Dessert Food Trends for 2009?
Move over sugar. Make way for salt, fennel, rosemary, chile powder and even curry. Across the country, bitter, salty and savory flavors are working their way into a growing number of dessert menus and specialty chocolates. It is a trend towards innovation, as well as a move away from saccharine-sweet desserts and confections that often overwhelm with sugar. This new generation of sweets possesses uncommon flavor dimensions and provides a shortcut to sophistication.I have to say, one of my favorite chocolate bars with a little "salty kick" is Mo's Bacon Bar from Vosges Haut Chocolates.
...It may be having a gastronomic moment, but [the savory-sweet combination] is nothing new, says Iacopo Falai, chef/owner at his much-acclaimed namesake Italian restaurant in lower Manhattan. “The contrast between sweet and savory is one of the most basic in food, somewhat like the contrast between cold and warm. It is a way of expression, a way of playing with things in the kitchen. The idea of adding salt to chocolate, for example, is 5,000 years old. It is our heritage.” - Specialty Foods
These go well with a glass of dry sparkling wine just before dinner.
MAKE AHEAD: The dough must be refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. It can be rolled into logs and frozen for up to 2 months. The shortbread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
Makes about 36 cookies
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Spread the pecan pieces on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board to cool, then coarsely chop.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed for several minutes, until fluffy and light. Add the Parmesan cheese and beat until well blended.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, then add the flour, toasted pecans, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, then use your hands to help the dough come together. Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a log 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut one of the logs crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, arranging the rounds of dough 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer the shortbread to wire racks to cool completely before storing. Repeat to use all of the dough.