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2014 Dessert Trends: Small, With Substance

February 12, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

Chicago — Desserts, dinner’s grand finale, will be small in size but large on comfort, according to The Food Channel’s “Top Ten Dessert Trends for 2014” and based on research conducted with consumer insights consultant CultureWaves.

“These aren’t frou-frou desserts,” Food Channel Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief Kay Logsdon tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “It’s about substance and nuance. The Midwestern food movement, which began in 2013, is so prevalent, so these desserts feature lots of flavors and layers.”

In addition, because the flavors and textures are so satisfying, a smaller portion is sufficient, she explains.

  • Spoon desserts, such as rice pudding, egg custard and tapioca are reappearing, and could be topped with fruit or jam.
  • Layers of flavor and texture add interest to classic desserts. Logsdon gives the example of a muffin finished with a dollop of jam and cheesecake topping.
  • Hand pies deliver the richness of pie in a fist-sized portion. “You’re not stuck with a lot of slices left over,” Logsdon adds.
  • Midwestern-influenced desserts include county fair favorites: cobblers, crisps, tarts, upside-down cakes and bar cookies.
  • Mashups and muffins, Logsdon explains this blends two concepts. An example is making a muffin from buttermilk doughnut batter and adding a glaze. “It’s a little healthier for you,” she laughs.
  • Cracked pepper, flavored salts and international spices reflects globalization of cuisine. Sprinkling vanilla ice cream with cracked black pepper brings a new dimension to a familiar dessert.
  • Dessert butters incorporate crushed or ground cookies in peanut butter and other nut and chocolate spreads to be used as filling for truffles, sandwich cookies, toast and pastries for a new flavor twist.
  • Crêpes — thin pancakes encasing sweet or savory fillings — are experiencing a renaissance as both entrees and desserts, Logsdon notes, pointing to food trucks and crepe stands sprouting in major cities. “You can customize crepes, and that’s a huge trend,” she adds.
  • Nuts are making a big showing on desserts not only for their flavor and texture, but because recent scientific studies are reporting the health benefits of eating nuts.
  • Small-batch desserts balance indulgence with proportion. Logsdon explains: “It’s OK to make just a little. We don’t have to make enough to feed an army to feel satisfied.”


Hot Trend: PB and Chocolate Cookie Butter-Stuffed Cookies. Photo by Lance Mellenbruch, The Food Channel

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