Key Difference – Caramel vs Salted Caramel
Caramel and salted caramel are two popular confections that are loved by everyone. Although caramel has been used in cusine for centuries, salted caramel is a relatively new discovery. The key difference between caramel and salted caramel lies in their ingredients. The main ingredient of caramel is sugar whereas salted caramel has two ingredients: caramel and sea salt. In fact, the only difference between caramel and salted caramel is that the salted caramel, as its name implies, contains salt.
What is Caramel?
Caramel is a confectionery product made from heating sugar. This process of heating sugar to obtain caramel is also known as caramelization. Caramel can have a beige to dark-brown color. It was traditionally used as a filling for chocolate candies, but today its uses have expanded a great deal. Caramel can be used as a flavoring in puddings and desserts, as a topping for ice cream and custard or as a filling in bonbons. It is also used to make food items such as nougats, crème brûlée, crème caramel, brittles, and caramel apples. Sometimes ice-creams are flavored with caramel. Caramel candy or toffees are soft, chewy candy made by heating a mixture of milk or cream, sugar, and, butter.
As mentioned above, caramel is made by heating sugar. This process involves heating the sugar slowly around to 340 °F (for liquid caramel). As the temperature increases, the sugar molecules break down and re-form into compounds. However, the soft caramel candy mixture is only heated up to a firm-ball stage.
What is Salted Caramel?
Salted caramel is made by sprinkling sea salt on top of the caramel confections. Thus, the only difference between caramel and salted caramel is in their ingredients; salted caramel consists of salt and caramel doesn’t. Salted caramel has become a very popular flavor over the past few year. This appeal is mostly due to the blending of the two flavors that doubles the taste sensation. Moreover, salt, in right amounts, can stimulate our taste buds to create a pleasurable sensory experience.
Salted caramel’s history can be traced back to France. Henri Le Roux, a French chocolatier came up with the idea of salted butter caramel in the late 1970s. However, salted caramel was popularized by the French chef Pierre Hermé when he invented salted caramel macaron (an almond meringue cookie with a salted caramel filling) in the 1990s. Not long after, American chefs began to try this combination of caramel and salt and came up with a variety of sweets. Today products made from salted caramels can be found in popular places like Starbucks and McDonald’s as well. Some of the products that contain salted caramel include salted caramel sundae, salted caramel candies, salted caramel hot chocolates, etc.
What is the difference between Caramel and Salted Caramel?
Caramel: Sugar is the main ingredient of caramel.
Salted Caramel: Sugar and salt are the main ingredients.
Caramel: Liquid caramel is made from sugar and butter. Caramel candy is made from sugar, butter, milk or cream.
Salted Caramel: Salted caramel is made from sea salt and caramel candy or liquid caramel.
Caramel: Caramel is used to make nougats, crème brûlée, crème caramel, brittles, caramel apples, etc.
Salted Caramel: Some products include salted caramel sundae, salted caramel candies, salted caramel hot chocolates, salted caramel macaron, etc.
Caramel: Caramel has a long history than salted caramel.
Salted Caramel: Salted caramel is a relatively new discovery.Image Courtesy: “Caramel apples with nuts (3652137270)” By Neil Conway from Oakland, USA – Caramel Apples (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia “Salted caramel macaron on plate, profile, February 2011” By saaleha bamjee – Flickr: Salted caramel macaron (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia