Salted caramel is a confectionary flavour which is added to many of the most delicious sweet treats across the world, but few people know much about where it first originated – and how to incorporate it into their own cooking.
In this blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at salted caramel and how to make it, identify it and store it…
As with any long-standing confectionary, the origins of salted caramel go back quite some time have been forgotten by many. Offering both salty and sweet flavours, salted caramel is particularly popular in the US, but is growing in popularity across the UK.
The earliest roots of salted caramel can be traced to Brittany in France, where a chocolatier named Henri Le Roux pioneered the art form. Hailing from a family in the patisserie trade, Le Roux worked as an apprentice in the family business before relocating to Switzerland and studying to be a chocolatier at what was then the world’s only confectionary school.
Returning to France in 1965, Le Roux took over management of the family shop the same year, selling it in 1977 and opening another shop in Brittany, an area famed for producing vast quantities of salted butter.
The birth of salted caramel stemmed from an attempt to differentiate his products from the many patisseries in the local area, whilst still incorporating such a famous export of the region.
Following extensive testing, Le Roux created a salted butter caramel, which swiftly became a bestseller and put his shop on the culinary map. In 1980, Le Roux won the ‘Best Sweet in France’ award from the Salon International De La Confiserie, a famed Parisian bureau of excellence in food production. Today, there are many Henri Le Roux shops across France where visitors can try this early spin on salted caramel for themselves.
The combination of sweet and salty foods makes for an appealing treat for the taste buds, with the sweetness mingling with flavour-enhancing salt to create a flavour which is both unique and appetising.
The trick to getting salted caramel right lies in the ratios. Too much salt and the balance is completely thrown, and too much sweetness and it becomes sickly. A simple dash of salt is enough to trigger a positive reaction.
Can salted caramel be frozen?
Of course. There is no reason whatsoever why you can’t freeze salted caramel, in fact when considering the dishes it is sometimes used in, such as delicious salted caramel ice cream, you will see that this is downright expected.
However, it’s important to ensure you keep your salted caramel protected. The best way to do this is to wrap your caramel in wax paper and place in a freezer bag. This should help to prevent condensation and allow you to enjoy your frozen caramel for around six months after freezing.
Making great salted caramel sauce can be surprisingly simple and straightforward. Just follow these steps…
Heat the butter on a low heat, allowing it to slowly melt. Stir occasionally. Add the sugar and cream, increasing the temperature to medium until both have dissolved. Add the salt and adjust to taste. Stir until the sauce begins to simmer gently, then simmer for two minutes. Remove from the heat and prepare for use.
The great thing about this sauce is how flexible it is, usable in any number of different recipes to help add a little extra flavour!
Hot chocolate and salted caramel are a natural partnership, adding a salty kick to this otherwise overpoweringly sweet drink. Particularly popular during the chillier months of the year, this simple homemade salted caramel hot chocolate recipe for one will help keep you warm and toasty no matter what the weather brings!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe
Pour two tablespoons of caramel into the bottom of your mug, ensuring even coverage. Add in the hot chocolate and stir briskly. Add the whipped cream to the top, before drizzling the remaining caramel on top and sprinkling on some sea salt.
It’s not only hot chocolate which has proven a popular combination with the addition of salted caramel. Other favourites include salted caramel chocolate, salted caramel ice cream, and salted caramel fudge, alongside the likes of salted caramel brittle.
A well-known baking staple amongst those with a sweet tooth, adding salted caramel can also help make a homemade baked gift even more impressive!
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