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Where can I find salt caramels in Chicago?

Where can I find salt caramels in Chicago?
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  • Post #31 - April 10th, 2006, 4:17 pm
    Post #31 - April 10th, 2006, 4:17 pm Post #31 - April 10th, 2006, 4:17 pm
    thaiobsessed wrote:
    The great think about those pink salt caramels that I had at TTG was the finely crushed pink salt that the caramels were rolled in
    .

    I was actually thinking about trying them with the pink Hawaiian salt I just got. It's actually pretty course but I could run it through my "spice grinder"(i.e. old coffee grinder). Was there vanilla in the caramels from TTG?
    If anyone is planning on trying the Epicurious recipe--several of my "taster" friends have commented on the richness and I think I would cut them into smaller squares (maybe 1/2 inch) the next time.


    I think they'd look beautiful with colored salts. I actually replied to another thread that's active right now re. someone who was looking for ideas on using colored sea salt, and suggested the OP read this thread. Wouldn't a great after-Easter dinner treat be a tray of caramels that have been sprinkled in pastel-colored sea salts? You could have some pink, some blue...

    I definitely need to make another batch of caramels--last nights is now very hard, and when I try to eat it, it has the potential to pull out fillings (which, fortunately, I don't have). But the flavor's great! I haven't yet decided which recipe to try on the second batch, but I'll tackle it either tonight or tomorrow. (I'm leaning toward NYT only because I want to get the temp figured out.) At this rate, by the end of the week I'll have tried both recipes and some others we haven't stumbled across yet!

    Regarding size: The caramels I original had at Trotters were tiny...maybe 1/3" x 2/3" x 2/3".
  • Post #32 - April 10th, 2006, 4:43 pm
    Post #32 - April 10th, 2006, 4:43 pm Post #32 - April 10th, 2006, 4:43 pm
    Popping over from that salt thread.

    I think the pink Hawaiian salt would be especially good in candy. It's mildly earthy and maybe it's my imagination but it seems a little less salty than some of the others. And it's such a pretty color.
  • Post #33 - April 10th, 2006, 9:51 pm
    Post #33 - April 10th, 2006, 9:51 pm Post #33 - April 10th, 2006, 9:51 pm
    For those of you who are attempting to make caramels, I thought you'd enjoy this blog entry.
    http://brandoesq.blogspot.com/2006/03/f ... rache.html

    (Every time I read her blog I want to fly to Singapore and hang out on her doorstep until she invites me in for dinner.)
  • Post #34 - April 12th, 2006, 5:05 pm
    Post #34 - April 12th, 2006, 5:05 pm Post #34 - April 12th, 2006, 5:05 pm
    I made batch number two today, again using the New York Times recipe. This time I took them off the heat when the temp reached 245'. Much better, but still too chewy. Initially, I thought I had it, but now that they've cooled about 3 hours, I don't think so. As you initially bite into a piece, it cracks, then is very chewy...it's a jaw workout.

    Since I got further with this batch than with the prior, I learned a lot. (I got these cut up, which I never could have done with the first ones.)

    1. Experiment with the timing of adding the salt sprinkled on top. If the caramels are too warm, the salt will get absorbed, but if you add it too late, it won't adhere. Also, remember that some salt will fall off as you cut the caramels. I used Maldon, which has large, lightweight flakes, and about 15-25% fell off.

    2. When cutting, keep your board, your knife, everything, well oiled. It gets sticky.

    3. I started using a pizza cutter to cut the strips, which worked well. But a chefs knife seems to work better for cutting them into the individual pieces.

    4. Looking again at the photos by Thaiobsessed, I now agree with her re. the size of the individual caramels. I experimented the ideal size seems to be about a dice (a die). The recipes I saw all called for 8x8 or 9x9 pans lined with foil. I didn't have one, so I used a 9x12 pan and created a foil wall to make it 9x9. Having sampled enough pieces, I'd now almost prefer a thinner caramel, and might go closer to 9x10 or 9x11 on the next go-round.

