Sweet and Salty Desserts

Salt isn’t just for caramels: We like the balance it brings to chocolate, roasted peaches, olive oil cake, and more. Here are 12 of our favorite salt-accented desserts.

Roasted Peaches in Bourbon Syrup with Smoked Salt

In his cookbook Salted, Mark Bitterman writes of this peach, cinnamon, and salt recipe: “Your first bite will expand the boundaries of sensation, separating your mouth from the rest of your body, and you’ll be feeling spiciness in the warmth of your hands and smokiness in the tingling of your toes.” We agree.

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

A heady mixture of olive oil and preserved oranges flavors this moist, dense Sicilian dessert.

Salted Caramels

Fleur de sel mimics crunchy ice crystals atop these chewy bites of vanilla caramel.
Smooth, grassy, and slightly savory, this rich olive oil gelato makes for an elegant dessert—we love it topped with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Chocolate Caramel Tart

When making this dessert (from Brooklyn’s Marlow & Sons), we found that darker, Dutch-process cocoa powder makes for a more flavorful, cookie-like crust. See the recipe for Chocolate Caramel Tart »

Punitions (French Shortbread Cookies)

Use a good salted butter with a high butterfat content, such as Kerrygold, to make these shortbread cookies. See the recipe for Punitions »

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Nougat Squares

These decadent candies taste best with a pinch of sea salt sprinkled on top.

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Buttery shortbread meets gooey caramel meets salty pretzels in cookie bar form. We love that the caramel calls for sugar, honey, and maple syrup; it creates a multifaceted sweetness that pairs beautifully with the pretzel’s salt.

Butter Turtles

This recipe is from Food Editor Ben Mims, and was adapted from an old Southern Living recipe. The combination of salty nuts, sweet, buttery shortbread, and dark chocolate will have anyone hooked.
Better Nutters

Apricot Tarts with Pistachios

Lightly sweetened apricots are baked quickly in a simple short-bread crust for these rustic tarts, which are garnished with vibrant green pistachios and fleur de sel. Other stone fruits, like plums and peaches, will work just as well.