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Students currently pursuing culinary certificates should be aware of the fact that there’s far more to designing a beautiful dish than what actually goes into the meal that you’re cooking. While finding the correct balance of flavor, texture and nourishment is deeply important, one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of preparing food is its presentation. An improperly presented meal can lose much of its luster, but a well arranged dish can bring even the best tasting entrees to new heights. Before you entertain dinner guests or cook for your family, take some time to consider these principles of food presentation:

The basics

In order to develop an understanding of how to properly plate a dish, it’s important to understand that different sections of the plate you’re serving food on are actually intended for various purposes. Looking at the plate from the diner’s perspective, imagine the face of an analog clock. The space between 12 and three o’clock should be one section, with the areas between three and nine and then nine to 12 operating as the other two main areas. The largest space at the bottom of the plate (three o’clock to nine o’clock) is intended for your main protein, so any chicken, beef or other meat will best be placed here. It should be accented by a starch, such as a roll, potatoes or other foods placed in the space between nine and 12. Finally, your vegetable(s) should be plated between 12 and three o’clock for ideal aesthetic value.

Finer points and extras

The importance of the three main zones of the plate is only underscored when the finer points of presentation are taken into consideration. For example, you should always choose a plate that properly fits your meal, without leaving too much empty space. Further, you’ll want to do your best to select food groups with complementary colors; you can even use seasonal foods that reflect the hues of the time of year to make your meal extra festive. In arranging the different food groupings on your plate, consider the balance of the meal as a whole. You don’t want any one side of the plate to weigh far more heavily than the other.

Taking these points into account when you prepare your next meal will ensure that you end up with a dish that is as beautiful as it is delicious.

Infographic Transcript for The Perfect Plate

Expert plating is the perfect accompaniment to classically trained cooking skills. Here’s a look at some of the core principles that go into making a dish look just as stunning as it tastes.

The Basics

Classical plating places the three primary elements of the dish in specific parts of the plate:

  • Main protein: between 3 and 9 o’clock
  • Starch: between 9 and 12 o’clock
  • Vegetable: between 12 and 3 o’clock
Finer Points
  1. Emphasis: The primary ingredient in the dish should take up the most space on the plate and attract the eye.
  2. Balance: Think about the plate as a whole and avoid weighting one side heavier than the other.
  3. Contrast: Place contrasting shapes and colors beside each other for visual appeal.
  4. Color: Choose complementary colors or create a focal point with a single burst of bright color.
  5. Texture: The various textures of the dish should be visible in the components of the plate.
  6. Simplicity: Avoid overcrowding by using as few elements as necessary for the dish to feel complete.
  7. Plate: Choose a plate that fits the size and arrangement of the dish without leaving too much empty space.
Extras
  • Garnish: Choose an edible accent that provides extra color and texture throughout the dish (rather than in one spot only).
  • Sauce: Get Creative—Plate sauces beneath your main protein, drizzle across the plate or create drops that provide visual interest.
  • Shape: Sculpt the elements of your plate to create height, structure and organization.

The post The Perfect Plate: Principles of Food Presentation appeared first on Escoffier Online.

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If you’re a student in an online culinary course and you come across a recipe that calls for chives, scallions or green onions, take note that these three popular ingredients are not the same.

During the spring, these plants and herbs make their way into many culinary academy dishes, so it’s important to make sure that you know the difference between the three for your seasonal favorites.

Scallions and Green Onions

According to Chow.com, green onions and scallions come from the same genus and species, so they are remarkably similar. Scallions are basically onions that are harvested young while the shoots are still green and fresh. While scallions and green onions are of the same species, the variety of scallions known as “bunching onions” do not form a bulb.

Scallions, or “bunching onions,” are a special type of green onion that do not have a bulb.

