Archive for the 'dessert' Category

A Detour with Fro-Yo

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

On Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the Fancy Foods Show in New York City!

But, a little more on that later – first I want to talk a bit about my post-show, pre-train detour to Pinkberry!

Sure, Pinkberry is old news…and yes, I’ve had it before. But with a lack of fro-yo joints in the Philly area, a gal gets a little excited when the opportunity to visit a Pinkberry arises.

An added bonus this trip was the addition of flavors to the fro-yo menu since the last time I visited. (At that time, they only boasted plain and green tea.) This trip, I sampled the pomegranate yogurt, topped with blueberries (aren’t I healthy) and Oreos (well, just a little).

Pinkberry Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

The whole experience got me wondering about the fro-yo craze, and eventual fall, only a mere two decades ago. And, as fate would have it, the infamous frozen yogurt episode of Seinfeld was on re-run that night when I got home.

Watching that episode got me concerned. Does frozen yogurt have the legs make it this time? What’s so different? Well, first of all, there seems to be a better focus on health and nutrition this time. Not just as a fat-free/low fat alternative to ice cream (although, Seinfeld fans may believe differently!), new fro-yo promises certified cultures, just like in “real” yogurt, as well as low calories and natural ingredients.

The refreshing taste and encouragement to top with fresh cut fruit only adds to its perception. (Ok, so the occasional Oreo winds up in there too!) Plus, it’s even tastier, now that the tartness of yogurt has seemed to catch on with consumers.

And, according to USA Today, even though Pinkberry and Red Mango have had to close some shops in an overcrowded southern California market in the past year, both are still growing rapidly – with an estimated 1,000 shops between the two to open in the next five years.

Fro-yo certainly has a better a chance of survival this time around…or, at least, I hope so!

Summertime, and the eating is easy…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

 Probiotic Super Fruit Ice Cream

Well, it is finally (FINALLY!) looking like summer here in the Philly area (what is that big yellow orb in the sky?). And now that I can leave my cardigans at home, I’m looking for some hot weather treats with a little mojo.

Tasting Table L.A. recently featured a number of Los Angeles area shops that are taking ice cream sandwiches in a whole new direction. Imagine a homemade Meyer lemon cookie with lavender honey ice cream, or fudgie chocolate cookies with salted caramel ice cream. I’m drooling in my mango water ice right now.

Total Utilization at Home

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

A few months back I wrote about the comeback of head-to-tail eating. Inspired, but not quite so adventurous myself, I’ve attempted a little total utilization on my own, sans-animal innards.

More and more, I’ve been breathing new life into leftovers – not just reheating, but creating new meals from them. When recipes called for egg whites, I tried desperately to find something else to bake that would use the yolks. But a few weekends ago, my practiced methods came together like kismet!

On Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to bake an Angel Food Cake for mom – her favorite. My first, and successful, attempt (thank you Good Housekeeping cookbook!) used a dozen(!) egg whites. I sat the yolks aside, determined to find a use for them as I prepared my next concoction – limoncello.

Homemade Limoncello

The making of limoncello is a weeklong endeavor, and with a friend’s birthday the following weekend, it was time to peel the lemons to steep in grain alcohol for his homemade present. Of course, once the lemons are peeled, they must either be juiced and used immediately, or trashed. So, I juiced the lemons, initially with plans to freeze said juice, and again, set it aside.

With the cake baking, and the booze brewing, I flipped through my favorite cookbooks for an idea, and found the answer in my ever-trusty Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. Huzzah – lemon curd!! The recipe called for exactly 12 egg yolks (hooray) and a cup of lemon juice, along with lemon extract. With no lemon extract in site, I figured the 1¼ cups of lemon juice would suffice. It could not have turned out more perfect!!! For Mother’s Day, we indulged in Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd…but my story is still not quite over.

The following weekend, while finishing the limoncello recipe and getting ready for the party, I realized I still had some residual lemon curd that needed to be consumed STAT! Well, I had just enough left, combined with exactly the amount needed of heavy whipping cream from my husband’s Tres Leches birthday cake (also from the week before), to make a Lemon Icebox Pie to bring along. Thank you again Magnolia Bakery!

Phew! Yeah, it was a lot of work. And while I realized why I probably hadn’t conducted a kitchen marathon such as this before, I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride that not one ingredient went to waste in my refrigerator, and I made a lot of people happy.