    5. Because I was cutting in smaller pieces, I probably have 150 caramels. I'm loathe to wrap that many caramels, and a little worried about knocking the salt off, so paper candy cups are probably a good alternative.

    One other note about the NYT recipe. It does call for 1/3c of honey (in addition to corn syrup and sugar). I like honey by itself, but generally don't like honey in candies. This was the only caramel recipe I saw that called for honey, and although the flavor was subtle, you could definitely taste the honey if you were looking for it. Something to keep in mind if you're not a huge honey fan.
  • Post #35 - December 9th, 2006, 8:26 am
    Post #35 - December 9th, 2006, 8:26 am Post #35 - December 9th, 2006, 8:26 am
    Just an FYI

    Trader Joe's is currently selling boxes of Fleur de Sel caramels. The price is certainly right ($6.95) and the packaging is well suited for gift giving.
    The caramels were good, but certainly not the best caramels I have tasted. The salt was not sprinkled on top so while there was some saltiness, it was not very evident.
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #36 - December 9th, 2006, 8:32 am
    Post #36 - December 9th, 2006, 8:32 am Post #36 - December 9th, 2006, 8:32 am
    chgoeditor wrote:For those who like salt with their sweet, I just discovered a new candy bar by Vosges...the Barcelona Bar. It's milk chocolate (40% cacao), smoked almonds and gray sea salt (seems to be mixed in as the chocolate is cooling, because the salt hasn't melted...the crystals are probably the size you'd find on a large pretzel). The woman at the cheese counter at Binny's on Clark/Halsted clued me into it, and even the cashier at the checkout line was raving about it. Definitely worth trying! (At ~$6-7 each, I'm trying to ration myself to one per week.)


    why not buy a good bar of milk chocolate (i like trader joes), buy some smoked almonds (costco has great ones) and some sea salt and make your own. just melt the chocolate, drape it over the almonds and sprinkle on some salt. you'll save a fortune. justjoan
  • Post #37 - December 11th, 2006, 4:37 pm
    Post #37 - December 11th, 2006, 4:37 pm Post #37 - December 11th, 2006, 4:37 pm
    chgoeditor wrote:Does anyone know of any local sources that are strictly caramels (no chocolate)? Thanks!

    Chgoeditor,

    Not exactly your parameters, Chocolate Potpourri's Caramel's with sea salt have chocolate and are more on the order of truffles, but I ate one earlier today and it was damn good.

    Caramel Sea Salt
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Chocolate Potpourri
    1814 Johns Drive
    Glenview, IL 60025
    847.729.8878
    http://www.chocolatetruffles.com/index.aspx
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #38 - December 12th, 2006, 11:54 pm
    Post #38 - December 12th, 2006, 11:54 pm Post #38 - December 12th, 2006, 11:54 pm
    Hand made salt carmels are a regular item at Vanille Patisserie (2229 N Clybourne).
    Lacking fins or tail
    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

    Jewish haiku.
  • Post #39 - December 13th, 2006, 1:45 pm
    Post #39 - December 13th, 2006, 1:45 pm Post #39 - December 13th, 2006, 1:45 pm
    Trader Joe's has them as well.
  • Post #40 - December 13th, 2006, 1:59 pm
    Post #40 - December 13th, 2006, 1:59 pm Post #40 - December 13th, 2006, 1:59 pm
    I just happen to be mintues away from the place that considers itself the salt caramel capital of the world: Isigny (France).

    I'd recommend looking online for
    caramels au buerre salé d'Isigny
    (caramels made from salted butter from Isigny)

    I know that Dupont d'Isigny is one of the distributors for these salted-butter caramels, but I'm not sure how to order from them. However, I did find a website that offers French food items, including these salted butter caramels from Isigny:

    http://www.thefrenchybee.com/caramels-au-beurre-salé-disigny-salted-butter-caramels-6-oz-p-211.html
  • Post #41 - January 11th, 2007, 7:29 pm
    Post #41 - January 11th, 2007, 7:29 pm Post #41 - January 11th, 2007, 7:29 pm
    One of my Christmas presents was a box of salt caramels that my stepmom picked up in Paris this fall. These are labeled "Esprit du Sel, Ile De Re." (Sorry, can't do accent marks, but hope that will make sense to people.)

