There’s nothing better than a sweet treat on a warm day…or a warm treat to help keep the cold away. Caramel is one of the best dessert options that work well in any season because of the versatility of this ingredient. Here’s how you can elevate your sweets with homemade caramels.
Caramel: More than a Sauce
When people think of caramel, they may picture a generic bottle of caramel sauce as a topping in an ice cream bar. But caramel can be so much more than that! Actually, caramel, as an element, is one of the obvious hallmarks of an elevated dessert.
That’s one of the reasons that caramel is such a great way to elevate your sweets. Whether as a sauce, flavor, or standalone candy, caramel is a familiar yet sophisticated touch that satisfies the sweet tooth and has an aesthetic effect on the eye. The rich earthy tones of a true caramel color work well with white cakes or dark brownies, a good pair, in appearance and taste, for vanilla, chocolate, fruits, and other common dessert elements. Caramel can be a sauce but also a syrup, cream, inclusion, or powder.
Crafting Your Caramels
While the signature color is a standout feature of caramel, this element of dessert comes down to one word: flavor. Getting the true caramel flavor is critical if you want to elevate your sweets. And that flavor depends on both the quality of ingredients and, even more importantly, the patience of the creator. Perhaps the most crucial element to the perfect caramel is time.
Any home cook can throw together ingredients for caramels, such as butter, sugar, Karo syrup, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract, but that alone won’t guarantee the ideal caramel candies. Attention to detail, and some patience, are required because caramels need to be stirred constantly, with ingredients added slowly to achieve the perfect consistency, and then completely cool once poured into the pan.
Consider Your Presentation
Of course, it’s a given that the quality of ingredients you choose for your desserts makes a huge difference. But the presentation can be just as important. There are plenty of ways to incorporate caramel into your dish, but when you create your own homemade caramels, you can elevate the sweets with a tiny garnish that can make a big difference. A little chocolate or even caramel sauce drizzle on the top, a tiny bit of sugar or sea salt – almost any piece can work as a garnish for your caramels to take them to the next level.
Even if you don’t want to garnish your caramel candies with anything on the top, you can present your caramels in a way to highlight the sophisticated homemade goodness. Try to arrange the candies in a way that capitalizes on the individual nature of each caramel. You can even choose a family heirloom tray to put your caramels on to link your hard work to the home-cooked dishes of generations before.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Especially when you work with the highest quality ingredients for your desserts, it can be tempting to think that you should get the perfect result. But that’s not realistic or necessary in order to enjoy these homemade caramel candies. Rather than only being satisfied with perfection, pride yourself on the quality ingredients and careful process you put into this elevated dessert.
Elevate Your Sweets
Making brownies from a box or cracking open a carton of generic ice cream is one kind of dessert. But homemade caramels are on another level. Your family, your neighborhood – anyone you share these caramels with won’t be able to help being impressed with your efforts.