Makin’ Whoopie (Pies)…

Friday, May 15th, 2009

When I was a little girl, my mom and her fellow teacher friends loved to take summertime day trips to Lancaster, Pennsylvania (a.k.a. “Amish Country”). We’d get lost on country roads filled with slow moving buggies. Walk idly through textbook warehouses, searching for the latest teacher editions. And stare at patchwork quilts for hours. Since the water slides and smorgasbords were reserved for when dad made the trips, you may be wondering why a young gal would want to tag along on these excursions. Two words – whoopie pies!

While lost on those country roads, we’d inevitably stop off at a farm or two, and raid the little shed-like shops where Amish wives would sell their wares. There amongst the fresh eggs, rhubarb and homemade root beer, lay my salvation.

A whoopie pie isn’t really a pie. It kind of looks like a giant sandwich cookie, only it’s soft and cakey. I fell in love with chocolate immediately, and grew to love the pumpkin even more. While mom insisted that the chocolate version was actually molasses – an Amish original, she claimed – my nine year-old self could have never dreamed up the possibilities in store for these delectable treats.

Years later, it seems whoopie pies are suddenly, well, hip. In fact, they appear to be the next cupcake. I was catching up on a little late reading on and came across a feature on the treats. Not only was I ignorant of the fact that the residents of Maine stake a claim to whoopie pie, as well (I was convinced this was a Pennsylvania Dutch thing only), but I was painfully unaware of a growing number of bakeries specializing in the treat.

In March, the New York Times ran an article on whoopie pies, citing a number of bakeries – from the fancy to the unassuming – that specialize in them. And the flavors! Wicked Whoopies of Maine sells everything from banana crème to CHOCOLATE COVERED for about $24 a dozen. And Cranberry Island Kitchen gets a bit more adult with Chambord and Champagne varieties.

The hopeful success of whoopie pies, as well as the popularity of cupcakes, is proof positive that we as consumers love what makes us feel good. Simple, childhood treats are what really pull at our heartstrings. Of course, there is always room for improvement and variation, which is why noveau classics are so popular.

Hmmm…I’m feeling a trip to Lancaster…

Let me Finish my Meal with a Donut…

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Pancake Cake

A few months ago, Danielle (our Marketing Coordinator) and I went to Dave & Buster’s for some delicious fried appetizers. When time for dessert came, the “oh no, I couldn’t eat another bite” quickly turned to “we’ll have those!” when we caught site of the donut holes on the dessert menu. Sugar and chocolatey goodness, with chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces.

It’s Fat Tuesday today, and I’ve got donuts on the brain (and in the stomach). Did you know, that Canadian chain Tim Horton’s compliments their sandwich value meals with donuts? So, instead of, “would you like fries with that,” yummy breakfast time sweetness rounds out your lunch.

Bear with me and my indulgences, I swear there’s a trend here.

Last week, the New York Times noted a growing trend in offering sweet breakfast items for dessert. Donuts are a casual chain restaurant staple right now, but that’s just the beginning.

The New York Times article notes Panna Cotta from Momofuku restaurants, flavored with milk from the bottom of the cereal bowl. (A concept we’ve tried ourselves in RTD flavored milk.) Then there’s toast flavored ice cream at Tailor. And at Chicago’s Moto restaurant, guests can sample hot doughnut soup with coffee-flavored whipped cream.

Restaurants & Institutions senior editor Allison Perlik also commented on last week’s article, noting the French toast and maple-bacon flavored ice cream with carmelized apple at Lola in Cleveland.

Speaking of bacon ice cream, you may have noticed a bit of bacon love in this blog. The funny thing is, that I wouldn’t consider myself over-obsessed with the stuff, but I’m just loving all of the ingenious ways that restaurants, chocolatiers and bakers are reinventing it. And while the New York Times article notes that bacon flavored sweets are “trendy to a fault,” you have to admit there is something there. Yes, I’m sure the bacon craze will reveal itself as fad, but how could a staple completely fade away? I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of sweet bacon!

But I digress, breakfast for dessert is such a logical move…why have we not thought of this sooner? I know I’m not alone here when I say that pancakes, French toast and beignets, while completely delightful, are a little too sugary for the morning hours. Why not save them for that “I just need something sweet” feeling after a savory meal. Years ago, a friend of a friend would bring his homemade coffee and donuts ice cream to every party he was invited to – in fact, it was so good that I don’t believe he was allowed to attend without it!

With consumers increasingly looking for something just a little bit different, but still approachable, and restaurants and manufacturers looking to set themselves apart in a very competitive market, breakfast for dessert sounds like a pretty good idea to me. Now bring on the blueberry pancake parfait (with maple syrup flavored ice cream, of course)!

David Michael & Co. • 10801 Decatur Road • Philadelphia, PA 19154 • 1-800-DM-FLAVORS

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