Other green onions are harvested before the bulbs are fully formed, giving them a strong and robust flavor that is much more pungent than traditional yellow, red or white onions. These onions are popular in ethnic cuisine and are delicious when grilled. They have a mild and sweet flavor, and are the perfect addition to salads, omelets, and stir-fries.

Chives

Chives are a completely different species altogether. In culinary terms, chives are really classified as an herb and often used as a garnish. Along with parsley, tarragon, and chervil, they are a key ingredient of fines herbes, essential to french haute cuisine.

Chives are classified as an herb and used extensively in French haute cuisine.

Botanically, chives are an aromatic grass with pretty pale lilac flowers, which are also edible.

Chives are popular atop deviled eggs, in omelettes and other brunch favorites, and in soups or salads. They are also a delicious addition to soft cheeses, and can be stirred into soft butter as an alternative to garlic butter. Cook only briefly, and serve immediately, or the flavor will be lost.

Chive flowers are beautiful, flavorful, and often overlooked in cooking. Simply pull the flower petals off of the stems and sprinkle them onto your dish. Chive flowers have a slightly milder taste than the chive greens and add lovely color.

Buying and Storing

When buying chives, look for plump, uniformly green stems with no brown spots or signs of wilting. When buying green onions and scallions, choose those with crisp, bright green tops and a firm white base.

To store, wrap the roots in a slightly damp (not wet) paper towel, and put the rest into a loose plastic bag. Use within seven days.

The next time you’re at the grocery store picking out products for your dishes, know these differences between these small – but important – spring favorites.

The post The Difference Between Chives, Scallions And Green Onions appeared first on Escoffier Online.

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Do you ever look through your pantry and fridge wondering what you could possibly make with what seems to be an impossible mystery basket off of “Chopped”? Well, there’s an app for that – several, in fact! As a culinary academy student, you’re learning what flavors and textures work together. Here are seven apps that can help:

1. SuperCook

SuperCook is to the rescue, helping you waste less food and eat fantastic meals. This website is simple and effective, and there’s no need to download or install anything on your phone.

Start by selecting ingredients you already have on hand from several categories (such as meat, seasoning and dairy).

As you add available ingredients, SuperCook suggests recipes, updating results for each new item you include.

From there, you can narrow down your results by selecting the type of meal you want to make (such as soups, salads, casseroles, you name it), type of cuisine and the star ingredient.

Once you get into the habit of using SuperCook, you’ll probably find yourself doing the same things again and again. If you want to save your ingredients and favorite recipes, you can make a profile.

2. Allrecipes Dinner Spinner

Allrecipes is available on multiple devices, including tablet and smartphone. You can find recipes by browsing through categories such as dietary restrictions, ingredients, cuisine type, meal type, season and cooking technique.

Searching by ingredient allows you to set your parameters based on what you have available.

The easiest search is with the “dinner spinner,” a tool that lets you quickly spin through a combination of options by dish type, ingredients on-hand, and how long before the meal is ready.

In fact, the app lets you list ingredients to include or omit in recipe results. That way, if you don’t have chicken in the fridge, the app won’t show any recipes that contain chicken, even if you have all of the other necessary ingredients for a certain dish.

Save your recipes and ingredients by creating an account – you can log in anywhere, including on your phone, tablet or computer.

3. BigOven

With more than 500,000 recipes in its database, BigOven is certainly, well, big.

This app lets you navigate and brainstorm in a number of ways. For instance, check out the Ideas section to browse through meal inspiration. There you’ll find categories like “Use Up Leftovers,” which curates recipes based on reusing ingredients.

The Collections area includes recipe ideas for healthy breakfasts, healthy snacks, meat-free, soups, low-carb, and more. Most recipes come with nutritional facts that include the number of calories per serving.

The Grocery List section allows you to sort by ingredient and keep tabs on what you’ll need to make a certain meal. Quickly add items to your list for easy shopping the next time you’re out.

The Planner lets you come up with dishes for the future so you’re not stuck trying to compose a meal with random ingredients again.

