Remember when salted caramel was considered a culinary novelty? What about when bacon chocolate chip cookies were avant-garde? With maple bacon cupcakes and salted caramel milkshakes now on the menu, it’s easy to forget that not long ago sprinkling sea salt over anything sweet was a little bit brave.
If you’re daydreaming about Pineapple Upside Cake with Hawaiian Sea Salt right about now, you’re not alone — we are too. It’s summer and we’re hooked on the whole sweet and savory thing ourselves. In fact, just thinking about all the clever and complex summer pairings that have yet to make it mainstream has our sweet (and salty) tooths going AWOL.
Hungry for answers, we caught up with Pastry Chef Christina Lee of NYC’s Recette to uncover a few off-the-beaten path ideas for salt-ifying popular summer desserts.
5 Salty Sweet Pairings for the Summer:
- Sweet summer corn can be roasted or grilled and tossed with a little sugar syrup and used as a topping for ice cream. Try: Michael Symon’s Sweet Corn Ice Cream
- Madras curry powder is a great addition to tropical fruits such as Mangoes and Pineapples to make homemade ice pops or sorbets. Add approximately 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder per quart of juice or adjust to taste. Try: Bal’s Curry and Mint Ice Cream or Yigit’s Madras Coconut Cookies
- Herbs such as thyme and tarragon are great additions to creamy desserts. The fresh herbs can be infused into cream or processed with sugar and added to any custard or ice cream base. Try: Plum Upside -Down Cake with Thyme, Lemon and Fennel
- Cayenne or Ancho chili powder can be added to brownies or chocolate cakes to balance out the sweetness and enhance the flavors of milk to darker chocolates. Add according to your taste for spice but 1 Tablespoon of cayenne to a standard recipe should give it a little kick that you’re looking for. Try: Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies or Chocolate Chile Cake
- Smoke is an interesting element that helps give depth to many sweets. Spruce up your next sundae by sprinkling smoked salt over the caramel sauce, or sprinkle smoked salt over grilled pound cake before using it in a summer fruit trifle or parfait. Try: Dark Chocolate Souffle with Smoked Salt
More Salty Sweets and Bacon Treats:
Kelsey’s Salted Caramel Sauce
Candied Bacon and Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Salted Caramel Almond Thumbprint Cookies
McIntosh Maple Crumble with Candied Bacon
Salted Caramel Popcorn Balls
Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream
Salted Caramel Apple Pie