Caramelizing sugar can be a real pain, and yet it's an integral skill for bakers and makers of all things sweet to learn if they want to add some nutty brown goodness to their culinary creation.
If you want to add caramelized sugar to your recipes but can't stand the process then you're about to become a fan of Stella Parks from Serious Eats, who figured out how to caramelize sugar by roasting it:
Consider the above photo exhibit A—neither brown sugar nor turbinado, but granulated white sugar that I caramelized without melting. It's dry to the touch, and performs exactly like granulated white sugar.
Except, you know, the part where it tastes like caramel.
That opens up a world of possibility, as it works flawlessly in recipes for buttercream, mousse, or cheesecake, which can accommodate only a small amount of caramel sauce before turning soupy or soft. It's also ideal for desserts that would be ruined by caramel syrup, which is by nature too hot for fragile angel food cake, and too viscous for soft candies like marshmallows or nougat. And, compared to caramel powder (made from liquid caramel, cooled and ground), it won't compact into a solid lump over time.
-Via Boing Boing