4. Epicurious 

Epicurious is an app that’s both beautiful to look at and easy to use. You can toggle through ingredients to find recipe ideas, many of which feature photos of the finished dish and instructional videos to help you along the way.

Quickly browse recipes by adding filters such as “leftovers,” “dinner,” and any dietary restrictions such as “gluten free,” “dairy free,” “keto friendly” and so on.

Next, add the main ingredient you wish to search for in the search area, and then sort your list by the highest rated recipes, the percentage of users who would make it again, and other criteria.

The app also includes a kitchen timer to help you cook ingredients to perfection even without a recipe, and a tool that finds local, seasonal ingredients.

5. Cookpad

Cookpad is part recipe finder, part social platform. You can search for recipes by ingredients and share what you’re making.

Invented a fantastic recipe you want to share? Post it publicly along with an image so other users can test it out. List the ingredients, snap an image, and write your story. If people like what you’re posting, they can follow you.

Of course, you can also follow people who make recipes that match your preferences, and even ask them questions.

To start a conversation, go to the chat area and turn on notifications so you know when others reply. You can also search conversations to see what others are talking about, and join in.

And people are talking on Cookpad from around the world! Founded more than 20 years ago in Japan, the app has more than 100 million users in 23 countries. In addition to English, Cookpad is available in Spanish, French, Italian, and 20 other languages.

Other search terms you can use include dietary restrictions, recipe names and holidays. Basically, any category you can think of.

6. Tasty

Tasty became popular for its overhead food videos with instructions for each step as you prepare a dish. But it’s also a handy tool to search for recipes you can make with whatever you already have on hand.

Search by ingredients, then add filters such as “dinner,” “brunch,” and any dietary restrictions. You can also search by occasion, whether it’s date night, weeknight, or game day.

For the easiest meals, search for “5 ingredients or less”  and “under 30 minutes.”

Once you make your selection, the recipe video plays, displaying ingredient measures and other instructions right on the screen, in sync with the video. For efficiency, the videos play at a faster speed, but you can pause and unpause the videos as you go.

Some of Tasty’s most-watched videos are reportedly those featuring cheese, steak, bacon and pasta—perhaps ingredients you have on hand now?

7. America’s Test Kitchen

America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) is America’s most-beloved home cook television program, featuring episodes such as, “The Perfect Cookie,” “Just Add Apples,” and “All Chocolate, All The Time.” So it’s no surprise that the ATK app is quickly becoming the digital tool of choice for serious home cooks.

The catch? It’s only available to members of ATK’s online cooking school. Still, for the serious home cook, it’s a great option, with full courses featuring special instruction from ATK and Escoffier chefs. So be sure to use this app only when you have time to learn and refine your technique.

Search by main ingredient, such as pasta or vegetables, level of difficulty, and recipe type. Keep track of the courses you’ve completed, and take advantage of your exclusive access to world-class chefs and instructors.

The post Top Apps For Finding Recipes For Ingredients You Already Have appeared first on Escoffier Online.

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Two Culinary Giants Announce One-on-One Chef-Focused Online Cooking Classes

The ultimate classes for all things culinary have never been more accessible thanks to a joint venture between Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Chicago and America’s Test Kitchen with the announcement of their new online cooking classes.

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, one of the most famous names in cuisine and culinary education, and America’s Test Kitchen, one of the most trusted authorities in recipe development and instruction, are joining forces to offer some of the most tried and true home recipes and technique-centered content available online. Escoffier professional chefs will offer additional one-on-one support and guidance for those subscribing to access any of the more than 230 online culinary classes. For details on the catalog of classes including advanced knife skills, feeding a crowd, bakery-style pastries, sauces 101 and weeknight meals, visit escoffieronline.com.

