CC Made Caramels: A Wide-Ranging Taste Test
Artists pursue all avenues, and for Cassandra Chen, the road of choice is caramel. Chen's San Anselmo-based CC Made Artisanal Caramel produces caramel sauce, individual caramels, and caramel corn, all in small batches, and all by hand. It specializes in a milder set of flavors than the in-your-face nature of traditional candy caramels. The combination brings a "grown up" distinction to some classic childhood treats.
Here's what we tasted when we sampled CC Made's treats.
An initial flavor like high-end Crunch 'n Munch is followed by a building hit of spice. A bit light on almonds, but when you hit one the combination of tastes is memorable. The heat stays long past the sweetness -- a treat and also a trick, if you don't tell your friends what to expect.
The caramel corn comes off as a bit less sweet than in the spiced almond mix. The pistachio flavor comes through lightly on the corn even when you don't bite into a pistachio. Since the base ingredients are the same in each mix, either the spice of the pistachio intensifies the sweetness or the variance is due to CC Made's small-batch methods.
Mild, mellow and pleasant. The caramel component builds a bit as you chew, bringing the burnt edge of sugar in the pan forward. Soft in texture, mild in flavor.