Crafting dessert ideas for restaurants can be tricky. You want to include exciting choices and stay on top of current trends, but you also need to find ones that fit your brand. One trick to add excitement to your dessert menu is to take consumer-friendly, recognizable dessert items, but give them a little twist.
With that in mind, we have eight quirky, tasty dessert ideas that might just be a perfect fit for your restaurant’s menu.
When it comes to the summertime, nothing quite reminds Americans of the starry nights of summers past than s’mores. But when it comes to serving the tasty graham cracker, marshmallow, chocolate confection in your restaurant, you run into a bit of a problem — half the fun of eating s’mores is roasting the marshmallow and constructing the s’more yourself! Well, that’s where tableside service comes in.
Companies like Sterno have developed clean burning, food safe fuel sources specifically designed to toast marshmallows indoors or outdoors. All you need to do is provide the ingredients and the guests serve themselves! Just a couple words of advice: not every sterno is food safe, so make sure to only offer this dessert using ones meant to cook food over. It’s also important that you properly train your staff (especially the servers, who will be doing the tableside service) how to properly handle these kinds of open flame heat sources and how to properly put them out, too.
The milk and cookie shot
A lot of the recent dessert trends in the food industry have centered around nostalgia. Customers want to be reminded of the food that that make them feel good as a kid, but with a modern twist. Hence milk and cookies. Some restaurants have even played around with their cookie recipe so that they can form it into a working shot glass. Then you pour either straight milk (or some kind of cream-based liquor) into the cookie and serve it to patrons as a shot.
Halvah is a dense, sugary Middle Eastern confection traditionally made from sesame seeds and flavored with vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, or orange. It can be eaten on its own, but many chefs like using shredded or crumbled halvah as a topping on muffins, brownies, donuts, quick breads, and more. Crumbled halvah also makes good mix-in ingredient for quick breads. The flavor is relatively mild, but halvah has a melt-in-your-mouth quality that can entice customers who don’t recognize the ingredient.
A fried-dough pastry with a distinctive shape, churros are popular all over the world in many different cultures. And there are many ways to make them your own. Some variations include dulce de leche, chocolate, guava, and other fruit. They can also be drizzled with chocolate or rolled in cinnamon sugar. You can play off the flavors you already have going on in your menu.
Another take on an iconic childhood favorite, cookie dough tastes delicious, so it just makes sense that restaurants are bringing that nostalgia into their menus with cookie dough dessert ideas. Using egg-free (a.k.a. safe to eat raw) cookie dough recipes, there are whole cafes and dessert bars being built up around the idea of cookie dough as a sundae. If you’re looking for a hip, delicious dessert to add to your brand, seeing cookie dough on your menu will definitely catch the eye of your guests.
Rolled ice cream
A popular Thai street vendor treat, rolled ice cream is starting to make its way to the United States and is delighting customers. A sweet milk ice cream base is poured onto an anti-griddle (which makes things very cold very quickly). A metal scraper or spatula is then used to carefully roll the ice cream off the anti-griddle. From there the rolls are places horizontally in a cup and topped with any of your favorite ice cream toppings. If you already have an anti-griddle at your restaurant, why not try this quirky dessert on your menu?
Deep fried Oreos
Pulling from state fair fare (ha), deep fried Oreos are a fun, funky dessert that can be eaten in just a couple bites. The different textures from the cookie and the softened frosting paired with the batter can be a real table pleaser. Like the s’mores, these are perfect dessert ideas for any restaurant that leans into Americana cuisine but with a twist.
Need more dessert ideas for your restaurant menu that are off the beaten path?