“This professional pairing is the ultimate gourmand dream team,” said Tracy Lorenz, president and chief executive officer of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. “We’re excited to offer this ‘all-you-can-cook’ online subscription for cooking classes under the name Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Home Gourmet powered by America’s Test Kitchen. Subscribers get unprecedented access to an Escoffier professional chef for everything from trouble shooting recipes, to gaining additional support and perspectives to sharing ideas.”

Cost structure for classes is $19.99 per month for all 230+ courses. Subscribers have access to new courses that are added on a continual basis. Classes also include recommendations on need-to-know equipment, ingredient reviews, interactive tools, and exercises designed to help track progress along with more than 5,000 photos, 200 videos and guidance from professional chef instructors. Students can also email chefs with specific questions and join online communities of fellow aspiring home chefs.

“Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is one of the most well-known and prestigious names in culinary arts and professional culinary education, and through its innovative offerings, continues to guide and inspire the culinary world,” said David Nussbaum, president and CEO of America’s Test Kitchen. “We are thrilled to partner with Escoffier on a best-in-class offering that will help to take home cooking to the next level.”

Tutorials are led by America’s Test Kitchen personalities and Escoffier professionals including:
• Bridget Lancaster, host of America’s Test Kitchen
• Jack Bishop, chief creative officer at America’s Test Kitchen
• Elle Simone, Christie Morrison and Ashley Moore, cast members of America’s Test Kitchen
• Miles Mitchell, chief academic officer, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Chicago
• Catherine Stanton, chef instructor, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Chicago

The post Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and America’s Test Kitchen Bring Best in Class to Today’s Home Cooks appeared first on Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy.

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Chances are, some of your customers are carefully watching what they eat, and not just for diet reasons. Millions of people have food hypersensitivities, which means they can have uncomfortable or even fatal reactions to specific foods. Students learning the culinary arts in Boulder will explore the many types of food hypersensitivities and how to handle them in their classes. Here, we’ll discuss how to keep your kitchen safe.

Food allergy vs. intolerance

Food hypersensitivities can be categorized into allergies and intolerances. Though they may seem similar, food allergies and intolerances are very different, both in terms of what causes the reaction and the type and severity of the reaction itself.

Allergies cause an immune reaction, in which the body recognizes the foreign substance (such as the proteins found in peanuts or shellfish) as a threat, according to Medical News Today. As a response, the body releases chemicals such as histamine, which can lead to a wide range of reactions like throat tightness, hives, swelling, coughing or vomiting, KidsHealth explained.

Dairy is a common food intolerance, but it shouldn’t be confused with an allergy to cow’s milk.

Allergic reactions can be mild in some cases, but very severe and even life-threatening in others. Even if a person’s previous reaction to an allergen was mild, there’s always a chance that the next one will be much more consequential. Additionally, people who have food allergies will likely experience a reaction after any contact with the food, even a tiny amount.

Intolerances primarily lead to digestive issues and are usually caused by the lack of a specific enzyme that’s needed to break down a particular protein. For example, lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of lactase, which allows the body to digest milk protein.

The effects of certain intolerances can be reduced with treatment; in the case of lactose intolerance, taking lactase pills or drinking lactose-free milk can allow someone to enjoy dairy without experiencing discomfort. Other intolerances, such as Celiac disease (an intolerance to the protein gluten, commonly found in wheat and similar grains) don’t have enzyme pills available to ease symptoms.

Common food allergies and intolerances

Knowing the most common food allergies and intolerances can help chefs develop menu items that can be enjoyed by most guests. According to HealthLine, the eight most common allergies are:

  1. Cow’s milk; this is different than lactose intolerance and usually doesn’t affect older children or adults.
  2. Eggs.
  3. Tree nuts, including Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, Macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts and walnuts.
  4. Peanuts.
  5. Shellfish, including shrimp, lobster, scallops, squid, crayfish and prawns.
  6. Wheat.
  7. Soy.
  8. Fish.

