Salted caramel desserts have swept through restaurants around the country; they may be the chocolate lava cake of the current decade. This union of opposing senses has achieved a near-ubiquitous presence because a little sodium seems to balance a dessert that might have otherwise seemed too sweet. Next up: applying the salted caramel trick to beverages.
Ever eager to experiment with its classic Chillatta formula, Cinnabon is rolling out its Salted Caramel Chillatta this month in conjunction with its new Salted Caramel Center of the Roll. The recipe's pretty short: just a blend of ice and salted-caramel-flavored sweet cream. Top it off with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel, and a sprinkling of salt and you're good to go.
We've had mixed feelings about Cinnabon's previous forays into uncharted Chillatta waters, but the Salted Caramel Chillatta immediately separates itself from its predecessors. While both the Oreo Mint and Peanut Butter Cup Chillattas suffered from a poor water-to-cream ratio, the Salted Caramel Chillatta achieves a near-perfect balance that's neither too heavy nor too thin. To be sure, these are not intended to be thick, stick-to-your-ribs milkshakes, but rather refreshing beverages meant to accompany rich desserts, and the Salted Caramel Chillatta is the first of these limited-edition drinks that I'd happily order again, with or without a cinnamon bun.
The caramel flavor comes through quite nicely, with just a hint of salt on the back end that lingers a second or two after every sip. I had no trouble draining my 16-ounce cup in just a few minutes.
The Salted Caramel Chillatta is one experiment the chain can be proud of, and I hope it finds a permanent place on their menu. Currently, it's set to disappear from the roster on November 3, so if its sounds like something you'd enjoy, get thee to a Cinnabon and give it a whirl. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Pacific Northwest-based writer, musician, and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. You can follow him at @ThisIsPizza on Twitter. He is currently searching for the recipe for Boneyard Beer's RPM IPA, so if you have a lead, get in touch!