Sunday, August 7, 2011

Homemade caramel sauce taste testing

When one has the desire to make caramel sauce, but isn't sure which recipe to use, what does one do?  In our case, we made two recipes and performed a taste test.  Competing head to head was the Pioneer Woman's Easy Caramel Sauce versus Kitten's Easy Caramel Sauce from Kittencal's Kitchen.  The recipes themselves can be found on the respective websites, so we won't repeat them here, but simply report our impressions.

Here's a shot of three of our four judges studiously comparing each sample, spoonful by spoonful by spoonful.  It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it!

Pioneer Woman's sauce has a rich, inviting appearance and a creamy, smooth texture.  We were a bit startled by the amount of vanilla specified in the recipe, so we only used 2/3 of the 1 tablespoon recommended.  We realize that means we really didn't test the Pioneer Woman's recipe, but we felt justified in our decision when the final product had a strong vanilla flavor, even after reducing that ingredient.  Brown sugar was also easily identified,  and although sweeter than its competition, this sauce was hard to stop eating.

Kitten's caramel sauce had a less intense appearance that reminded me of the caramel candies my aunt used to make for her nieces and nephews.  This sauce was also smooth and creamy, and we found its flavor more balanced and subtle than the flavor of its foe.  This sauce was also addictive, and was easy to consume by the spoonful.  The majority of the judges preferred this sauce when tasted by itself.

How often does one eat caramel sauce by itself without ice cream as a carrier food?  Okay, maybe that's not a good question.  Nonetheless, I thought comparing the sauces on ice cream might be a more valid test of the true worth of each one.  When applied liberally to vanilla ice cream, Kitten's sauce continues to outshine its competitor.  Pioneer Woman's sauce seemed to be easily lost in the ice cream, not contributing as much to the sundae.  Kitten's sauce complimented the ice cream well, and added a complexity to the total package as one would expect a good ice cream topping to do.

We have enjoyed several blog posts and recipes from the Pioneer Woman in the past, and we think she has a very tasty caramel sauce, but her recipe came in second in this comparison.  Kittencal has a better balanced sauce, in our opinion, one that stands well on its own, and enhances any bowl of vanilla ice cream.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my...I could really go for some fresh Caramel Sauces YUM!!!!!