Meanwhile, the eight most common intolerances are:

  1. Dairy.
  2. Gluten; this is different than a wheat allergy.
  3. Caffeine.
  4. Salicylates, which are naturally found in some vegetables, fruits and honey.
  5. Amines;vthese are often found in fermented foods and include histamine.
  6. FODMAPs, which stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, referring to short-chain carbohydrates.
  7. Sulfites, which are commonly used as preservatives.
  8. Fructose.
Keeping your kitchen safe from cross-contamination

Developing a few menu options that are free of the above 16 common causes of food hypersensitivities is one way to make your restaurant or food business safe and enjoyable for all your customers.

Beyond that, keeping your kitchen clean and free of cross-contamination risks is essential. Remember, even a small amount of a protein that causes a negative reaction can have large consequences for someone with a sensitivity.

Follow these tips to keep your kitchen safer for all customers:

Use dedicated equipment for allergen-free ingredients

Boiling gluten-free pasta in water previously used to boil noodles that contain gluten can cause a negative reaction for someone with Celiac disease. Using dedicated equipment, such as a specific gluten-free pot for making pasta, reduces the chances of cross-contamination.

Wash surfaces and tools after exposing them to allergens

After you use a knife to chop up almonds, using it to cut onions could expose a customer to tree nut proteins. Wash cutting boards, knives and any other surface that touched an allergen after finishing that task.

Carefully store your ingredients

Accidentally dropping a few peanuts into your chocolate chips, or mixing up types of flours, can contaminate your ingredients. Keep allergens tightly sealed, carefully labeled and away from other ingredients.

The post The vital difference between food allergies and intolerances appeared first on Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy.

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Presentation is important, especially for baked goods. As every pastry student will learn, flavor and texture are only two important components to becoming a successful baker. Making your products look tasty and intriguing is the first step in capturing customers’ attention.

Creating a beautiful pastry may involve creative use of berries and sprinkles, carefully shaped, placed or dripped icing, or other decorative additions to the item itself. However, for consumers shopping for a sweet treat in a grocery store or on an online shop, bakers need to push their creativity beyond their baked goods and into package design. After all, when cupcakes or cookies are packed into a container, it’s not the frosting that customers will see first; it’s the box.

Using bright, bold colors in package design can capture shoppers’ attention in fun ways.
Bold hues

When you want to catch someone’s eye, what better way than to use your favorite bright, bold colors? Shades like blazing yellows, neon greens and hot magentas will stand out against a backdrop of boring, neutral tints. Choose one to coat the whole package in, or color block several to make an interesting pattern.

Some companies, like Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, assign particular colors to specific products, choosing to forego brand colors on every package in favor of creating striking patterns that customers are sure to remember, Interact reported. This plays on the psychology of color; if a consumer is drawn to your bright turquoise and electric purple labels one day, they may gravitate toward that same style the next time they’re at the supermarket, 99designs noted.

Clean labels

Though you want an eye-catching design, it’s also important to keep the label clean. Don’t weigh it down with too much information. The clean label trend reflects what customers are really looking for when they’re shopping for treats. While much of the food industry is becoming increasingly health-conscious, people purchasing pastries probably aren’t seeking something very nutritious, Baking Business pointed out.

“Bottom line, people are less focused on ingredients and health when they’re eating sweet goods,” Abby Ceule, director of market management for bread at Corbion Caravan, explained to Baking Business. “When we are looking at sweet goods, we shop with our eyes. People are less likely to turn that package around and see what’s in it.”

While you’ll still need to list ingredients on your package, don’t worry about incorporating listed ingredients into your design unless it makes sense. Beyond the ingredients, customers don’t want to be loaded down with details. Keeping just the basics on the label and brightening it up with some simple decals can attract the eye without overloading the mind.

Sneak peeks

Your customers may be drawn in by your brilliant package design, but what they’re really buying is the delicious pastry inside. Incorporating a sneak peek at the treat can give you creative combinations of design and product. The window in your package can be shaped like the product itself, like the brand logo or incorporated into an image.

