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Delectable Dessert Indulgences

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 3:32 am, Tue Feb 11, 2014.

(Family Features) Dessert is an indulgence, and when you delight in the taste, texture and aroma of a decadent sweet treat, you savor every bite. It is easy to get lost in the flavor and fragrance of rich chocolate or creamy caramel. 

But what happens when chocolate or caramel are paired with different flavors, like salty, sour or savory? Spurred by curiosity, the food scientists in the Wilton Test Kitchen dug deeper into unusual flavor pairings to enhance the taste experience.

While the terms “taste” and “flavor” are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. The taste of a food is what the taste buds perceive, while the flavor of a food is the combination of these tastes, plus the aroma and the other sensations.

Treatology™ is the science of blending different flavors and tastes to create dishes that are an experience all on their own.

Look for more taste, flavor and inspiration at http://treatology.wilton.com.

Taste Terminology

There are five basic taste categories the taste buds perceive:

Sweetness is recognized by the presence of sugar. It is very predominant in desserts, but also creates great contrast with salty and sour. 

Sourness can be added through a variety of acidic foods, such as vinegars and citrus fruits. 

Salt enhances flavor, intensifies sweetness and suppresses bitterness.

Bitterness may be found in a variety of foods, including chocolate and coffee. When not in balance, bitter can be offensive, but in very small quantities it adds richness and depth.

Umami is described as a savory, often mouthwatering taste perceived when eating meat, fish, cheeses like parmesan and bleu and certain vegetables such as asparagus.

Coffee Toffee Heath Cupcakes

Recipe: Coffee Toffee Heath Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Cupcakes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 package (16.2 ounces) Devil's Food cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • Ganache
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package (8 ounces) English toffee bits

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with baking cups.
  2. In a small bowl, combine water and instant coffee; stir to dissolve.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, coffee, eggs and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl frequently. Then, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill baking cups 2/3 full with batter.
  4. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on cooling grid to cool completely.
  5. For ganache, combine cream and instant coffee in small saucepan; stir to dissolve. Warm over medium heat until cream begins to steam; do not boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
  6. Place 1/2 cup ganache in disposable decorating bag. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, create a small hole in the center of each cupcake; pipe in ganache. Dip tops of cupcakes in remaining ganache; lightly shake off excess. Immediately dip cupcake in toffee bits.

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Pear and Brie Honey Tartlets

Recipe: Pear and Brie Honey Tartlets

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet (1/2 of a 17.3-ounce box), puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups diced, peeled firm ripe pear
  • 1/2 4-ounce wheel, brie, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a 24-cavity mini muffin pan with vegetable pan spray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry; roll out to about 12 inches x 8 inches. Cut into 24 squares, about 2 inches x 2 inches. Press each square into a prepared pan cavity.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together cardamom, salt and 2 tablespoons of the honey. Add pears; toss to coat. Add 1 heaping teaspoon pear mixture to each pastry tartlet.
  4. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Immediately top with pieces of brie. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove to cooling grid. Drizzle remaining honey over tartlets and serve immediately.

Makes about 2 dozen tartlets

Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops with Pistachios and Raspberries

Recipe: Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops with Pistachios and Raspberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup, plus 4 teaspoons honey, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton Clear Imitation Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, divided
  • 4 Wilton 8-inch Cookie Sticks, cut in half

Preparation:

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, cream, 1/4 cup honey and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Place one whole raspberry in the bottom of each Wilton Round Brownie Pops Mold cavity. Cut the remaining raspberries into quarters.
  3. To assemble pops, spoon 1-1/2 teaspoon yogurt mixture over raspberry in mold cavity; lightly tap mold against work surface to level. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon pistachios over yogurt and then 1/4 teaspoon honey over pistachios. Repeat, layering yogurt, pistachios and honey, as listed above, lightly tapping mold to level. Add a quartered piece of raspberry; top with remaining yogurt mixture and lightly tap to level. Insert sticks about 2/3 into pop; freeze at least 3 hours or overnight.

Makes 8 pops

Sweet and Salty Caramel Cashew Brownies

Recipe: Sweet and Salty Caramel Cashew Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (squares or chips)
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cashews, chopped plus additional for garnish
  • 15 soft caramel candies

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9-inch x 9-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring to combine. Cool slightly.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla to chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined. Add flour mixture; stir until just incorporated. Stir in cashews. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake 24 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean.
  5. While brownies bake, unwrap caramel candies and roll each one out until it is 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut with medium sized Leaf Cut-Outs cutter.
  6. Remove brownies from oven and immediately top with caramel cut outs, arranging in 3 rows of five. Position a cashew on each caramel. Return to oven for 1 minute. Remove from oven. Cool on cooling grid until just barely warm. Cut into 1-1/2-inch x 3-inch rectangles and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 15 brownies

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