What Makes a Great Chewy Caramel?

Chewy caramels can stir up nostalgia in many of us! The caramel flavor and warm buttery notes bring fond memories back to life. High quality chewy caramels are sweet but not cloying. They blend cooked sugar notes with some dairy flavor. They are chewy but they are not hard to eat. Specifically, The candies have a caramel brown color and may be shiny. A caramel note from cooked sugar, dominates the aroma and flavor profile. There are supporting dairy notes such as butter or cream. Some vanilla may be present. Sweetness is the dominating flavor and may be accented with some salt. There may be bitter but no sourness. Chewy caramels have a firm bite that dissolve at a moderate rate when masticated. There is slight adhesion but they should not stick to the teeth so much that chewing becomes difficult. And though there may be some graininess, the caramels have a creamy consistency when chewed.

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Tasting terms

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • cloying

    Disgust or sicken (someone) with an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment.

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.