This week’s Friday Faves are all about salted caramel. Let me start by saying my obsession with salted caramel is nothing new (my boyfriend calls 2012 the year of salted caramel for a reason), but I sort of overdid it and had to take a long break. I cheated with dulce de leche a few months ago for these Cinco de Mayo Cinnamon Cupcakes, but there’s something about the salt that drives me wild.
I never considered myself a caramel person until I tried these fleur de sal macarons from La Provence Cafe & Bakery in Beverly Hills. I now work LITERALLY a block away from this bakery, so it takes all of my will power to not go there every day and have a macaron. Or two. A few weeks ago I went in to buy a macaron for myself, and a surprise macaron for my boyfriend… and ended up eating both of them, shamefully, as soon as I got home. Sorry, Alexei!
For the past two weeks, various high-end and reputable restaurants in Los Angeles have been participating in the bi-annual DineLA Restaurant Week (now thankfully two weeks). These restaurants offer pre-fix menus of their best dishes for lunch and dinner at an affordable price. This time around I went to two restaurants for dinner: BLD on Beverly, and Hostaria del Piccolo in Venice. Both restaurants had salted caramel desserts on the menu, and thus my obsession was reawakened. You can still catch one more night of DineLA, or check out the desserts another time. Bring on the salt!
(Left: Salt and pepper caramel donuts at BLD; Right: Vanilla cream puffs with salted caramel sauce.)
2. Milk & Honey’s Caramel Cake
If there ever were a perfect birthday cake, this might be it. This bad boy has caramel mascarpone buttercream, salted carom sauce, and toffee almond crunch. This is not for the caramel novice, oh no. This is for the hardcore caramel lovers. Challenge accepted.
3. The Little Epicurean’s Sea Salt Caramel Macarons
Macarons are still on my list of “foods that scare me.” I’m a little intimidated by all the warnings that french macarons are much, much harder than they look. That doesn’t mean I won’t try them someday, though! From the looks of it, The Little Epicurean has that fluff to crunch ratio down.
4. Design Bake Run’s Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Simple and sweet. Sometimes there’s nothing like a really great cupcake. With a healthy dollop of salted caramel frosting AND sauce, these cupcakes just rose to the top of my To Do list. Do you think my coworkers would love me if I made these and brought them into work?
5. Roxana’s Home Baking’s Salted Caramel Blondies
Oh, blondies. I had a mild love affair with you in college. You were all I wanted to bake. Over the years, we’ve fallen out of touch (as good friends sometimes do), but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love you! I like your new caramel sauce, btw. Looks great on you.