Not only do I love sweetness, I love it when something a bit savory is added to my dessert. Take a look around, some popular savory ingredients are already in our favorites sweet treats: sea salt in caramels, carrots in carrot cake, bitter chocolate in cake, and a super salty cheese in any cheese-based desserts.
If it is a coarse sea salt, a dark chocolate sauce, or a roasted vegetable, adding some zest tones will balance out your favorite sweet treat.
Interested in making your sweet treats a bit more savory? Check out my top 5 tips:
1) Switching to coarse sea salt versus iodized (or, small granulated grain) salt
Pure sea salt comes from the sea and has a true salt flavor. Iodized salt is salt with iodine, but the size of the salt grain is very small. Small grain salt is desired when you truly want to mix the salt into your batter or dough. Baking/cooking with a larger grain of salt (like sea salt or kosher salt) will had a 'chance' of a salt bite in your desserts, which can be highly desired or not.
Pro tip: Switch to kosher, or sea, salt when baking/cooking when you do not mind a 'salt' bite in your dish. If you do not want a 'salt bite,' stick to a smaller grain salt like iodized salt.
2) Switch to baking with dark (aka, 'bittersweet' or 'semisweet') chocolate versus milk
Dark chocolate, 70% or higher, has less sugar and milk solids versus milk chocolate. What does that fancy percent on the chocolate bar mean anyway? The percent represents cocoa solids and cocoa butter. What is the rest of the chocolate made of? Sugar, milk solids, and/or vanilla extract.
Think: the higher the percent, the less sweet the chocolate will be (unsweetened chocolate is 100%).
Dark chocolate will add a bitterness, versus a sweet and candied flavor profile milk and white chocolate tend to give off. Try switching up your chocolate chip cookies, chocolate sauce, or truffles with a super dark chocolate chunks versus the milk chocolate chunks.
Pro tip: Not only does >70% dark chocolate has a silky smooth flavor, it contains less sugar and milk solids. Thus, making it healthier. Thus, making it a daily staple in my diet.
3) Switch to mascarpone cheese versus cream cheese
Cream cheese is an American soft cheese used in cheesecake, bar cookies, and frostings. It is manufactured with less fat than mascarpone.
Mascarpone is an Italian soft cheese, similar to cream cheese, except it has more fat. What does the extra fat add? More creaminess, softness, and savory taste. The good news when you're sweetening mascarpone: you can add your favorite sucrose (honey, molasses, agave, white sugar, etc) to mascarpone and add as much, or little, as you want.
Pro tip: Mascarpone is also great in savory dishes when you want a polished flavor.
4) Switch to fresh herbs versus dried herbs or no herbs at all.
Fresh herbs in your favorite dessert is a great way to lighten it up. Take your favorite simple, vanilla-flavor based treat (think: shortcakes, biscuits, scones, pound cake, white cake, or ice cream) and add 1-3 teaspoons of a freshly chopped herb. What herb you may ask? I always say, 'Any! You're favorite!' Popular herbs used in baking are: mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, lemon verbena, and thyme. Start with a small herb amount and based your useage on other flavor ingredients in your recipe.
Pro tip: When using fresh herbs are less concentrated and potent versus dried herbs, about 3 to 1 ratio. If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon fresh basil, you will only need 1 teaspoon of dried basil if you're using dried.
5) Switch to nuts versus no nuts in your desserts
Just like dark chocolate, nuts add a bitterness to your favorite sweet treats. Roasting any nut will had a depth of flavor to 'em. How to roast? Mild oven, 350 degrees F, parchment-lined cookie sheet, bake for 8-12 minutes or until a toasty aroma occurs in your kitchen. Sprinkle some on top of your frosted brownie, ricotta cheese cake, or favorite gelato, and it will surely add some toasty notes to your dessert.
Pro tip: Roast nuts whole, then chop after they are cooled. Always buy whole nuts, versus pre-chopped nuts, to maximize the 'nuty' flavor.
I can't wait for you guys to add some savory profiles to your sweetness life!