While making desserts, caramel becomes an essential part of our required ingredients sometimes. But, if you suddenly discover there is no caramel left in your kitchen while processing dessert, then most probably you would think of an available alternative that is quite similar to it, in terms of taste and flavor.
Other times, it’s just that you get bored with the same food and you want something different to feed your sugary appetite. We understand your need and that’s why we have come up with this article to show you what can be the probable substitute for caramel.
Available Alternatives for Caramel
Caramel is basically a soft, chewy version of granulated white sugar that many people love to eat with different foods and use to make desserts. This dark orange sweet confectionary comes in 2 different forms- wet caramel and dry caramel. Among all types of caramel, caramel salt is mostly popular.
If you are looking for alternative options, then there are not many options to go with. Among very few of them, butterscotch, toffee, and dulce de leche are the prominent ones. They are all sugary items to make your day sweet and yummy but they do have some significant differences at the same time.
Butterscotch could be a great substitute for caramel as it gives you almost the same kind of taste and flavor as you need for a certain sweet food-making purpose. Unlike caramel, butterscotch is made with brown sugar instead of white sugar.
As you can already get it from the name, to make this sweet confectionery, butter is needed to mix with sugar. While making butterscotch, melted butter and sugar mixture needs to be added with cream and boiled up to the point when it reaches optimal temperature. Thus, butterscotch gets ready to give you the ultimate sweet fun.
Sometimes, deeper golden butterscotch is made with brown sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla. This form of butterscotch even looks quite similar to caramel that it gets hard to distinguish between these two options.
Just like caramel, you can use butterscotch to make foods like pudding, dessert sauce, cookies, etc. If you want to add something as an ice cream topping, then you can easily use butterscotch instead of caramel. Butterscotch candies are a bit harder and sweeter than caramel ones, as a candy fan, going with butterscotch won’t disappoint you.
To make your dessert taste more diversified, you can try making butterscotch rice pudding, salted butterscotch blondies, butterscotch chocolate sandwich Cookies, butterscotch Crème Brûlée with caramel corn, butterscotch-glazed coffee shortbread bars, and rich and creamy butterscotch pudding.
Another great alternative of caramel to make your dessert life sweeter could be the use of toffees. Toffees are also like caramel in terms of taste, color, and usage. This golden color sweet ingredient is also made of sugar and it is also used to make different kinds of desserts just like caramel.
The very first difference you might discover is that toffees are not as soft and chewy as caramel. They are quite hard and crunchy, giving you a chocolaty spark when you eat them. Toffees are also made of butter and sugar but they are heated to a higher level than butterscotch.
To make toffees harder and crunchier, they are heated up to 300° F which is called AKA. It refers to the hard crack stage as toffees basically become such after being cooked. One of the basic reasons why toffees get harder is, they have short crystals of sugar; on the other hand, caramel has longer ones.
Due to its crunchiness and brittle-like characteristic, you can make a pair with delicious desserts like apple cake, dates and butterscotch, puddings, sweet potatoes, and cookies as well.
You can also melt the toffee form and turn it into caramel by adding necessary ingredients as well. So, one substance, different forms, that’s how it works. So, if you are looking for a substitute for caramel, then toffees could be great alternatives.
Dulce De Leche
If you are not comfortable with butterscotch or toffees, then going for dulce de leche would be a great choice to make. The meaning of its name is ‘Sweet Milk’, in case you have never heard of it before. This dessert-making Spanish ingredient was first introduced in the 19th century and became quite popular in Latin America later on.
When you look at it, at the first glance, it won’t be that easy to find out the difference between caramel and dulce de leche. Both of them basically offer you quite similar brown color, same taste on chocolates, and cookies. Dulce de leche is a bit thicker and heavier than caramel and their making process is also different.
Dulce de leche is basically made of condensed milk, where it gets heated up until there is a brownish color with a thickness of milk. I guess you already know, condensed milk contains more sugar than regular milk, so when you complete the whole process of making dulce de leche, it becomes a sweet ingredient almost like caramel.
Considering the color, fragrance, and taste of these two options, it can be said that they are interchangeable whenever you want to replace one with the other. So, if you want a substitute for caramel, then dulce de leche can be used perfectly without a doubt.
But, it would be more preferable, when you are making specifically any French or Spanish desserts as it’s their traditional way of making such foods.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is homemade caramel made of?
Homemade caramel is typically made of sugar, heavy cream, butter, and salt. The sugar is melted and caramelized, then combined with the other ingredients to create a sweet and smooth sauce.
Can you turn sugar into caramel?
Yes, you can turn sugar into caramel. This process is called caramelization and it involves melting sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns a golden brown color. As the sugar melts, it breaks down and forms new compounds that give caramel its characteristic flavor and color.
To make caramel, you need to carefully heat sugar in a saucepan until it dissolves and turns amber in color. It’s important to continuously stir the sugar as it melts to ensure it caramelizes evenly and does not burn. Once the desired color is reached, you can add any additional ingredients, such as heavy cream or butter, to make a caramel sauce.
Desserts make the after-meal moments sweeter and happier. And to make your desserts look and taste great, caramel plays a big role in most cases. But, things are not always the same, you might run out of caramel stock all of a sudden or you might need to add something thicker, harder, or crunchier.
No matter what background reason you have, butterscotch, toffee, or dulce de leche, any of them can work as a perfect substitute for caramel without letting you worry about taste, fragrance, and color. They are just like brothers from the same mother.
As a home cook, I am working in the kitchen niche since 2001.
Writing a blog is one of my hobbies. Cooking is my passion and I love to experiment with spices. I hope you will get benefitted after reading my article.