National Caramel Day
It’s sticky, gooey, and oh-so-delicious: try your hand at the deceptively complex process of making caramel, or just enjoy your favorite caramel treats.
National Caramel Day is a special event dedicated to the rich, gooey, tasty substance that is made using the deliciously dark alchemy of the culinary arts. It is known as Caramel, which is in fact born out of the rather exacting process of caramelization.
Now it’s time to learn about and celebrate National Caramel Day!
History of National Caramel Day
Some say that the history of caramel goes back more than a thousand years back to the year 1000 A.D. when the sweet treat was discovered. The name at the time was rather literal, calling it the “kurat al milh”, which means “sweet ball of salt”.
This original version would have been the crunchy type of caramel that was made by crystallizing sugar in boiling water, which is something more like what is known as crunchy toffee today.
Caramel and other treats were enjoyed in the mid-1600s in the Americas, where people were known to have been making hard candies in kettles. Later, caramel developed into a candy that was made not only with sugar, but also included cream or milk, making it a much softer and chewy treat.
By 1886, Lancaster Caramel Company was started by none other than Milton S. Hershey, who would eventually go on to start the Hershey Company, which is one of the most famous American chocolate and candy companies today.
Learning about the history of caramel might also be useful if it involves a bit of understanding about the way that caramel is made. The process for making caramel is deceptively simple, you need merely increase the heat of sugar to a mere 170 °C (340 °F), at which point the sugar breaks down and turns into this much delectable substance with its rich golden color and iconic flavor.
This part is just the start of this process, the beginning of a trek to that which most people think of as ‘Caramel’, that coater of apples and binder of popcorn. Caramel can be used in so many different delightful and delicious treats!
To truly make the type of caramel that most people dearly love, there are a couple of approaches. One is to caramelize the sugar and then add the cream, butter, and vanilla that brings out the flavors that everyone dearly loves. The other process involves adding them all together and then cooking the mixture until the milk caramelizes but not the sugar. This sort of caramel is known as ‘milk caramel’.
Now it’s time to consider how to enjoy and celebrate National Caramel Day!
National Caramel Day Timeline
Caramel is discovered
Likely created by making crystallized sugar in a bowl, caramel is believed to have been discovered by Arabs.
Caramel is made in the Americas
It is believed that hard caramel candies are being made in kettles in the US even before it was a country.
Lancaster Caramel Company begins
A predecessor to the Hershey Company, Lancaster Caramel Company is started in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Caramel apples are born
When Dan Walker of Kraft Foods dips apples into melted caramel, a new and exciting dessert is born.
Salted caramels become popular
French pastry chef Henri le Roux makes a salted butter caramel with crushed nuts.
How to Celebrate National Caramel Day
The best part about National Caramel Day is it gives just about anyone an excuse to put this wonderful treat on anything you can think of!
Share Caramel Treats with Friends
Whatever your favorite form of caramel is, this day is the day that can be celebrated by sharing it with friends, family, and co-workers alike. A fun gift would be to prepare little bags of mixed types of caramel, with little cards in them talking about the history of this delectable treat. Even better, perhaps add in a recipe for them to try making their own caramel treats at home!
Make a Treat Using Caramel
Those who are feeling truly adventurous, can bring in confections of their own creation! Caramel really does go wonderfully with just about anything, so take it upon yourself to whip up a dish of traditional brownies, and you can either mix the caramel in as a marbling, or drizzle it on top and sprinkle it with walnuts for a special treat.
Learn Fun Facts About Caramel
One fun activity for National Caramel Day would be to learn some interesting trivia facts about the candy of the day and then share them with family and friends in honor of the day. Try out these facts for starters:
- Caramel coloring is a dark, bitter liquid that is highly concentrated and bottled for commercial use in drinks such as colas.
- 1960 was an important year in the world of caramel because that’s when the machine was invented that made caramel apples. The machine was invented by Vito Raimondi with the help of his uncle William, whose confectionary shop in Chicago is still the number one machine-dipped caramel apple business.
- Cube-shaped Kraft caramels were first made in the United States in 1933. These are especially popular in the autumn months around Halloween, and they often come with sticks to be used for making caramel apples.
- The caramel has roots in the Latin “calamellus”, which is related to the sugar cane the caramels come from.
Bake Caramel Spice Cupcakes
Those who want something a little lighter, but still having that rich caramel flavor, can create a batch of apple or pumpkin spice cupcakes, top them with a delicious buttercream frosting, and drizzle them with delightful caramel! These rich flavors and smells are reminiscent of the fall and winter holidays, and will inevitably bring a warm cozy feeling to the home while everyone’s mouth rejoices at the deliciously wonderful flavor of caramel.
Make Turtle Cupcakes for Carmel Day
Most people are familiar with Turtle candies, those rich droplets of caramel made with pecans and then dipped in chocolate. These treats are incredibly popular no matter where you go, and here is an opportunity to enjoy a unique twist on them.
For this dish, prepare a traditional chocolate cake batter, whether from scratch or from a boxed cake mix, and pour it into a cupcake tray. The next step is to marbleize in some caramel and pecans, and set the cupcakes in the oven to bake. Once completed, top these little treats off with a dose of vanilla cream frosting, a drizzle of caramel, and a single pecan to finish them off!
Use Caramel as a Topping
Caramel is really a versatile topping, able to go on top of any form of fruit, be they pears, peaches or the traditional apples. Even better is to use this treat as the topping for the ice cream on a banana split.
One other treat that only goes better with caramel is apple pie! Create this by mixing some caramel into the apple filling and then drizzle the top with rich, creamy, delicious caramel sauce. By doing this, that pie will go from ‘All American’ to ‘All Star’ quality. No matter how you choose to celebrate this National Caramel Day, make sure to spread the joy by taking those delectable treats and sharing with others.
National Caramel Day FAQs
When is National Caramel Day?
National Caramel day is celebrated each year on April 5th.
How to make caramel apples?
Caramel apples are easy to make by dipping apples in sauce made from heavy whipping cream and caramel candies.
What is caramel made of?
For National Caramel Day, it’s fun to learn that caramel sauce has only a few ingredients, including sugar, butter and cream, as well as salt, vanilla for flavor.
How to pronounce caramel?
The word caramel comes from the Spanish origins of “caramelo” and is pronounced keh-ruh-muhl.
What is National Caramel Day?
National Caramel Day was created with the idea of celebrating and enjoying everything to do with the sweet, buttery candy that is caramel.