    These are the type of caramels where the salt is incorporated into the caramel, and I personally found them to be too salty. (Whole Foods now sells a privately labeled salt caramel that are also made this way. Although theirs aren't too salty, they're just sort of "eh.") I've concluded that I prefer salt caramels where minimal (or normal) amounts of salt are incorporated into the caramel, and sprinkling of salt is added on the top.

    While at Dallas's Central Market recently, I saw a box of Bissinger's Chardonnay Salt Caramels (which are coated in chocolate). An employee was kind enough to open a box so we could try them, and they were delicious! My stepmom and I each bought a box (at ~$8 for six caramels). The Chardonnay taste isn't pronounced, but these are a great salt caramel. I didn't realize that Bissinger's is a St. Louis company, but just hopped on their website to see how much they sell these for. Shock...$11! I guess I'll have to fly to Texas if I want a cheaper fix <grin>. Also noticed they sell a Margarita Salt Caramel. Hmm...might have to buy a box if I see them somewhere.

    As I was writing this post, I read the ingredient list of the Bissinger's caramels. Not a drop of Chardonnay to be found. Odd. So I looked on their website:
    For those classic cravings for both salty and sweet, these melt-in-your mouth caramels are dusted with gourmet salt crystals that have been cold smoked with Chardonnay oak chips to preserve the mineral content and natural flavor.

    No wonder I didn't taste any Chardonnay!

    About the margarita salt caramels it says:
    Beneath shimmering pink Himalayan salt crystals that are rich with healthful minerals, these sophisticated caramels deliver a hint of citrus wrapped in smooth milk chocolate.
  • Post #42 - February 12th, 2007, 12:39 pm
    Post #42 - February 12th, 2007, 12:39 pm Post #42 - February 12th, 2007, 12:39 pm
    Since reading this thread, I've made several batches of Fleur de Sel Caramels. My first batch came out very soft so I increased the temperature to 255 which resulted in the perfect texture--chewy but still soft. Yesterday, I tried a recipe for Salted Chocolate Caramels from the December issue of Gourmet magazine.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recip ... ews/236701

    I did not have any of the problems some of the reviewers had. These caramels cook to 255 and are a bit oilier to the touch than the FDSC but got good reviews from my tasters.
  • Post #43 - February 25th, 2007, 9:03 pm
    Post #43 - February 25th, 2007, 9:03 pm Post #43 - February 25th, 2007, 9:03 pm
    I found these Caramels with Fleur De Sel that are made by the Chicago company, Das Foods. They are called Das Caramelini and they come in four flavors: classic with lavender, chocolate with nuts, orange and honey and lemon and honey. Each caramel is fairly small and each dusted with Fleur De Sel. I bought Orange and Honey flavor and the Chocolate Flavor: they were soft and very delicious! The company's website says that the caramels are made fresh every week.
    here is their website www.dasfoods.com
  • Post #44 - March 8th, 2007, 3:54 pm
    Post #44 - March 8th, 2007, 3:54 pm Post #44 - March 8th, 2007, 3:54 pm
    I also recently tried the salt caramels from Das Foods and recommend them highly--I made my four caramels (I shared) last for two weeks! Now they are merely a wonderful, lingering memory.

    FYI: Das Foods is actually a Highland Park artisanal salt company, hence the high quality of salt.
  • Post #45 - March 8th, 2007, 5:22 pm
    Post #45 - March 8th, 2007, 5:22 pm Post #45 - March 8th, 2007, 5:22 pm
    Welcome to LTHforum Stephanie!

    I never heard of Das Foods nor did I know they were located in Highland Park. Couldn't find a street address, though I did find their website: http://www.dasfoods.com/index.asp

    This is quite interesting. Thanks for highlighting it.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #46 - April 30th, 2009, 2:58 pm
    Post #46 - April 30th, 2009, 2:58 pm Post #46 - April 30th, 2009, 2:58 pm
    Any updates on suggestions on this?
  • Post #47 - April 30th, 2009, 3:22 pm
    Post #47 - April 30th, 2009, 3:22 pm Post #47 - April 30th, 2009, 3:22 pm
    Trader Joe's, at least the River North & Lincoln Park locations, still have Fleur de Sel caramels in stock (or at least they did on Sunday).

