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The Vogue for Salted Desserts

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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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  1. 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

      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. 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

        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. 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

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

          http://www.harrylondon.com/store/item...

          1. re: ferret

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            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.