One example that 99designs highlighted was a silver medalist in the international package design competition, Pentawards. The package contained seafood products, like marinated octopus, shrimp or anchovies. The designs were simple, with a graphic representation of the various seafood types. Half of the design was in a muted color and the other half was simply a window in the shape of the animal, displaying the food within. This not only captures a shopper’s eye, but also gives them a close look at what they’re actually purchasing, a valuable advantage to a new customer.

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Opening up a storefront is an exhilarating time for any professional who is passionate about the baking and pastry arts. However, there are a lot of challenges involved in keeping a bakery bustling with happy dessert-lovers. If you’re pursuing a career in creating delicious treats, you’ll benefit from learning some best practices for getting customers lined up at the door and keeping them coming back for years to come.

Set prices strategically

“Pricing is a crucial factor in making any business successful.”

Pricing is a crucial factor in making any business successful, but especially in baking. Affordable prices – and even giving out occasional free samples – encourage people to stop in and try a cupcake or cookie, but going too low might hurt your establishment’s long-term prospects. New York Magazine noted that thoughtfully setting markup could make all the difference in keeping your business financially healthy.

While the money you spent on ingredients is an essential consideration for establishing price points, keep in mind that there are a number of other expenses that go into making an item. There’s the time you spent on preparation and cleaning, the price of packaging and promotion, and the fact that you have to pay rent and keep the utilities on. Do the math to find the pricing structure that will make your bakery profitable, and stay alert for opportunities to operate more efficiently.

The front window is your best advertisement

One of your most effective tools for promoting your bakery is right in front of you. Think of the front window as a powerful space for advertisement. Your establishment will attract people to stop in for a quick break from the day by presenting a welcoming atmosphere and conveying the personality of your business.

Whether your bakery specializes in traditional goods or puts a modern spin on sweet favorites, show off what you do best. An assortment of hearty loaves of bread or beautiful cake decorations in the window is a powerful way of catching the attention of passersby. Select signage and colors that tell people what they can expect when they venture through the door.

Consider how your bakery’s appearance will affect foot traffic.
Build an online presence

While the appearance of your physical location can lure in patrons, don’t underestimate the impact of a savvy online strategy. Guests are likely to look up your bakery before stopping by, so you should stay heavily engaged. Claim your establishment on Google My Business [Google My Business?] and keep tabs on reviews so you can respond or make adjustments as needed.

Social media offers endless opportunities to give customers a peek into what your bakery has to offer. Regularly posting photos of awesome-looking desserts is a great means of encouraging people to come by. Add videos to give patrons a sense of your personality and the methods you’re using to produce some of your signature items.

Account for dietary restrictions

A good way to help your bakery stand out and appeal to more people is by making desserts that address potential customers’ special requirements. Some of the individuals who would love to visit your business may have food allergies, avoid gluten consumption or maintain a vegan diet. You might be able to expand on your customer base by catering to these situations.

Building a reputation for being considerate to patrons and creative with your use of ingredients could be the ticket to your bakery’s long-term business growth. Along with careful attention to financial realities and a thought-out promotional strategy, meeting the demands of restricted diets could help to make your establishment a top destination for locals and visitors who love baked goods fresh out of the oven.

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Food trucks, in one form or another have been around for a long time. From the mid-19th century chuckwagons that fed cowboys driving cattle across large swaths of land to early motorized trucks serving workers and students and the recent boom in more artisanal offerings, the mix of novelty and convenience clearly appeals to many eaters.

Whether baking and pastry arts professionals want to open their own food trucks or work in a brick-and-mortar location, they can learn a lot from the techniques established food truck proprietors use to create a variety of delicious desserts. Let’s look at a few tips and techniques from some of the most notable pastry and baking-oriented food trucks currently on the road.

