Recently we had this conversation about personal preferences, the way that, as we have
aged matured, our tastes have changed as well.
As kids, we used to be all about the sweetest treat. We ate the frosting first off our cupcakes, put extra chocolate syrup on our ice cream, and spent all our allowance money on Hubba Bubba and Laffy Taffy.
Now, as adults, we are trending away from the super-sticky, extra sweet treats. We still love sweets and treats, but our tastes these days run more toward more sophisticated, richer desserts. We actively seek out things with contrasting flavors: tart balsamics with sweet fruits, ground chile with chocolate. We can’t wait to try a new snack mix with sweet toffee and bacon or worcestershire. The new dessert recipes we want to make combine complex textures and tastes, that highlight and bring out the best in the diverse ingredients.
In our sweet + savory experimentation, here are some “not-dessert” ingredients that do well in dessert and snack recipes:
- Sea salts: plain, spicy, fruity, coffee, or bacon (always bacon)
- Ground pepper: “plain” black, smoked, or spicy-hot
- Herbs: try fresh basil or cilantro, or dried thyme, lavender or rosemary
- Spices: expand your palate beyond cloves, cinnamon and ginger in your baked goods; try coriander, anise, or ground chile peppers
And don’t stop at ingredients that come from your spice shelf. Even vegetables like beets and avocado, cheeses (chevre or ricotta, or even a sharp Spanish cheese like Manchego), and cured meats (bacon again! or a fine prosciutto, thinly sliced) can be fantastic savory additions to desserts.
Next, if you have a particular savory ingredient in mind that you’d like to use in a recipe, you can also search the AllSpice recipe database for recipes using that particular ingredient.
A word of advice: a little savory goes a long way in a sweet recipe. You can always add more cayenne to your flourless chocolate torte (pictured, above) – maybe 1/8 tsp at a time, but it will take a lot more butter and fancy chocolate to tone the over-peppery batter if you start out with too much spice!