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Whether chewy or hard, caramel candy is a favorite sweet of many different people. Caramel sweets are made by heating different kinds of sugar until they are golden brown and "caramelized." Caramel candy can be enjoyed alone or used in various recipes, such as caramel apples or puddings.
A mixture of milk or cream, sugar, and butter is the general recipe for soft, chewy caramel candies. Many varieties of sugar can be used to create the treat. Also known as cream caramel or milk caramel, it can be hardened or sold in its dense, chewy form. Most candies that feature caramel can be referred to as caramel candies.
Depending up on its use, caramel candy can come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. Caramel used in baking or other forms of cooking is often sold in the form of small squares or thin sheets that are simple to heat and incorporate into recipes. Large, chunky blocks of the candy are also available for dunking items, such as apples, or for melting into confections such as fondue. After melting caramel in a pan, it can also be slightly cooled before being used to top other desserts, such as ice cream or the popular Mexican custard known as flan.
Caramel candy may also be purchased already treated with other components, such as pecans or mixed-in chocolate. This can then be enjoyed as a treat alone or incorporated into recipes. Many different candies feature a caramel flavor. Creamy praline candies, popular in Southern United States and Europe, are made up of caramelized sugar, usually in the form of a syrup, and nuts. Chewy nougat bars and other nougat-based candies often incorporate caramel as well.
Popular brittle candies, such as peanut brittle, are made with caramel candy. One of the most common ways to enjoy caramel candy is to eat it in its individually wrapped form. Boxes of chocolates and chocolate candy bars may sometimes contain caramel centers. Other rich, chewy caramel candies are rolled and filled with other tasty center fillings, such as raspberry or vanilla cream. Crunchy, hard chocolate candies are a popular addition to many peoples' candy dishes at home.
All of these forms of caramel can also be melted down for culinary purposes if desired. Chefs often incorporate caramel candy within fine dining cuisine. A very popular dessert known as crème brûlée, or burnt cream, consists of a sweet vanilla custard topped with a hardened layer of cold caramel. Cakes, streusel recipes, and many other tasty dessert cart treats also feature caramel candy. The sweet can also be incorporated into both alcoholic and nonalcoholic flavored beverages, such as coffee-based cocktails or caramel apple martinis.