What is in this article?:
- Chefs give caramel a salty bite
- A history lesson
Desserts are getting a savory edge as chains and independents alike embrace salted caramel.
When it comes to popular desserts, it’s unlikely that anything will take the place of a straight-up scoop of vanilla ice cream or something simple and chocolaty, but sweets with a savory edge are gaining ground in the United States, as illustrated by the growing prevalence of salted caramel.
Although still mostly seen in independent restaurants, some national chains, including Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery, have added salted caramel flavors recently, and a major spirits producer introduced a salted caramel flavored vodka in July.
“Lots of different desserts and beverages are including salted caramel, like frozen treats — ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, etc. — pies, cakes, blended beverages, premium hot and iced coffee etc. It’s a flavor that works across item types,” said Jana Mann, director of menu trends for research firm Datassential.
New York-based frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles recently launched a salted caramel flavor at its 25 units.
“We brought salted caramel into the mix to satisfy guest demand for sweet and savory flavor combinations, and the response has been overwhelming,” 16 Handles founder Solomon Choi said. “Everyone absolutely loves the salty sweet taste, and we are being inundated with requests to keep the flavor on our menu indefinitely.”
The salted caramel frozen yogurt sells for 52 cents an ounce, the same price as its other flavors.
Ray Karam, Cold Stone Creamery’s senior tastemaker, said the chain released a salted caramel ice cream last year. Starting Oct. 3, its new salted caramel frozen yogurt will be offered across the 1,086-unit system.