I love the intangible feeling of Christmas – that big, warm, swelling feeling that rises up inside you. The closer we draw to Christmas (9 days and counting) the more palpable this feeling becomes. It’s in the shop windows, it’s in the Christmas trees – strung with lights that twinkle in darkened lounge windows and it’s in the Christmas carols that float on the sticky, humid summer air. I go out of my way to soak it all in. I have taken my place in the queue that forms in Franklin Rd; it inches slowly past houses curtained in Christmas lights, past front yards filled with gold and silver baubles, past Christmas stockings strung from porches and angels hanging from rooftops.
This year, more so than any other year, I have been inspired to bake; I think it is my way of spreading the Christmas cheer. So in the midst of all the Christmas madness I find calm in my kitchen. I retreat, apron around my waist, whisk at the ready and I bake. Although not baked per se, I took immense pleasure from making these salted butter caramels. Dipped in dark chocolate and topped with wee salt crystals they make the perfect gift, so if you find yourself with a few spare hours before Christmas I suggest you give these a go.