The Food Channel®, in conjunction with CultureWaves® insights and trends analysis, has created its 2014 Top Ten Dessert Trends.
1. Spoon Desserts
Pudding, custard, tapioca, rice pudding and non-fancy soft desserts are big this year. Whether it’s the texture or the variety, or simply that we’ve all stocked up on small ramekins and need something to do with them besides crème brûlée, we are into the combination of soft and sweet to finish our meals. Spoonables are easily made in savory as well. See our recipe for a Quick Brûlée Tapioca Spoon Pudding that will hit all of your senses with something new and delightful!
The more layers the better, and if jam is one of the fillings, we lick our lips in anticipation! It’s a great way to combine our love of artisan and homemade jams with the new tools that make it easy to bake and divide cakes into layers. And, while we love the decadent look of a layer cake, it’s not confined to cake. We are layering just about anything, from muffins to cheesecakes to trifles. Try it with the new Otis Spunkmeyer Angel Food Muffin, with a layer of delicious jam and a cheesecake topping to take it too decadent!
3. Hand Pies
The mini dessert has finally extended itself to the pie. Instead of a slice, now you can devote yourself to a whole pie that you can pick up and eat, almost like a sandwich. Hand pies are sealed on all sides and usually hold a fruit mixture, but expect to find them filled with just about anything this year. Some are fried, but there are new kitchen gadgets that allow you to make them like waffles, or simply bake them like turnovers.
4. Midwestern Influence
One of the big trends for 2014 in general is around Midwestern foods, and when it comes to desserts that means cobblers, pies, crisps, tarts, upside down cakes, and bar cookies. Try our Midwestern Fruit Pie with a side of cheddar cheese!
5. Mashups and Muffins
Muffins are the new doughnuts, or what some are calling the duffin. The new mashup isn’t really about putting unlike things together as much as it is creating a new form of something you love—and it’s usually done to make it easier to make or a little bit healthier. Love buttermilk doughnuts, for example, but don’t want to fry your food? You might like the new Buttermilk Doughnut Muffin.
6. Pepper, Flavored Salts, and International Spices
No need to ask for the pepper mill for your dessert when it’s baked right in! New desserts on the menu are heavy on the stronger spices. Cracked pepper is particularly on the rise, perhaps because it gives a visible difference to a dessert plate without an overwhelming flavor punch. Try it in scones in place of fruit, with desserts made with fruit and cream, on ice cream, in bread pudding, in cookies and in candy. You can also progress beyond sea salt on your truffles to some of the flavored salts (Himalayan pink salt, anyone?). See our recipe for speed scratch peppered ice cream to eat alone, with a cookie, or simply put on top of your pie.
7. Dessert Butters
These are not compound butters, but are actually ground up cookies turned into a soft filling that is perfect for rolling into a truffle or adding to a sandwich cookie. That’s right, use ground up cookie to layer another cookie—what’s wrong with that?! There’s a popular recipe for Oreo truffles that may have started it, but Bischoff is in the game now, too, and we expect to see more. This really creates a new category for almond butters, cookie butters and more, perfect for the Sandwich Generation. We’ve made a PB and Chocolate Cookie here using the Otis Spunkmeyer Sweet Discovery Double Chocolate Chip cookie on the outside, and the Sweet Discovery Peanut Butter cookie, turned into a cookie butter, on the inside. Cookie butter sandwiched between two chocolate cookies? Yes, please–for great dual flavor!
What’s old is new again with additional flavors and combinations coming into play. People who are getting a little more adventurous with their cooking skills are also looking for that new item to add to their repertoire, and crepes fit the bill since they can be the main course or an amazing dessert. We’ve demonstrated our favorite with a Raspberry Crepe with Lemon Sauce.
Nuts are big in desserts right now, particularly as we recognize there are some possible health benefits that give us a little good with our decadence! So the idea of adding a handful of walnuts here, or dipping those cookies in chocolate and a coating of pistachios there, is only going to grow. One of our favorite recipes in this series was the Spiced Walnut Crust Cookies with Chocolate Ganache and Sea Salt. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
10. Small Batch Desserts
We also call this “Desserts for Two,” because these desserts are definitely made for sharing, just not with the world. We don’t have to make enough dessert to feed an army to be satisfied; we’ve discovered it’s OK to just make a little. So dessert recipes are downsizing into one-offs, where you get a small batch of homemade chocolates, or a few dipped marshmallows, or a taffy pull that results in just a few pieces of taffy (but a whole lot of fun). We see this as the next step beyond artisan, where we proved we could be distinctive, and now just want to create a little at a time. See our great Dark Chocolate Cherry Cake and Bee Sting Cake combo and make the recipes together, or apart.
We also considered a number of hot items in desserts, such as the trend toward putting cereal in desserts, and moving beyond bacon into salami and other dried meats. We’ll continue to watch to see if they truly develop. Other current desserts to watch include ice cream sandwiches, fortune cookies, and beignets, which all are really about putting flavors into forms we usually find only in the store and not necessarily at home. While we watch the trends, we hope you’ll enjoy making a few of these great desserts and share with your friends your knowledge of on-trend sweets, treats, and great fun in baking!
Sponsorship provided by Otis Spunkmeyer.