Caramel, caramelized sugar, typically combined with dairy, is terrific on its own, but a salty flourish can often elevate the genre, contributing a savory hit that balances each bite. Los Angeles chefs are clearly infatuated with salted caramel, considering the preponderance of the combo. Learn about 15 of my favorite salted caramel sweets in L.A.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. Amor Y Tacos Churros w/Salted Caramel ($5.50)
Chef Thomas Ortega and business partner Todd Tsujioka continue to breathe culinary life into a Cerritos strip mall with colorful décor and bold flavored food. Regardless of what you order, finish with the churros, which have good give and benefit from a light hand with cinnamon sugar. Salted caramel dipping sauce completes the equation.
2. Bouchon Bakery Salted Caramel Macaron ($3.50) [CLOSED]
For textbook examples of French classics, people flock to the sweet outpost from Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, which conveniently resides at the entrance to/exit from the sprawling Beverly Hills bistro. Plenty of pastel colored macarons are in the case, but be sure to look for the tan sandwich with brown filling. That’s the salted caramel macaron, which features pleasantly chewy cookies, crafted with Italian meringue and caramel-spiked almond paste. The filling consists of dark, buttery caramel finished with fleur de sel.
3. Cafe Rockenwagner Salted Caramel Eclair ($6) [CLOSED]
Cesar Bermudez Cifuentes, the opening pastry chef at Rockenwagner’s Brentwood outpost, has since decamped for Spain, but he’s left behind a sweet and savory legacy in the form of a salted caramel eclair with cookie dough coat and a smattering of chocolate “crunchy balls.”
4. Carmela Ice Cream Salted Caramel Ice Cream ($3.75 – $6.75)
The name of Jessica Mortarotti and Zachary Cox’s shop qualifies as an anagram for caramel, so their salted ice cream better be great, and it is. Whether their ice cream arrives in a cup, sandwich or waffle cup (a cup-cone hybrid that resembles a strutting peacock), expect spectacular salted caramel ice cream. Yes, I understand just about every premium ice cream parlor serves salted ice cream at this point, but Carmela’s innate flavor is the most pronounced.
5. Coffee Commissary Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treat ($3)
Coffee Commissary’s Burbank branch is the home base for company pastry chef Naomi Shim, who fuels pastry cases at all of Tyler King’s locations. Her Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treat is simplicity in square form, plastic wrapped and easy to add at the register. Salted caramel’s dark color and smoky flavor permeate the puffed rice kernels.