There are five basic taste categories the taste buds perceive:
Sweetness is recognized by the presence of sugar. It is predominant in desserts but also creates great contrast with salty and sour.
Sourness can be added through a variety of acidic foods, such as vinegars and citrus fruits.
Saltiness enhances flavor, intensifies sweetness and suppresses bitterness.
Bitterness may be found in a variety of foods, including chocolate and coffee. When not in balance, bitter can be offensive, but in very small quantities it adds richness and depth.
Umami is described as a savory, often mouthwatering taste perceived when eating meat, fish, cheeses such as Parmesan and certain vegetables such as asparagus.
Dessert is an indulgence, and when you delight in the taste, texture and aroma of a decadent sweet treat, you savor every bite. It is easy to get lost in the flavor and fragrance of rich chocolate or creamy caramel.
But what happens when chocolate or caramel are paired with different flavor profiles such as salty, sour or savory? Spurred by curiosity, the food scientists in the Wilton Test Kitchen dug deeper into unusual flavor pairings to enhance the taste experience.
While the terms “taste” and “flavor” are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. The taste of a food is what the taste buds perceive, while the flavor of a food is the combination of these tastes, plus the aroma and the other sensations.
Taste notes: Coffee increases the bitterness of the chocolate for richer, deeper flavor, and toffee adds rich buttery notes and caramelized sugar flavors.
1 cup water
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 (16.2-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (8-ounce) package English toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups.
In a small bowl, combine water and instant coffee; stir to dissolve.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, coffee, eggs and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl frequently. Then, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill baking cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on cooling grid to cool completely.
For ganache, combine cream and instant coffee in small saucepan; stir to dissolve. Warm over medium heat until cream begins to steam; do not boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
Place 1/2 cup ganache in disposable decorating bag. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, create a small hole in the center of each cupcake; pipe in ganache. Dip tops of cupcakes in remaining ganache; lightly shake off excess. Immediately dip cupcake in toffee bits. Makes about 24 cupcakes.
Taste notes: Brie has creamy texture and is a soft-ripened cheese with mild flavor; honey adds sweetness and balances the cheese flavor; pear also adds sweetness; and cardamom adds a slight bitter note.
1 sheet ( 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce box) puff pastry, thawed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey, divided
1 1/2 cups diced, peeled firm ripe pear
1/2 (4-ounce) wheel, brie, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 24-cavity mini muffin pan with vegetable pan spray.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry; roll out to about 8 by 12 inches. Cut into 24 squares, about 2 by 2 inches. Press each square into a prepared pan cavity.
In a small bowl, stir together cardamom, salt and 2 tablespoons of the honey. Add pears; toss to coat. Add 1 heaping teaspoon pear mixture to each pastry tartlet.
Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Immediately top with pieces of brie. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove to cooling grid. Drizzle remaining honey over tartlets and serve immediately. Makes about 2 dozen tartlets.
Taste notes: Greek yogurt adds sour cultured notes and creamy texture; sourness is balanced by the sweet honey, which contributes floral notes; and raspberries add fruity flavor, which is also slightly floral.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons honey, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, divided
4 Wilton 8-inch Cookie Sticks, cut in half
In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, cream, 1/4 cup honey and vanilla until smooth.
Place one whole raspberry in the bottom of each cavity of an 8-cavity brownie pop mold. Cut the remaining raspberries into quarters.
To assemble pops, spoon 1 1/2 teaspoon yogurt mixture over raspberry in mold cavity; lightly tap mold against work surface to level. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon pistachios over yogurt and then 1/4 teaspoon honey over pistachios. Repeat, layering yogurt, pistachios and honey, as listed above, lightly tapping mold to level. Add a quartered piece of raspberry; top with remaining yogurt mixture and lightly tap to level. Insert sticks about 2/3 into pop; freeze at least 3 hours or overnight. Makes 8 pops.