Dee Laffan's Top 6 Healthy Dessert Trends

Drink | 16th March 2017

In the ongoing pursuit for healthier alternatives for after-dinner guilty pleasures, food writer Dee Laffan looks at some upcoming healthy dessert trends to feed into your menus and tickle your customers’ fancy this year.

1. Nuts for coconut!
The power of coconut seems to know no bounds as the range of desserts with coconut-based ingredients grows ever-increasingly larger. Coconut ingredients include flour, milk, cream, oil, and desiccated / flaked coconut. They are versatile and make a dairy alternative if needed. Coconut ingredients can be used to make panna cotta, rice (tapioca) pudding, crème brûlée, coconut cream pie, macaroons and any number of cakes! Plus coconut ice cream is also a favourite and can easily be added to other desserts for a versatile, à la mode option on the menu.

2. Raw all the way.
In addition to being incredibly tasty, raw or no-bake desserts can be a healthier choice and a lot easier to make in a bustling kitchen! Many raw desserts, such as brownies, cakes, chocolate mousses and cheesecakes, tend to be vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free so are suitable for customers with special dietary requirements. Flour is substituted with avocado and medjool dates that blend together with a variety of options of nuts, raisins, coconut products, to name but a few. Chia seeds are a great emulsifier and used for lots of no-bake recipes too, which can save time and oven space during busy service periods.

3. Night, night smoothies.
Last year smoothies were the cleansers du jour but this year it’s all about soup! No surprise then that smoothies are popping up at the end of menus instead, and for more good reasons too. It is thought that enjoying blends of fruit and other foods that aid digestion and sleep can help our overall mood and focus. Of course, it helps that some of these healthy smoothies taste like dessert favourites e.g. Red Velvet Green Smoothie – contains beets, banana, almond milk, spinach leaves and dates; or Cinnamon Roll Smoothie – contains rolled oats, bananas, almond milk and cinnamon; or Apple Pie Smoothie – contains spinach, Greek yoghurt and fresh apples. Adding a smoothie to a dessert menu provides a nutritious alternative for your health-minded customers.

4. Quinoa & chocolate – a match made in heaven.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a nutritional powerhouse that has soared up the healthy food ranks in the past few years. Like other ingredients mentioned here, it is a great alternative ingredient for chefs looking for a gluten-free or grain-free option on their menus. While it is normally associated with salads for lunch or dinnertime meals, it actually works so well in chocolate desserts! You can use it in chocolate pudding, chocolate chip cookies, cake, brownies and chocolate fudge. Of course, the recipes in mind are healthier options with coconut or almond products used to keep the sugar content low.

5. Blondie is the new brownie.
Blondies are not a new trend, but their popularity as a healthy dessert will be catapulted to new heights in 2017. The reason being that they are so simple to make, especially if short on time in a restaurant kitchen, and so low in sugar! They also include nut butters, which is still a trend in itself, and seed butters will follow suit this year too. Making batches of blondies ahead of peak service times will save precious time during rush hour, and serving with a scoop of coconut ice cream offers a healthy, ultramodern twist.

6. Turmeric is king!
Anti-inflammatory food has already made an impression in 2016, and it will continue to make its mark this year. Turmeric is the ingredient at the top of the ranks here due to its anti-oxidant properties. Now it is being used in desserts as a new trend. It marries well with citrus, so desserts such as orange and turmeric cake, mango and turmeric cheesecake, and almond and turmeric tea cake are amazing, and spicy ginger cookies are great too. A golden latté is also a drink that is growing in popularity, made with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and coconut milk. It’s delicious and a great, post-meal beverage for coffee-shy customers!

A Quick Bite…

Healthy snacks are more popular than ever at the moment with more and more demand from health-conscious customers. Here are five healthy snack trends to look out for!

  • Spicy popcorn
  • Protein bars
  • Meat snacks
  • Coconut flakes (or chips)
  • Seed and nut trail mix

For lots of the ingredients mentioned, browse the Musgrave MarketPlace online store.

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