Caramac fans everywhere, with Nestle UK confirming it’s scrapping the chocolate bar
Ellen Manning tried two recipes for homemade Caramac. The first consisted of multiple ingredients and ended up a ‘sticky mess’, but the second (pictured) was a ‘triumph’. It used just white chocolate melted several times in the oven then frozen.
It’s while I’m waiting for my experiments to set that I find another idea – a ‘How to make Caramilk-style chocolate’ (basically Caramac) recipe that uses just ONE ingredient (pictured)
A simple search online for ‘Caramac recipe’ or ‘how to make Caramac at home’ doesn’t yield the flurry of easy recipes I’m after. There are Caramac cupcakes, Caramac fudge, Caramac everything – but they’re all recipes using the soon-to-be-no-more bar, rather than step by step instructions of how to make my own.
I even ask someone I know who once worked at Nestle, hoping they’ll give me the secret recipe, but their answer is not quite the comprehensive instructions I’m hoping for: ‘Basically it’s loads of stuff combined to make a sweet and tasty childhood fave’, complete with a laughing face emoji.
I go back to basics and look up the ingredients of Caramac. Not exactly an appealing list: Vegetable fats, sugar, lactose, sweetened condensed skimmed milk, skimmed milk powder, butterfat, emulsifier, treacle, flavouring and salt.
READ MORE: As Caramac is axed, these are 14 other discontinued treats fans are clamouring to see back on the shelves
Sounds delightful…. But it’s a start.
I’m not about to start investing in emulsifiers and lactose, but I figure I can manage most of the main ingredients.
I also do a bit of research into how to make white chocolate – not to be confused with ‘real’ chocolate because it doesn’t actually contain cocoa – and find that there’s an overlap of ingredients in the fats, milk powder, and sugar.
Feeling all a bit Willy Wonka, I get to experimenting. I’ve decided on margarine for my fat (because who has ‘butter fat’ lying around in their kitchen), along with condensed milk (which everyone DOES have a can of in their cupboard for some strange reason), powdered milk and treacle nicked from my next door neighbour.
My white chocolate recipe instructions are clear on melting everything using a ‘double boiler’ – basically a bowl sitting over a pan of hot water so it doesn’t burn.
Ellen first looks up the ingredients in actual Caramac and discounting a couple she couldn’t get her hands on, settles on milk powder, margarine, condensed milk treacle
She begins by following a recipe for homemade white chocolate – and pops the ingredients into a double boiler
After a while melting on the boiler, the mixture soon turns into a smooth, Caramac-coloured concoction
I start with the marge, melting it down into a golden puddle, then add the condensed milk and treacle. Given I’ve not got a recipe it’s a bit of guesswork but it definitely looks Caramac-coloured.
The white chocolate recipe says I should blend it to make sure it’s not grainy, but a taste test proves it’s pretty smooth anyway, so I decide that’ll do. I haven’t added the sugar on the ingredients list but my muddy mixture is so sweet it’s making my eyes water as it is, so decide to save my teeth and leave it as it is.
Given I’m not a confectioner, I don’t own a chocolate mould, so settle by lining a flat-ish dish with clingfilm and pouring my mixture in.
It’s all a bit of fun and reminds me of childhood days of creating weird sweet-laced mixtures using melted chocolate bars and anything else sweet I could get my hands on. A kid’s dream really – except I’m 41.
Still, I’m feeling quite satisfied with my effort as I pop it into the freezer to set until I notice the bowl of milk powder I’ve forgotten to add sitting on the counter.
I’m tempted to pretend it was never there in the first place, but given the Caramac ingredients list has both condensed milk and milk powder on the list and I’ve already omitted half of them, I decide to give it a re-run.
Same method, same ingredients, except this time after the fat is melted I add my milk powder. There’s a touch-and-go moment where it looks like it’s about to turn into a powdery gunk, but it soon melts away and we’re back to creating a smooth lava of sugar-laden goodness.
Into the freezer we go again.
After the mixture is fully melted, Ellen places some into a large container to put in a freezer
As she doesn’t have a chocolate mould, Ellen places cling film onto a flat tray and spread the runny mixture over it thinly
It’s while I’m waiting for my experiments to set that I find another idea – a ‘How to make Caramilk-style chocolate’ (basically Caramac) recipe that uses just ONE ingredient.
How did I miss this?
Given the lack of confidence I have in my bodged homemade Caramac concoctions, I decide to give it a go. It’s basically caramelised white chocolate and is certainly easier – essentially taking a bar of white chocolate and melting it down in the oven repeatedly until it caramelises, before being re-set in the fridge or freezer.
No water bath thingies, no funny ingredients I may never use again and much less mess.
It sounds easy but proves to be lengthy, given I need 15 minutes of melting time in the oven a total of three times before I can get it in the freezer. At this stage I think I prefer my melting mass of ingredients that took minutes.
After the first 15-minute melting time, it just looks like melted white chocolate, but after the second when I stir it it’s magically turning Caramac colour. Then the third time it’s definitely the right colour, although it feels more like Concrete than Caramac.
While waiting for her initial attempt to set, Ellen finds a Caramac recipe where white chocolate is simply melted in the oven three times for 15 minuets each. After the third bake it becomes a thick Caramac-coloured ‘concrete’ mixture
The three-times melted white chocolate is again spread onto a cling-film-covered tray and popped into the freezer
While the first, and significantly more complicated, recipe (right) comes out as a ‘sticky mess’ even after spending a long time in the freezer, the one ingredient alternative (left) is a ‘triumph’ and ‘snaps like the real thing’
An hour later, the cheat’s version is rock solid and I’m feeling quite buoyed. My own mixture, on the other hand, is far from set and is a sticky mess that’s more reminiscent of something my dog might leave behind rather than a tasty treat.
I give it more time, but it remains a sticky puddle. It tastes okay, but chocolate it is not. And after nearly sticking my fingers together trying to get it off the clingfilm, I finally give up and admit defeat.
In contrast, my one-ingredient Caramac version is a triumph. It snaps like the real thing, is the right colour, and a taste of it brings back memories of childhood treats and sugar-highs.
But despite its close resemblance, it’s still not quite the same. There’s no joy of unwrapping that gaudy red wrapping to find the smooth, carefully-moulded creation inside. And while the taste is similar, it’s not quite the same.
There’s only one thing for it. Nestle, you’ll have to bring back the Caramac.
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