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Top Pick Of The Week

March 2, 2010

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Cocoa powder is mixed in to create chocolate caramels. Photography by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Handmade caramels.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Different flavors of fine artisan caramels made with top-quality ingredients.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The variety of flavors mean there’s always something different to indulge in.
WHERE TO BUY IT: IndulgeCaramels.com.
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Indulge Caramels
Page 2: Caramel Flavors

 

This is Page 1 of a two-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

Indulge Caramels Flavors

Indulge Caramels has an “original,” plain caramel, but we think the excitement is in the flavored varieties.

  • Apple Caramel is a reverse take on a caramel apple; here, lots of caramel and a little bit of apple.
  • Cayenne Caramel has a kick, and is a favorite (we love a little heat.) If you want more heat and smoke, pick the Habanero Caramel. You’ll enjoy the buzz for 10 minutes or longer. (Habanero lovers should also try another Top Pick Of The Week, the Buckin’ Hot Habañero Caramels from Cowgirl Chocolate.)
  • Cashew Caramel is full of large salted cashew nut pieces. It was the first bag emptied, so you can assume that we really liked it.
  • Chocolate Caramel is a very good version of the genre—and you don’t have to decide between a piece of chocolate or a caramel.
  • Chocolate Dipped Caramels are available in every flavor.
  • Cinnamon Toast Caramel doesn’t taste like cinnamon toast, but the cinnamon caramel is just fine.
 


Any of the caramel flavors can be had chocolate-dipped; or, you can have an assortment of chocolate-dipped flavors. Photo by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

  • Coconut Caramel is a bit of something different. We’ve never had coconut and caramel before, but the large coconut flakes make a great fusion.
  • Original Caramel is more creamy than buttery; it’s a lovely caramel, but we prefer the flavored varieties.
  • Sea Salt Caramel is one of our favorites; a fine sweet-and-salty contrast that’s accented by some large flakes of salt inside for crunch. Here, the finish on the palate is salty.

Now that we’ve tempted your palate, let us tempt your brain with the difference between caramel, butterscotch and toffee.

Why Caramels Are “Caramel”

Caramels are a great illustration of food science.

Caramelization is what happens to pure sugar when it is heated to 338°F, breaks down and forms new compounds. Try it yourself: Put a few tablespoons of sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Watch the sugar melt. You’ll know you’ve reached 338°F when it starts to turn brown (you can check it with a candy thermometer, too). You can use the sugar you’ve just caramelized to top desserts.

Caramel candy requires additional ingredients: cream, butter and, to prevent crystallization, corn syrup. The color of caramel is due to a reaction between the sugar and the protein in the cream used in the recipe (that’s why mass-marketed caramels that don’t use cream needed to add artificial color). The color occurs when the ingredients are cooked to 245°F.

 


Indulge’s Cashew Caramels: big pieces of cashews surrounded by a Maillard reaction. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

This is called the Maillard (my-YARD) reaction after the French scientist Louis Camille Maillard who discovered it, and it’s the same chemical process that happens when you toast nuts or bread, roast coffee, barbecue meats or use self-tanning lotion (Now, the tanners of America can understand what they have in common with caramel candy!). Read more about it.

Now for the day’s final bit of culinary knowledge: the difference between caramels, butterscotch and toffee.

  • Caramels are the softest of the candies, butterscotch is harder and toffee is the hardest of the three, based on both ingredients and how hot the ingredients are boiled.
  • Caramels are boiled to the firm-ball stage on a candy thermometer (245° to 250°F).
  • Butterscotch is boiled to the soft-crack stage (270° to 290°F).
  • Toffee is boiled to a hard-crack (295° to 310°F).

Become a knowledge junkie with more on the differences between caramel, butterscotch and toffee.

—Karen Hochman

Indulge Caramels Flavors

Handmade caramels in Apple, Cayenne, Cashew, Chocolate, Chocolate-Dipped (All Flavors) Cinnamon Toast, Coconut, Habanero and Original

  • Medium Bag (4 Ounces)
    $6.25
  • Large Bag (8 Ounces)
    $12.00
  • Chocolate-Dipped Box
    6-Piece Box
    $10.00
    12-Piece Box
    $17.00

Purchase online* at IndulgeCaramels.com.

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. Purchase information is provided as a reader convenience.

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Buy small bags of several flavors to find your favorites. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

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