Sweets and Treats

Pastries

We all remember a time when frozen yogurt was top dog in the dessert world before being unseated by the cupcake. Now that these two desserts seem to be here to stay, many a sweet tooth are searching for the new trend. We’ve been scoping out these treats too, and here is a list of the few that we think are top contenders for the next dessert fad.

The fish-shaped Japanese treat called Taiyaki is quickly swimming into the hearts of dessert fiends. Traditionally it is waffle batter fried into the shape of a fish. In the center, bakers can add their own filling, the most popular being red bean paste. This Japanese treat originated in the early twentieth century in Japan, and has recently spread to the West Coast of the United States. As of late, little Taiyaki shops have been springing up all over the place, especially in the Bay Area, where the Japanese influence on dining is strong. One such place that just opened up named itself Sweet Breams after these fish shaped desserts. Sweet Breams takes the traditional form of Taiyaki and places an original spin on it by offering unique fillings such as chocolate custard or the very popular Nutella. They also offer different forms of waffle batter, including the ever-delicious red velvet. Sweet Breams serves these little fish up in orders called “schools,” which consist of a dozen of the bite-sized pastries. They are best enjoyed melt-in-your-mouth hot, but guests can also enjoy them over vanilla ice cream. While this trend has not quite caught on in Southern California cities such as San Diego, there are stands within Japanese markets that occasionally offer these treats.

Taiyaki is not the only Japanese pastry that has been gaining fame. It is very similar to Imagawa-yaki, which are round cakes filled with red bean paste. Around the state of California, these treats can be found in Japanese markets; however, like the Taiyaki, they are beginning to be featured in dessert shops dedicated solely to them. One such shop is Fulfilled, of Los Angeles. This dessert shop highlights the traditional nature of the Imagawa-yaki with the menu option of Sweet Geisha, which features the traditional Japanese Azuki Bean, while also exploring original combinations. They feature a list of three savory Imagawa-yaki pastries, including the Green Ninja that includes spinach, feta cheese, and sundried tomatos contained inside the pancake-like patty for which the pastries are known.

The Whoopie Pie is not inspired by another culture, but has instead made its way to our neck of the woods from just across the continent. It is rumored to be a creation of Amish ancestors on the East Coast. Recently, the Whoopie Pie has been featured in cafes and bakeries all over the country, and even on restaurant dessert menus—such as that of The Prado in San Diego. Like the Taiyaki, this pastry can also be found in specialty shops that serve only Whoopie Pies. This “pie” is a cross between a sandwich, a cookie, and a cake, with two round cookie shaped pieces of a cake-like substance sandwiched around a frosty filling. There are several varieties of the Whoopie Pie, including some featuring chocolate and red velvet as two flavors for the cake-like substance.

Perhaps the most popular contender for the cupcake fad is the macaroon. These small pastries are a cross between a very small cake and a cookie, and are gaining popularity in the dessert sector. They are typically made with coconut in the United States, but many have begun to tweak this traditional recipe and add their spin on it. These bite-sized pastries can be found in cafes and bakeries, such as The French Gourmet of San Diego, but there are an increasing number of recipes available if dessert junkies are in the mood to bake their own sweets.

Although the cupcake and frozen yogurt parlors aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, there are plenty of sweet treats ready to take their place as the dessert of the hour. Will these desserts withstand the title of trend, or will they crumble after their fifteen minutes of fame is up? Only time will tell.

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