    Around the holidays Trader Joe's sells chocolate-covered fleur de sel caramels, where the caramel filling is smooth & gooey, and each piece has big chunks of salt sprinkled on top...they're amazing. I tried to recreate this experience with the plain fleur de sel caramels (cut in half...they're too big for dippin' otherwise), some melted chocolate & some sea salt. The flavor was what I was hoping for, but without the smooth-&-gooey aspect, they just weren't the same. Guess I'll have to stock up come winter ;)
  • Post #48 - April 30th, 2009, 3:38 pm
    Post #48 - April 30th, 2009, 3:38 pm Post #48 - April 30th, 2009, 3:38 pm
    Whole Foods seems to always have one or two brands in stock.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #49 - May 1st, 2009, 6:49 am
    Post #49 - May 1st, 2009, 6:49 am Post #49 - May 1st, 2009, 6:49 am
    I tried ones from Katherine Anne and they were good - chocolate covered.

    http://www.katherine-anne.com/

    They are made here in Chicago.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
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  • Post #50 - May 1st, 2009, 7:50 am
    Post #50 - May 1st, 2009, 7:50 am Post #50 - May 1st, 2009, 7:50 am
    Lauren at Rich Chocolates (part of Sweet Collective) makes really good honey sea salt caramels that are a steal at $0.50 each. She also makes Turtles with (I think) the same caramel and sea salt sprinkled on top. The turtles are only available occasionally, so if there are some available when you're there, definitely get them.

    Sweet Collective
    5333 N. Lincoln Ave
    Chicago IL 60625
    773.293.0888
  • Post #51 - May 2nd, 2009, 9:07 pm
    Post #51 - May 2nd, 2009, 9:07 pm Post #51 - May 2nd, 2009, 9:07 pm
    the best salt caramels I have ever had can be purchased for a reasonable price (you can even taste one for free!) at the candy jar counter at Fox and Obel. I can't remember the name of the maker, but they are from the west coast (maybe Oregon?) and they are wonderful. The company also makes plain and maybe chocolate and you can taste any of them.
  • Post #52 - May 5th, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Post #52 - May 5th, 2009, 1:33 pm Post #52 - May 5th, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Because of this thread, I bought a box of fleur de sel caramels at Whole Foods. Upon putting one in my mouth, I discovered it was the "hard" kind of caramel, fraught with filling-extracting danger. It did soften in my mouth after a bit, though, and at that point it felt somewhat safer to chew.

    So my question: Is the filling-extracting thing something that comes with the salt caramel territory? Is the addition of salt what turns the caramel hard? Or is the hardness just a feature of the particular ones I bought, and "salt caramel" and "soft caramel" are not antonyms?
  • Post #53 - May 5th, 2009, 1:39 pm
    Post #53 - May 5th, 2009, 1:39 pm Post #53 - May 5th, 2009, 1:39 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Because of this thread, I bought a box of fleur de sel caramels at Whole Foods. Upon putting one in my mouth, I discovered it was the "hard" kind of caramel, fraught with filling-extracting danger. It did soften in my mouth after a bit, though, and at that point it felt somewhat safer to chew.

    So my question: Is the filling-extracting thing something that comes with the salt caramel territory? Is the addition of salt what turns the caramel hard? Or is the hardness just a feature of the particular ones I bought, and "salt caramel" and "soft caramel" are not antonyms?


    There are soft salt caramels. It has nothing to do with the salt. It has to do with the cooking process of the caramel, specifically to what temperature the sugar is heated.
  • Post #54 - May 5th, 2009, 2:02 pm
    Post #54 - May 5th, 2009, 2:02 pm Post #54 - May 5th, 2009, 2:02 pm
    eatchicago wrote:There are soft salt caramels. It has nothing to do with the salt. It has to do with the cooking process of the caramel, specifically to what temperature the sugar is heated.

