Making caramel is a kind of alchemy: sugar transforms as it colors into something altogether deeper and more flavorful, still sweet but with a hint of bitterness. These 22 recipes use caramel to full advantage, from chewy candies to creamy sauces that are perfect drizzled on ice cream.
Rose’s Famous Caramel Cake
This buttery cake slathered with rich caramel icing has earned local fame on Chicago’s South Side—it’s one of our favorites to make for special occasions.
This sweet riff on the Indian yogurt drinks known as lassis comes from Lingaraj Lassi, a popular refreshment stand in Bhubaneshwar in the east Indian state of Odisha. Its honeyed taste and caramel hue come from the sugars in the milk, which caramelize as the milk reduces, deepening and intensifying it in color and flavor.
A cinnamon-spiced sauce of butter and melted caramel candies poured over apples makes a wonderfully sweet, gooey pie filling.
Mini caramels flavored with almond, orange zest, and syrup make simple, delicious treats (and wonderful gifts).
Lavender Earl Grey Caramel
Lavender and Earl Grey tea lend this caramel sauce a citrusy, floral note—serve it warm on top of ice cream.
Chewy caramel topped with crushed peppermint candies is one of many versions of kola, a kind of semisoft toffee adored all over Sweden.
Creamy Coconut Caramel Corn
A smooth sauce made from sweetened condensed milk finds a textural counterpoint in nutty toasted coconut atop classic caramel corn.
Buttery layer cake draped in caramel fudge, with its over-the-top grandeur and unapologetic sweetness, is a Southern classic.
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.
Literally named “crunch in the mouth,” croquembouche is an edible monument of caramelized pastry.
Caramel Apples with Nuts
What could be better than gooey, delicious caramel-coated apples? Gooey, delicious caramel-coated apples with nuts.