The last thing you want is for dessert to become … boring. After all, desserts should be a celebration – a sweet indulgence to enjoy at the end of the meal (or in between meals. We won’t judge.). But when you have the same kind of dessert over and over, things could get just a little bit monotonous. Have no fear – below are some ways chefs are preparing new twists to sweeten up some old classics.
Cheesecake is a classic American treat. The first cheesecake as we know it was developed in New York in 1872, but its predecessors could be found in France and Ancient Rome. The creaminess of the cheese and the texture of the crust are everything to this dessert. New York-style cheesecake is arguably the most popular type; it incorporates eggs, egg yolks, and heavy cream to create a richer flavor in the cream cheese mixture.
However, adding an exciting new element to this classic dessert can make all the difference. Sure, cheesecake is delicious, but Devil’s Food Cheesecake? Well, that’s just sinful, isn’t it? World famous Junior’s Cheesecake has a New York-style Devil’s Food Cheesecake with three different layers, each more tempting than the last. Their unique sponge cake “crust” takes it to the next level. And that’s not all. The cheesecake flavors at Junior’s run the gamut from Red Velvet to Apple Crumb, Carrot Cake to Chocolate Mousse, and their other desserts include such favorites as Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue Pie.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Desserts
When deciding on dessert flavors, nothing goes together quite like peanut butter and chocolate. Peanut butter has that mix of fatty, salty, and, well, nutty flavors that compliments the sweetness of chocolate wonderfully. There’s a reason why it’s commonly known as “two great tastes that taste great together.”
But what happens when you want to get past a variation on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? Carmella’s Gourmet Dessert Bar in Charleston, SC has just what you need with their signature dish, the Peanut Butter Passion. In between three thick layers of chocolate cake is a scrumptious peanut butter frosting, topped with chocolate frosting, chocolate sauce and peanut butter chips. When you visit, ask about Carmella’s dessert wines – the staff can help you pair your sweet treat with the perfect wine (just make sure to bring your ID).
While mostly thought of as bake sale fare, cupcakes have evolved into a more elegant dessert in recent years. Cupcakes can be just as sophisticated in flavor and design as regular cakes, just sized for individual portions. Many wedding parties have had cupcakes take the place of their full wedding cakes and some bakeries specialize in cupcakes alone.
When choosing cupcakes for your next party, it’s easy to go crazy with the flavors, from champagne to caramel pretzel to lilikoi. What is lilikoi? Why, it’s the yellow passion fruit of Hawaii! Lilikoi is often used in drinks and jams, but Honolulu’s Hokulani Bakeshop uses a puree of this fruit (which tastes of both tart and sweet) in their Lilikoi Cupcake with lemon cream cheese frosting.
Waffles – they aren’t just for brunch anymore! Making the weekend morning staple into a decadent dessert brings so many possibilities. Take a note from Coco’s Crepes in Houston, Texas; they offer a “build your own” option for both their crepes and waffles. Toppings include everything from strawberries to white chocolate mousse and sauces include chocolate, cinnamon butter, berry sauce and more. The shop offers gluten-free options for both crepes and waffles, but if you want to add some gelato to your waffle and make it a waffle gelato sandwhich, you can do that, too. Custom waffles … who knew?
The Italian version of ice cream, gelato is a refreshing way to stay cool on even the hottest days. Churned at a slower rate than ice cream to avoid incorporating more air, gelato also has less fat. It tends to be thicker than ice cream, which is why shops generally keep it at a slightly warmer temperature when preparing to serve it.
But gelato is only as good as the flavors in it, and today’s discerning frozen treat aficionados are looking for something special. How about… tiger butter? Best known for its beautiful swirls of peanut butter and white chocolate, tiger butter is a flavor combination created by the staff at Papalani Gelato in Koloa, Hawaii. Their Tiger Butter Gelato is topped with white chocolate chips and peanuts, making it a great mix of salty and sweet.
There are a million ways to sharpen your sweet tooth. An innovative approach to classic dessert flavors is deconstruction – taking elements of a dish and arranging them artfully so that each bite lets you appreciate each element. For instance, the deconstructed desserts at Acadia in Chicago, Illinois, excite guests with classic American flavors presented in a new way, turning each dish into a delicate, delicious work of art. The tasting menu is always changing at Arcadia, but currently Chef Ryan McCaskey is featuring a delectable apple dessert – Apple Butter Mousse with Almond-Oat Clusters, Armagnac Gelée, and Toasted Oat Ice Cream. Bringing this kind of sophistication to dessert is just another way of making dining out an adventure.
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