Food trucks offer a wide range of desserts for their customers.
The powerful appeal of cupcakes and other handheld desserts

Cupcakes mix the best parts of a full-sized cake with a number of other advantages like pre-portioned individual servings and a final form that’s easily stored, transported and handed off to a customer. Food truck owners focusing on these delicious baked goods know they have a good thing going. The Daily Meal’s survey of the best dessert food trucks in the U.S. found cupcakes are the most common type of sweet treat served from these mobile deliverers of delight.

Although the overall cupcake trend has a lot to do with so the number of cupcake trucks crisscrossing the country’s roads, the ease of handling and serving cupcakes – and similarly handheld desserts – is an important factor to consider. Take a cue from cupcake trucks – you can easily adapt your favorite cake recipes to this format and make transporting these treats a much simpler affair, whether you plan to feed 5 or 500 people. You can also start looking for ways to make other baked goods in smaller, easily carried formats.

Classics and innovative ideas

NJ.com’s review of New Jersey’s best dessert food trucks includes a range of trucks and cuisines from across the Garden State, offering a dizzying variety of desserts. Despite all the different types of food, presentation styles and business models, however, there seem to be two categories all of the trucks fall into: classic and innovative. Some trucks, like Cannoli World, offer a few new takes on a well-known indulgence but mostly focus on producing a high-quality version of it. Others, like Dags Dippers, have a similar dedication to quality but focus on a novel approach, in this case placing fruits and vegetables on skewers and coating them in a variety of sauces and dips.

What does this distinction mean for you? It’s an important reminder to have a clear idea of your goal whenever you get the itch to start baking. If you want to experiment, by all means get going – but have an idea of what you’re looking to get out of the process before you start mixing ingredients and putting pans in the oven. Similarly, when you set out to make a specific, classic dessert, make sure you have the right ingredients, pans and other tools on hand before you start work.

Pick one thing at a time to make exceptionally well

Many food trucks have a strong concept that’s clear in their offerings. Whether it’s packaged ice creams, doughnuts or slices of pie, you’ll find plenty of food trucks that focus on one or just a few desserts. This makes it easier to keep popular items in stock and perfect a process. As a home baker, you can use a similar approach by perfecting your version of your favorite desserts. You don’t need to just stick with one dish forever like a food truck, but you should develop your skills with each before moving on to the next.

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If you want to create a dessert that’s sure to be a hit, one of the best strategies is to mash up two indulgent favorites. As baking and pastry arts enthusiasts know, after dinner is the perfect time to bend the rules and have some fun with your recipes. That’s why an unlikely combination like waffles and cake can take off as the next big trend.

Chefs have found many delicious ways to combine the satisfying texture of waffles and the rich flavors of cake. Check out a few popular recipes for waffle cake, and then find your favorite way to bridge the gap between breakfast and dessert.

Embrace classic maple taste in a brand new way

Complete the union between cake and waffle with maple syrup flavor.”

One great idea for completing the union between cake and waffle is drawing on the maple syrup flavor usually associated with breakfast. Tip Hero suggested a recipe starts with preparing three Belgian waffles, each seven inches in diameter, and setting them to the side.

Mix flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together brown sugar and butter. Beat in a cup of maple syrup and then three eggs, one by one.

Gradually pour the dry mixture into the wet and mix together. Then, beat in buttermilk and vanilla extract. Split the batter between three greased, eight-inch cake pans, pressing a waffle into each.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, and then move the pans onto a cooling rack. Set a layer of cake on a plate, covering with maple syrup. Repeat with the other two layers, finishing the cake off by placing a pat of butter on top.

Chocolate and raspberry are the perfect pairing

While waffles and cake might be a novel combination, bringing together chocolate and raspberry is a time-tested formula for great dessert. That’s why Food Network suggested adding pink raspberry cream and chocolate ganache filling to a waffle cake.

To make the filling, first place freeze-dried raspberries and powdered sugar in a food processor set to pulse. Add heavy cream, mascarpone and vanilla extract, pulsing into a creamy mixture.

