Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Salted Caramel Comparison

A couple of years ago, Hubs bought me a box of salted caramels. I fell in love. With Hubs again, of course (every day) but also with the salted caramels. That twang of salt contrasted with the sweet of the chocolate and caramel. Delicious!

These coveted confections are only available during the Christmas season, which is unfortunate, because after that first taste (given as a Christmas gift) ... they were gone. GONE. I had to wait until December rolled around again.I discovered some at Sam's Club and picked myself up a box. Hubs found a package at Costco and purchased them for me to try.

I encouraged him to buy more of the Costco brand ... they were the least expensive.
Oh, I indulged!
I tried to limit myself to 2-3 per day.
I set one package aside and gave it to myself for Mother's Day.

This year, we were shopping together at Costco when ... there they were. Sea Salt Caramels. I bought one package (silly me, ONE?) Afterward I told Hubs he should go back and buy five more (each of the boys could give me one for Christmas) ... or even TWELVE more, and I could have one per month! The expiration usually does extend until the following season.

Grayson decided on diversity for Christmas. I got one of the Costco brand, one of the Williams Sonoma brand (this had been the original one I received years ago), and another from Trader Joes. How would they compare?  Here are my reflections ... now that they are all gone (sob).

  • Sanders (Costco): These are the least expensive option (which is actually appealing to me). The packaging is not nearly as pretty as when they are boxed, but they still tasted good. They were a bit thinner than any of the other brands. Milk chocolate coating only.
  • Maxfield (SamsClub): I can't remember how many caramels were in a box ... 24? It was one pound, and I'm thinking it cost around $10 (don't quote me!) These were packaged prettily, with Christmas decor. There were both dark chocolate and milk chocolate covered caramels in each box. I'm not a fan of dark chocolate myself, but I enjoyed both, not really even being able to tell much of a difference. These were thicker than the Costco caramels, although a maybe slightly smaller square. The caramel was a bit more solid than the Costco brand.
  • Willams Sonoma: These were fairly similar to the Sams brand, although I didn't try the two back to back. The caramel was quite solid. Milk chocolate covering. The salt crystals were smaller, more fine than the other crystals. The cost? $30 for 16 candies! That's almost $2 a piece. I almost can't even enjoy them at that price ... almost. 
  • Trader Joes: This brand was a new to me this year. They were quite unique too. Still salted caramels to be sure, but they definitely were different. The caramel inside was completely soft, it would ooze out when biting. The chocolate here was more of a hard shell. I almost felt like it had been formed first, and the caramel inserted inside (whereas the others seemed more like a solid caramel dipped in chocolate for the coating). The chocolate covering was dark chocolate, and again, while I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, I was a fan of these. The salt. Wow. Huge crystals (check out the picture up top!) Really too big and overpowering ... but, I have to say I liked it. It was like a little chocolate drizzle had been added to the top, and that was what the salt adhered to. Often, when taking a bite, the hardened drizzle and salt would pop off and I'd have to pick it up and manually stick it back into the caramel for my next bite. A girl has gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? I'm not sure what the cost per box/chocolate was here ... and maybe it's better I don't know, as I do think I'd like to be spoiled with these ones again.
Farewell my sweet chocolate covered salted caramels ... until next year.

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