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Celebrating All Things Caramel

Kelli Shiroma |
April 5, 2014 | 8:21 a.m. PDT

Food Editor

The “Chocolate Caramel Muffin” from Starbucks features a great blend of chocolate, caramely goodness (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
The “Chocolate Caramel Muffin” from Starbucks features a great blend of chocolate, caramely goodness (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
It’s time to celebrate all things gooey, sticky and sweet, because April 5 is “National Caramel Day.”

While Americans were making sugary syrups since the 1600s, the chewy, sticky caramel many know and love today is a more recent invention. Caramel candy was first created in the 18th century and instantly skyrocketed to fame. 

Caramel is made with brown or white sugar, milk or cream, vanilla and butter. It can be enjoyed as a candy, an ice cream topping, a candy filling, or even a drink (coffee, etc.). Caramel can also be served up in a variety of ways (salted, spice-infused, and more). 

Most recently, the salty-sweet dessert trend has been on the rise, making “salty caramel” a more popular “flavor” when it comes to sweets. The trend is known as the “salt tooth,” in which salt (or sea salt) is sprinkled on top an otherwise sweet dessert, adding a hint of texture and savoriness to the mix. 

Many bakeries and restaurants in L.A. feature some sort of salty-sweet option, whether it’s a drink, pastry, dessert or meal. Here are some places where you can celebrate “National Caramel Day” in the city.

Syrup Desserts – “Caramel Apple”

The “Caramel Apple Pie Waffle” found at Syrup Desserts features a unique caramel apple pie waffle served with fresh apples, caramel, dulce de leche ice cream, apple pie filling and vanilla sauce. Thought regular apple pie was the best pie in the world? This caramel take on the classic dessert will make you reconsider. 

T.G.I. Friday’s – “Salted Caramel Cake”

The unique “Salted Caramel Cake” at T.G.I. Friday’s features a vanilla cake layered with caramel crunch and vanilla bean pudding and is topped with a salted caramel glaze. A fresh scoop of vanilla ice cream completes the salty-sweet treat.

Sprinkles Cupcakes – “Salty Caramel”

The "Salty Caramel" flavor at Sprinkles Cupcakes is an ever-popular seasonal treat. This delicacy features a buttery caramel cake and frosting topped delicately with fleur de sel granules from Brittany, France. 

Sprinkles Ice Cream – “Salty Caramel”

This flavor is so frequently requested that it’s a daily one at Sprinkles Ice Cream. It includes caramel ice cream flavored by housemade caramel chunks and fleur de sel crystals. 

The Griddle Café – “A Time to Love,” “Yellow Brick Road” and “The Golden Ticket” Pancakes

These sweet concoctions featured at The Griddle Café is sure to satisfy your craving for caramel. “A Time to Love” includes light, fluffy pancakes filled with streusel, caramel and butterscotch ship and are topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar and even more caramel. The “Yellow Brick Road” pancakes feature the eatery’s original pancakes stuffed with walnuts, caramel and butterscotch and are topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Finally, “The Golden Ticket” pancakes feature the café’s signature “Banana Nana” pancakes stuffed with walnuts, streusel and caramel” and are topped with more caramel, streusel and whipped cream.

The “Salted Caramel Pizookie” is truly a must-try for those who like salty-sweet desserts. The caramel cookie is moist and soft, and the pretzel bites and chocolate chips complement it perfectly (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
The “Salted Caramel Pizookie” is truly a must-try for those who like salty-sweet desserts. The caramel cookie is moist and soft, and the pretzel bites and chocolate chips complement it perfectly (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse – “Salted Caramel Pizookie”

As the newest addition to the Pizookie line-up at BJ’s, the “Salted Caramel Pizookie” is the perfect sweet and salty combo. It features a chewy, moist caramel cookie, pretzel bites, and dark and white chocolate chips. It’s then topped off with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce and a dark chocolate Ghirardelli Square. 

More Than Waffles – “Caramel French Toast” and “Crazy Caramel Belgian Waffles”

There’s definitely more than waffles at this breakfast joint — there’s a wide-ranging selection, including pancakes, omelets, French toast and more. The “Caramel French Toast” features sliced bananas and chopped pecans. Meanwhile, the “Crazy Caramel Belgian Waffles” feature caramel, whipped cream, ice cream and nuts. 

The Cheesecake Factory – “Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake” 

Choosing the “Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake” for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory is the perfect way to end your meal because of this cheesecake’s medley of flavors and textures. It features a pecan brownie and caramel fudge-swirl cheesecake that’s topped with chocolate and caramel turtle pecans. Talk about decadence in each bite. 