Place semisweet chocolate chips in a separate bowl. Heat up heavy cream in a saucepan, and then pour over the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Spread the raspberry cream over each layer of the cake, forming a well for the chocolate ganache. Top it all off with fresh raspberries.

A creative mixture of waffles and cake could change your dessert forever.
A confetti cake that’s worth celebrating

For festive occasions, nothing beats a confetti cake – except, of course, a confetti cake that’s made with waffles. The directions from Sprinkles for Breakfast call for making the batter by combining eggs, vegetable oil, flour, milk, sugar, baking powder, imitation vanilla and salt. Once you have a smooth mixture, fold in sprinkles before cooking in a waffle iron.

Prepare whipped cream by using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to beat heavy cream and powdered sugar at high speed. Make icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. For the right birthday cake look, add pink food coloring. Add the icing and whipped cream to the waffles, decorating with sprinkles.

There are countless ways to bring together waffles and cake, so get in on the trend by experimenting with a few ideas until you find the perfect hybrid dessert. By drawing on a culinary arts education, you can try out a vast array of awesome tastes. Soon, you may have a new signature dish that offers a striking appearance, great texture, unforgettable flavor and plenty of fun.

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While there are plenty of baked goods for all seasons, spring is strongly associated with a few classics. As you continue on your quest to become a pastry chef, you’ll want to try out new recipes and improve the final results you produce from classic ones. Let’s look at a handful of classic springtime pastries to help you find your next baking project.

There are a wide variety of springtime pastries to consider adding to your repertoire this season.
Cream, fresh berries and almonds shine in this sweet cornmeal cake

While harvest season for many types of produce is still far away, spring has a strong connection to rebirth, growth and the promise of bountiful yields of fruits, vegetables and grains. This cornmeal-almond cake with strawberries and a mascarpone-cream blend for a topping from Food & Wine offers fresh tastes and a variety of flavors that can easily remind everyone who eats it of the season.

For best results, you should prepare the cake and let it cool before you start making the topping, which is a relatively simple and quick process of mixing cream, mascarpone and confectioner’s sugar. If you’re planning a party and have a lot to do, You can make the cake and store overnight with no ill effects.

The colors of spring paired with eclairs

Eclairs are a year-round treat, but this version of the dish shared by The Food Network includes a few changes that make it especially appropriate for spring. The most immediately visible difference is the use of a variety of fruit juice-flavored glazes instead of the traditional chocolate fondant. The mixture of juice and confectioner’s sugar doesn’t just provide a fruit-flavored topping, it also offers a variety of pastel colors with close ties to the spring season.

Although the prep time is significant – about three and a half hours – this recipe yields about 25 eclairs, and you can easily make several batches at the same time to increase the final results. Food Network recommended spooning your flour into your measuring cup instead of scooping directly from the bag or container to avoid compaction and, as a result, overly dry final products.

Small-but-tall strawberry pies are fresh and delicious

Fresh fruit is just one of the features in this flavor-packed miniature dessert from Southern Living – and they’re so good, you may find yourself having more than one. A creamy lemon filling and vanilla cream are also major parts of the equation, and they come together with the strawberries to offer a variety of flavors in every forkful.

You’ll need to plan ahead to make the best mini-pies possible, as total time needed for the recipe is more than six hours. However, you’ll only be active for about 90 minutes and will simply need to keep a watchful eye over the pies during the rest. If you want one big pie, this recipe helpfully offers instructions for that preparation as its last step.

Many more springtime inspirations

There are so many desserts that can fit into a springtime theme, it’s impossible to pack them all into just one article. If you’re looking for more inspiration or want to further spread your wings with some additional recipes, we have you covered. These spring desserts – including chiffon cake, fruit tarts, carrot cake, meringue cake and another approach for eclairs – can help you find the perfect recipe for each and every occasion you encounter this spring.

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