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The Vogue for Salted Desserts

gothamette Nov 12, 2012 12:42 PM

All of a sudden I see "salted this" and "salted that" everywhere in baking and confectionery, especially salted caramel.

Is it a vogue (in the sense of temporary trend) or is this something classic? Even if it is classic, do you think it has been overdone?

I am tempted to add some kosher salt to a few pecan pralines. What do you think? Would it be a waste or an interesting taste contrast? Has anyone here tried it?

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    ferret RE: gothamette Nov 12, 2012 01:33 PM

    Salt is a flavor enhancer. Contrary to what you'd expect, when used in moderation it does not act to suppress the sweetness of desserts, it supplements the flavor. For example, people have been salting melons since forever to enhance the flavor (often saying it tastes "sweeter")..

    As with any experimentation, less is more. Sprinkle some grains of kosher salt on one, a few more on another and yet more on a third. That will help you better evaluate the "sweet spot" (pun possibly intended).

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret
      njmarshall55 RE: ferret Nov 12, 2012 02:50 PM

      Great response; but for me, personally, I think I'd shy away from "salted" desserts just out of health reasons. Trying to limit intake where I can; but I have to admit, I DO like contrast in my food...sweet/savory, hot/cold, etc. Cold salted butter on toasted cinamon swirl bread is my preferred breakfast of champions, but it's more of a treat than an every day thing.

    2. sunangelmb RE: gothamette Nov 12, 2012 04:33 PM

      Just tried salted caramels, and I wish I hadn't. They are that good. I tried to hide them from myself, but just keep finding them. I agree, the salt enhances the caramel, and cuts the overly cloying sweet factor. Must go find them, again....

      1 Reply
      1. re: sunangelmb
        Jelly71 RE: sunangelmb Nov 12, 2012 04:35 PM

        DO NOT go to Trader Joe's and buy the caramels that are covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. I don't like sweets in general, but I crave those. They only carry them during the holiday season.

      2. n
        NE_Elaine RE: gothamette Nov 13, 2012 04:24 AM

        I believe this just just one of those fads. It became popular a couple year ago and now you are seeing it in the mainstream. While I do believe that a pinch of salt will enhance the flavor of a sweet, I am not enthralled with the practice of salting caramels or chocolates. It just doesn't do it for me.

        If you like the idea, give it a try. Let us know how you liked it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: NE_Elaine
          ferret RE: NE_Elaine Nov 13, 2012 06:52 AM

          If you've never had these then you don't know what you're missing.


          1. re: ferret
            NE_Elaine RE: ferret Nov 15, 2012 07:21 AM

            I have tried a number of iterations of this concept from high cacao boutique chocolates to home-made caramels with the addition of everything from pink to grey salt and as I stated above, it is not a concept that works for me.

            It is doubtful that a bite of a chocolate covered pretzel manufactured by a company that aligns itself with 1800Flowers and The Popcorn Factory would do much to sway my opinion.

            To each his own.

        2. greygarious RE: gothamette Nov 13, 2012 07:37 AM

          A previous thread on this subject: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/864180

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious
            gothamette RE: greygarious Nov 16, 2012 06:42 PM

            I looked at it and it seemed to be mostly an argument about whether salt is healthy or not. Not enlightening. No one seems to have any idea where this weird taste combination comes from, whether it is a fad or has any genuine roots in regional cooking. Or any kind of cooking.

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