Plus, some delicious recipes you can whip up in your kitchen.

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Credit: Jennifer Causey

Homemade caramel is an art form and, done right, its nutty, luscious sweetness will blow any store-bought version right out of the water. It makes your house smell like a Willy Wonka-fied heaven, and once you have a batch on-hand, you can transform it into a dozen other delectable desserts. 

This salty, sweet flavor combo easily amps up your favorite popcorn and nut mix. When added to cookies, pies, or cakes, it creates a creamy layer of goodness that is worthy of the holidays. But don't save it all for yourself, because these caramel-laden desserts and snacks are too good not to share with friends and family.

Get the Recipes: 14 Ways to Cook with Caramel

Your loved ones will be so excited to get scratch-made caramel. Pour sauce into a mason jar and tie with a festive ribbon, or wrap caramel candy in parchment paper, twist the ends, and place a dozen or so in a package for a thoughtful touch. But, be warned, they'll be begging for a batch every year from now on.