If, like me, you can't resist caramel, you are going to love these 10+ Delicious Caramel Desserts! I can't wait to add more recipes to this list!
Caramel is one of the most luxurious foods on the planet, so you definitely need these 10+ Delicious Caramel Desserts in your life! Even chocoholics can't resist (though I have a few recipes with caramel + chocolate, too)!
What is Caramel?
Caramel is confection created when sugar is browned, or caramelized. In French, caramel translates to "burnt sugar." While not technically burnt, the golden brown color and the deep, rich flavor that accompanies it are the defining characteristics of caramel.
While we're sort of on the subject, a little PSA: "caramel" is the correct spelling and pronunciation if you're talking about food or a color. "Carmel" is a name for people or places. Thank you. *steps off soap box*
A great variety of desserts and confections are flavored and/or topped with caramel. Read on for some details on different types of caramel!
Types of Caramel
Caramel can vary in consistency due to ingredient proportions (amount of butter and/or heavy cream used) and to what temperature (stage) the caramel is heated to. Here are a few different types of caramel that you're likely familiar with:
- Hard Caramels - Hard, sweet, and irresistible, hard caramels are cooked to the "caramel" stage of 320°F.
- Soft Caramels - Chewy soft caramels are cooked to the "firm ball" stage, ranging from 244°F to 248°F, and typically have cream and/or butter added.
- Caramel Sauce - That caramel sauce you drizzle over your ice cream was cooked to the "thread" stage, ranging from 215°F to 230°F, and have typically have more cream and/or butter added than soft caramels do.
- Salted Caramel - Any of the above types of caramel can be made into salted caramel with the addition of salt. A small amount of salt is added to most caramels to help balance the bitterness that develops during caramelization, but salted caramel uses a larger amount of salt.
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Other Caramel Confections
Caramel is made with white (granulated) sugar. There are other caramel-like confections as well, which differ from caramel due to the ingredients used and/or the temperature they're heated to:
- Butterscotch - Butterscotch is made with brown sugar and cooked to a lower temperature ("soft crack" stage, 265°F to 270°F) so it's chewy.
- Toffee - Also made with brown sugar, toffee is basically butterscotch that has been cooked to a higher temperature ("hard crack" stage, 295°F to 310°F) so it's brittle.
- Dulce de Leche - Popular in South America, dulce de leche is made from milk and sugar that is simmered at low temperature for a long period of time until caramelized. Some people make it by caramelizing sweetened condensed milk.
- Cajeta - Less widely known in the United States, cajeta is caramel made from goat milk.
When to Use Caramel
Caramel is a popular (and totally delicious) flavor of many desserts that you can use year-round! Here are some ideas on when to use caramel, and what seasonal flavors complement it:
- Spring: In spring, sneak caramel into creamy tarts and drizzle it over cheesecakes!, That banana cream pie you make for Easter could use some caramel, too.
- Summer: Caramel goes well with stone fruits, It's also fantastic in and/or on ice cream!
- Fall: Try caramel alongside the Fall flavors of apples, pears, pumpkin, cinnamon, pecans, and bourbon! It's also amazing with herbs like rosemary and thyme!
- Winter: The warm flavor of caramel is the perfect addition to warm, cozy winter desserts like bread pudding! Soft caramels make a fantastic holiday gift. It pairs wonderfully with ginger, too!
- Anytime: Chocolate! Caramel + chocolate is a classic combo for a reason! A less traditional pairing is coffee + caramel, which you should try ASAP!
Caramel Dessert Recipes
Here's the best part! Here are all the caramel recipes on my blog. I can't wait to add more to this list!
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