    Thanks, Michael. Are most of the salt caramels discussed here, with the exception of the Whole Foods store brand, soft?
  • Post #55 - May 5th, 2009, 2:24 pm
    Post #55 - May 5th, 2009, 2:24 pm Post #55 - May 5th, 2009, 2:24 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Thanks, Michael. Are most of the salt caramels discussed here, with the exception of the Whole Foods store brand, soft?


    The Trader Joe's "Fleur de Sel Caramels" (in the round wooden box, available year-round) are definitely in the hard, chewy, filling-pulling category. Their chocolate-coated fleur de sel caramels (in the rectangular cardboard box & only available around the winter holidays) are in the soft, oozing, dental-work-safe category.
  • Post #56 - May 5th, 2009, 3:11 pm
    Post #56 - May 5th, 2009, 3:11 pm Post #56 - May 5th, 2009, 3:11 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Are most of the salt caramels discussed here, with the exception of the Whole Foods store brand, soft?

    The Rich Chocolates/Sweet Collective caramels are of the soft variety. They do harden a good bit into the more filling-pulling variety if you forget them in the back of your cupboard for a few months. This makes me wonder if freshness is a factor in the texture of any of the more commercial brands.
  • Post #57 - May 5th, 2009, 3:15 pm
    Post #57 - May 5th, 2009, 3:15 pm Post #57 - May 5th, 2009, 3:15 pm
    Long Grove confectionery often carries them at their outleti in Buffalo Grove- coated in chocolate and tossed with just the right amount of salt...
    very reasonable and very yummy.
    They might have them in regular stores too, but I'm an outlet girl myself....
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #58 - May 5th, 2009, 3:36 pm
    Post #58 - May 5th, 2009, 3:36 pm Post #58 - May 5th, 2009, 3:36 pm
    Frango makes 'em. The Macy's in Woodfield has them but I've yet to try them. I bought a box of those and a box of Pomegranate Pistachio Frangos for $9 (they're having a 50% off sale).
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #59 - May 5th, 2009, 3:55 pm
    Post #59 - May 5th, 2009, 3:55 pm Post #59 - May 5th, 2009, 3:55 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Because of this thread, I bought a box of fleur de sel caramels at Whole Foods. Upon putting one in my mouth, I discovered it was the "hard" kind of caramel, fraught with filling-extracting danger. It did soften in my mouth after a bit, though, and at that point it felt somewhat safer to chew.

    So my question: Is the filling-extracting thing something that comes with the salt caramel territory? Is the addition of salt what turns the caramel hard? Or is the hardness just a feature of the particular ones I bought, and "salt caramel" and "soft caramel" are not antonyms?


    In general, the mass-produced salt caramels seem to be harder/chewier. I'm not sure whether this has to do with the age, freshness, shelf-life or production methods. The exception seems to be chocolate-coated caramels (which, since starting this thread several years ago, I've come to prefer). For example, I stock up on Trader Joe's chocolate salt caramels during the holiday season, and the caramel centers stay soft for several months. (I had one this week, and it wouldn't cause you to worry about your fillings.)

    Pick up a salt caramel from Das Foods, a local manufacturer. You'll find them at Treasure Island, Whole Foods (I think), Binney's, etc. You'll find them to be much softer (and, IMHO, a better salt-to-sweet ratio than the more mass-produced caramels).
  • Post #60 - May 6th, 2009, 1:11 pm
    Post #60 - May 6th, 2009, 1:11 pm Post #60 - May 6th, 2009, 1:11 pm
    I'm also a fan of the Das caramels. I've ordered direct from the company with no problems and picked them up at Sam's Wines & Spirits.

    Sam's Wines & Spirits in Highland Park currently has the classic Das caramels (salt).

    The lincoln park store is out right now, but said they have Das caramel lollipops! Assorted flavors - classic/salt, maple/bacon and a few others. Can't wait to give those a try!

    Caramels & lollipops also available at Green Grocer Chicago (1402 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642; (312) 624-9508)

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