OK people, we need to have a heart to heart. There is a trend right now with “Salted Caramel”. Look! Salted caramel cake! Oh boy! Salted caramel mocha! Wow! Salted caramel ice cream! Sigh.
Gross. Seriously people? GROSS. This trend has been driving me batshit.
“Salted caramel” is NOT supposed to just be salt-y caramel. Salted caramel is divine. Salt-y caramel is disgusting! What’s the difference? Well, it seems this all started in France, where a famous candy store started sprinkling fleur de sel on their caramels. The fad took hold and now every idiot from Starbucks to Wal Mart is adding a ton of salt to their caramel-flavored stuff and is selling to it the masses like it’s some gourmet flavor that has recently been invented. Ug. Call it “Salted Caramel” or “Salted Chocolate” and people are snatching it up and handing over fistfulls of cash.
OK, the soap box is out – and here you go… Salted caramel is regular caramel that has rock salt, fleur de sel, or another non-processed salt added at the end either on top as a finishing salt or it is folded in past the stage where the salt can dissolve and incorporate fully into the item. You have to use specific types of salts that do not melt or dissolve so they remain in large crystals. You do NOT want it to effect the overall composition of your treat and make it salty.
Why? When your teeth bite into a crystal of salt while a sweet thing is in your mouth, it gives a jolt to your palate intensifying whatever you are eating. It’s a trick on your taste buds and pleasure receptors. This is an experience that does not happen with a big’ole spoonfull of table salt added to super sweet Criscocream icing, table salt added to the fake caramel syrup in your caramel mocha, or the table salt that Wal Mart is throwing in their cheap-ass ice cream.
PS – I’ve always had a salted chocolate cake on my menu, only I called it “Dark Chocolate Fleur De Sel” because I actually spend the money on imported fleur de sel from France. But as a test, I changed the name of the cake to “Salted Dark Chocolate” and left the cupcakes called “Dark Chocolate Fleur De Sel” in February, just to see if people would respond better to the words. Same recipe, same cake presentation, same cupcakes. Guess what my #1 seller was last month?
Yup. It’s a damn tasty cake, but still, I was very surprised at how many I sold just by changing the name. So OK, I’m not above riding a fad to sell my cake, so I am permanently changing the name of both the cake and cupcakes. AND… as an added bonus, introducing…