Starbucks – Various Caramel Treats

Quite a variety of caramel-laden treats are currently available at Starbucks. For starters, the “Chocolate Caramel Muffin” features a rich, moist chocolate muffin with a creamy caramel center that oozes out with each bite. 

The “Salted Caramel Square” includes a dense chocolate square with caramel swirls, crunchy pretzels and pecans. The “Salted Caramel Cake Pop”—featuring chocolate cake mixed with chocolate buttercream icing and caramel and is topped with a caramel drizzle, milk chocolate coating and sea salt—is perfect for those who want a bite-sized salty-sweet snack. For those craving caramel drinks, the “Caramel Macchiato”—freshly steamed milk with espresso, vanilla-flavored syrup and caramel sauce—and “Iced Caramel Macchiato,” made with espresso, vanilla-flavored syrup, caramel sauce and milk served over ice, are available. The “Salted Caramel Mocha,” comprising espresso, steamed milk, mocha sauce, toffee nut-flavored syrup, whipped cream, caramel drizzle, sea salt and turbinado sugar, is also a popular choice. 

Haagen-Dazs – “Salted Caramel Truffle” and “Caramel Cone”

This seasonal treat (available from February to December) crafted by Haagen-Dazs features a delicious sweet cream ice cream blended with ribbons of salted caramel and chunks of chocolate truffles. If you’re searching for something on the sweeter side, “Caramel Cone” is a great choice, as it features a creamy blend of rich caramel ice cream with creamy caramel swirls interspersed with chunks of chocolatey cone pieces. 

DeLuscious Cookies + Milk – “Triple Chocolate Caramel Brownie”

The scrumptious “Triple Chocolate Caramel Brownie” features the bakery’s signature triple chocolate fudge brownie mixed with hand-crafted caramel swirls and is topped with sprinkles of fleur de sel.

See’s Candies – “Caramel”

The chocolate “Caramel” candy available at See’s Candies features a buttery brown sugar caramel flavored lightly with maple sugar and California almonds and is enveloped in a smooth milk chocolate coating.

Ghirardelli Chocolate – “Milk and Caramel,” “Sea Salt Caramel Sundae” and “Sea Salt Caramel Banana Quake Shake”

The classic “Milk and Caramel” squares found at Ghirardelli feature creamy milk chocolate bite-sized candies with a buttery caramel filling. Craving a sweet-salty sundae? The “Sea Salt Caramel Sundae” includes vanilla ice cream coated generously with creamy caramel, sea salt and freshly homemade hot fudge. The sundae is complete with whipped cream and a Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Square. The “Sea Salt Caramel Banana Quake Shake” is another great option, featuring a chocolate bar-infused milkshake made with fresh banana slices and topped with whipped cream, sea salt and a Ghirardelli “Milk and Caramel” Square. 

Beverly Hills Brownie Company – “Salted Caramel”

The “Salted Caramel” brownie featured at Beverly Hills Brownie Company exudes dark chocolate decadence mixed with a sticky, salty caramel texture. The salty-sweet combo is topped with tiny sea salt crystals. 

Isabella’s Cookie Company – “Twister”

This cookie combo seems too good to be true. The “Twister” featured at Isabella’s Cookies features a caramel toffee cookie filled with milk chocolate chunks and chocolate toffee pieces.

Dylan’s Candy Bar – “Salted Caramel Bark” and “Caramel Bar”

The “Salted Caramel Bark” featured at Dylan’s Candy Bar is a perfect marriage of sweet and salty. It combines pieces of dark chocolate, caramel and toffee and is covered with a milk chocolate drizzle. Dylan’s also features a “Caramel Bar,” featuring luscious milk chocolate with a rich, gooey caramel center. 

Georgetown Cupcake – “Salted Caramel” and “Chocolate Salted Caramel”

The “Salted Caramel” cupcake featured at Georgetown Cupcake includes a moist caramel cupcake with salted caramel-infused buttercream frosting topped with a caramel drizzle, while “Chocolate Salted Caramel” features a Valrhona chocolate cake with a dulce de leche center, salted caramel buttercream frosting and a dulce de leche star. 

Cinnabon – “Caramel Pecan Bon”

The sticky and gooey “Caramel Pecan Bon” is perfect for all caramel fanatics. Cinnabon’sClassic Roll” is topped with caramel and pecans in this decadent treat. 

Looking for other salty caramel sweets around town? Check these out. 

Reach Kelli Shiroma here or follow her on Twitter



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