4 Desserts That Cleverly Combine Savory and Sweet

Bakers talk a lot about love being the key ingredient for tasty treats, but where there’s love, there’s also compromise. And so it goes with desserts…

Even sweetaholics know that sometimes just a touch of the savory can really make the sweet flavors in a dessert pop. And for those who (inexplicably) don’t love desserts, a treat with a little hint of something savory is ideal.

So, whether you’re satisfying a sweet tooth or a salt lover, there’s something for everybody. The simplest addition of a pretzel, crushed almonds, or a sprinkle of sea salt can make a traditional dessert unique and sophisticated.


Almond Cookies with Sea Salt

These are so easy and addictive, we’d highly recommend making a few batches at once or risk disappointing your guests when they run out.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature + 2 tablespoons for chocolate filling
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Finely grated zest from 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup or light corn syrup
  • Sea salt, to taste


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour and almond meal in one bowl, and then the sugar and lemon zest in another. You want the sugar and lemon zest to be really blended together. Beat one stick of butter into the sugar lemon mixture and add the vanilla extract.


Then start to add the dry flour and almond meal. Don’t overdo it though, just make sure everything is mixed together. Next, scoop the dough into little balls onto the baking sheets and use your thumb to make an indent. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. You can re-do the indents while the dough is still soft after baking, too, if you need to, so don’t panic if you forget.


Melt the extra two tablespoons of butter, chocolate, and syrup with a double boiler. Finally, spoon the chocolate into the indents and sprinkle course sea salt to taste. Let cool — if you can even wait to devour them!


Bacon and Bourbon Brownie Sundaes

Bacon Brownie

These brownies are for grownups only, and when you serve them over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you’ll never go back to plain brownies again. You can leave the pecans out for any nut allergy. But do not make them vegan. Sorry, guys.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch pan with parchment paper or non-stick spray. Toast the pecans in a pie plate in the oven until you start to smell them and then chop them up. Next, cook the bacon until super crispy and then chop it up, making sure to reserve some of the fat.


Now it’s time for the brownies. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler. Beat the chocolate into the two sugars and extra bacon fat. Beat in the bourbon and then add the eggs, flour, cocoa, and salt. Scrape the mixture in the pan and add the crumbled bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about an hour or until the brownies are set. You can even garnish each brownie with a dollop of peanut butter and a small piece of bacon if you want to truly delight your guests.


Sage Shortbread Cookies


Who doesn’t love the simple deliciousness of classic shortbread? It’s buttery, sweet and pretty much perfect. But by adding sage to the batter, it becomes so savory and warm, you’ll want to do nothing else but nibble them by the fire. And if sage isn’t your favorite, rosemary or thyme works well too.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the sugar, flour, sage, and salt together. Add the butter slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon. Split the dough in half and mold into two logs. Once they are chilled, slice the logs into ⅓ inch rounds. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Tortilla Cinnamon Sugar Cookies


These are inspired by the Spanish dessert called Buñuelos, which is popular in many South American countries. You can keep the tortilla as is or cut it into strips or use cookie cutters to cut it into festive as the holidays approach. These are great for when you don’t have a lot in the pantry but need to whip up something delicious in a pinch.

What You’ll Need:

  • Two flour tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with wax paper or foil. Cut your shapes out of your tortillas. Melt the butter in one bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another one. Dredge your tortilla in a little butter and then dip into the cinnamon and sugar mix. Only coat one side with the sugar mixture. Place the tortilla shapes on the baking sheet with the cinnamon sugar side up and bake for 12 minutes, or until they are properly crunchy. Let them cool before gobbling up these dessert chips.


There are lots of ways to combine your sweet and salty flavors in desserts. Sometimes the trick is thinking outside the box to discover how to give your favorite dinner spices a new purpose in life.


So, next time you’re hosting a gathering, consider offering guests a dessert flavor duo that’s deliciously unexpected.


About the Author: Edward Lee is a professional dessert expert and avid blogger who loves sharing his knowledge and passion on a variety of food publications. He’s also the National Accounts Manager of BoDeans Baking Group, one of the country’s main suppliers of ice cream toppings wholesale. To learn more, visit http://bodeansbaking.com/blog/ today.




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