What do you do when you're a candy maker and you also happen to like your drink? If you're Lisa and Gretchen Bender, aka the Salty Sisters, you do a little alchemy and, voila, come up with a line of boozy caramel sauces.
Saucy Sisters joined the Sea Salt Candy Company line up of sweet and salty toffees and caramels months ago. Where was I? Avoiding sugary treats I'd get addicted to. But there I was at the Fishermen's Farmers Market last week. And there was Lisa Bender, who as the magician behind the confections, is usually in the kitchen but this week was taking care of sales. We got to talking. I got to tasting. And, well, I bought two of the five varieties of sauces they're selling.
Start your tasting journey with their Rum Away with Me. The duo gets their Marley on with a blend of rum, salt, and coconut immersed in a deeply rich caramel, creating a reggae spirit that sings over French vanilla ice cream, sautéed plantains, and apple pie.
Then go south of the border with Tequila!, a spicy concoction that will make you rethink the notion that caramel is meant to go down smooth and easy. The Benders don't just bring it on with the tequila, but get you punch drunk with the addition of habanero oil and chili flakes. This caramel doesn't have to be relegated to dessert. Lisa suggests using it as a glaze on pork ribs, chicken, or salmon.
My favorite, though, is the Frisky Whiskey Boozy Sauce. Caramel and whiskey were destined for one another. It's simplicity on steroids and a dreamy sauce that cries out for nothing more than a spoon and a dark closet to hide in while you take your licks. This is one of the two I bought.
Not all of the sauces are liquored up. There's a PG line of Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel sauce I also took home with me. Dark cocoa and a hint of salt make this sauce decadent without being cloyingly sweet. Dip slices of pears and apples into it. Drizzle it over pound cake. Pour over ice cream. Add some to your coffee.
Also in the PG line up is Virgin Vanilla Bean. So purely rich and buttery, this, too, deserves the spoon treatment. Or twirl it around with the chocolate over ice cream for a black and white sundae. Spread it over toast. Swizzle it over a brownie.
The nine-ounce jars can be found at the Little Italy Mercato, Hillcrest Farmers Market, and Fishermen's Farmers Market as well as online.