Sweet & Saucy
Chocolate & Caramel Dessert Sauce
Page 1: Overview of Dessert Sauces
CAPSULE REPORT: Created by Jane “Queen of All Things Chocolate” Jones and Erin “High Priestess of Caramel” Jones, a mother-daughter team based out of Colorado, Sweet & Saucy is a company that produces dessert sauces founded on the concept of simple ingredients for a simply enjoyable ice cream eating experience. Buttery caramel and rich chocolate sauces are handcrafted in small batches using quality ingredients. It isn’t at Top Pick Of The Week level (see Somebody’s Mother’s, The King’s Cupboard and Robert Lambert dessert sauces, which are all natural and don’t use corn syrup), but it’s good. The line is certified gluten free. This is Page 1 of a three-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.
What makes one line of dessert sauce better than another? As with most things, it’s the quality of the ingredients. A good caramel sauce should be made of sugar, butter and cream. You can add vanilla or another natural flavoring; but leave out the butter and use water instead, as some sauces do, and it isn’t anywhere near as good.
What goes into a chocolate sauce? The best are made with heavy cream and granulated sugar (organic evaporated cane juice, brown sugar, honey or some combination can be substituted, as can a non-nutritive sweetener like maltitol for sugar-free consumers). Chocolate or cocoa powder is needed, of course—chocolate is better—butter needs to be added if cocoa powder is used and can be added for extra richness with chocolate. And for a more complex flavoring, there’s usually a bit of vanilla (or other flavor) and a few grains of salt; the latter helps to bring up the chocolate flavor.
Corn Syrup: What Does It Do?
But read the labels and you’ll often find corn syrup—not high fructose corn syrup, just regular corn syrup that has existed for many decades. It is glucose or a glucose/fructose mix (such as Karo syrup). In the U.K. it’s known as golden syrup and is the preferred topping for pancakes.
Beyond and apart from HFCS, some writers and consumers rail against the use of regular corn syrup in foods because it’s sneaked in to sweeten everything from bread to soup—places where none of us needs extra sugar (which leads to obesity, diabetes, and makes everything we eat taste sweet).
Corn syrup (as well as HFCS) is a less expensive sweetener and many mass manufacturers use it instead of sugar. Some chocolate and caramel sauce manufacturers use large amounts of it in their formulations. In supermarket dessert sauce brands, it may be the only sweetener, but it’s also found in quite a few specialty brands. You’ll even find recipes in “the best places” that specify 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup corn syrup instead of a full cup of a sugar.
Why Use Corn syrup?
Whether in a home recipe or in a factory production, corn syrup provides fluidity, volume and a softer texture to the dessert sauce. It also helps to prevent graininess and crystallization, especially as the product sits on the shelf or in the fridge (i.e., longer shelf life). The bad news is that it lacks the flavor of sugar. A trained palate can taste the corn syrup in the product. It doesn’t taste as good.
We’ve tasted quite a few specialty dessert sauces that use it. Some we liked, some we didn’t. Sweet & Saucy had the misfortune to arrive the week after we devoured jars and jars of Somebody’s Mother’s dessert sauces—among the best we’ve had in our lives, which don’t use corn syrup. Our immediate reaction to Sweet & Saucy was that we could not abide the corn syrup.
But, we’re not quick to judge. We give things a chance. We tried them the next day, the next day and the next day. And as the memories of the other sauce faded from our palate, we decided that most people would enjoy Sweet & Saucy. All of the non-professionals who came to our premises had a great time eating it.
So if you find a jar, buy it. Chances are, you’ll like it—especially our favorite flavors, which you’ll find on the next page.
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