One of the great miracles witnessed in the kitchen is the transformation of simple sugar into the astonishingly rich flavors of caramel. Confectioners know how to turn caramel into thick, gooey rivers of deep goodness. Most cultures have some version of custard with either a pooling sauce of runny caramel under the quivering cream or with a crackling top of hard caramel. And caramel cake appeals to just about everyone. Those who think of caramel solely for its sweetness may find themselves pleasantly surprised at the number of savory dishes in which caramel appears. Light caramel sauce spiked with fragrant brandy enhances beef’s native sweetness. And onions, long stewed, for their own sort of caramel to top rich chicken livers. Nevertheless, caramel’s flavor succeeds primarily in desserts, and only the resolutely disciplined could resist the authors’ chocolate caramel peanut butter delight atop bananas.