Salted Caramels

March 20, 2020

Today is a special day. Today is my 3rd year blog anniversary. A true labor of love. And although I only do this in my spare time, I am proud of myself for every day that I can continue doing it. Sadly, because of COVID-19, I am unable to go out or have friends over to celebrate. So instead, I decided to make something I could share. Salted caramels are a favorite of mine and something I was easily able to make with the pantry ingredients I happen to have on hand.

History of Caramel

Homemade salted caramels are worth every single calorie. While I often say I am not a sweet person, I must confess, I am a huge caramel lover and I always have been. As a kid, the little square caramels wrapped in plastic typically used for making caramel apples were a favorite.  It was not until later in life that I discovered the homemade kind.

In recent years caramel, (salted caramel in particular) has become extremely trendy–the kale of the sweet world if you will. The list of sweet and salty offerings seems limitless, candy, almonds, popcorn, cupcakes, donuts, coffee drinks, martinis, ice creams, and pie.  I have even seen salted caramel air freshener and candles which is mind-boggling.  Declared a “hot new flavor” way back in 2008, salted caramel’s popularity is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.

salted caramels

But where did this trend begin? That is something I have wondered about for a while. Henri Le Roux, a French chocolatier attended a candy school in Switzerland. He returned to Brittany (an area known for its salted butter) and decided to add the well-known local ingredient by developing salted butter caramel with crushed nuts which he sold in his local store.

Le Roux was awarded “Best Sweet” in France by the Salon International de la Confiserie in Paris in 1980 for what was called an inventive culinary creation. In 1990, salted caramel was further popularized by French pastry chef Pierre Hermé when he invented a salted caramel macaron.  American chefs took note of this trend and by 2008 began adding sea salt to various types of sweets, including caramel. No longer an elite culinary obsession, salted caramel is now mass-produced from Starbucks to Walmart, but it’s not all worth it.

salted caramels

Artisanal salted caramels can be wonderful and expensive, but there is a lot of variance in the product. Making caramel is all about a watchful eye, and the balance of color and sweetness matters a lot. I don’t typically use corn syrup, but in combination with sweetened condensed milk, you get the perfect caramel texture and sweetness balance. Using a good quality flaky salt in this recipe is ideal, it makes the caramel pop and intensifies the delicious caramel flavor perfectly.

This recipe for caramel does not call for fancy ingredients many of you may have these ingredients tucked away in your pantry already making it a great cooking project during your COVID-19 shelter-in-place or lockdown period if you, like me or happen to be in one of those hot spots right now.

During this unusual time of uncertainty in our world, today I’m taking a moment to pause and reflect on the positive and all that I have. I feel incredibly fortunate. I am so thankful to all who read my blog, share my blog, follow me on social media, and support me and this creative outlet I have grown to love so much. Stay healthy, keep cooking, modify recipes as needed based on what you have available, and stay connected as best you can, despite the distance.

salted caramel

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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