The Sweet-Heat Flavor Combo To Take Your Desserts To An Irresistible New Level

Sugar and spice may be starkly different, but it's exactly this contrast that makes them such a dynamic duo. Creating a sense of balance, these two elements of taste also have a way of amplifying the complexity of a dish, especially when it comes to one-note desserts. Even if you're already accustomed to experimenting with sweet-heat pairings such as honey infused with habaneros or milk chocolate laced with chili, there's another decadently piquant combo that can drastically elevate an uninspired dessert — caramel and sriracha

Beyond its predominant sweetness, caramel has a buttery richness that makes it a fabulous match for zestier ingredients like spice, particularly in the form of hot sauce. While you can easily experiment with any number of peppery condiments, caramel meets its match with sriracha. Tangy and funky, it has a savory edge that can actually complement the umami undertones of a well-browned caramel. If this sounds intriguing, it's time to round up your ingredients and saucepans and get to work.

Making sriracha caramel is easier than it sounds

Working sriracha into a caramel sauce is a matter of concocting a velvety mixture of butter, sugar, and cream. Following the recipe for a basic caramel, the sweet condiment can easily be customized with a hint of spice. Just add sriracha — about a tablespoon for every cup of caramel — to the warm sauce before it cools completely. To save time, you can also use store-bought caramel, so long as you warm it slightly before folding it in the hot sauce. 

Once the sriracha-laced caramel has cooled, it's time to put the condiment to good use. How, you ask? Much like traditional caramel, this fiery version can be drizzled on almost any sweet treat imaginable. Use it to transform one-dimensional desserts like a scoop of ice cream or grilled fruit kebabs. You can also use it to upgrade boring tarts, pralines, thumbprint cookies, and milkshakes. Or try playing on the sauce's piquant tang to cut through the richness of ultra-fudgy brownies or creamy cheesecake. With so many creative ways to use this delicious vibrant sriracha caramel, the sweet-heat duo holds endless potential to enhance even the most drab of desserts.