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Taking nibbles to a new level

 | July 3, 2012

The charms of the downsized dessert.


IT used to be that the bigger they are, the better. Well, not anymore. In a society obsessed with calorie count and increasing waistlines, food marketers have decided to think small. From pop cakes to muffins, bite-sized desserts fill up the huge craving for something sinful and sweet.

At Artisan Coffee in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, the Grasshopper snack-sized bar goes well with the latte. Not that the cafe is short on regular-portioned cakes and slices. The bars, including one chocolate/caramel combo, are the kind of dessert that stops the cravings when you just want something to complement your afternoon drink.

The move toward smaller desserts began some years ago, prompted by, among other things, the trend towards healthier eating. Another factor that has made these nugget-sized desserts popular is that they offer you more tasting choices in one seating, without leaving you with too much guilt pangs or unwanted leftovers (read  wastage). You can have a strawberry shortcake and a lychee panna cotta at the same time. Plus, you don’t have to share!

It is this exactly this that has regular Aileen Ng going back to Tea FortyTwo in Subang’s Empire Shopping Gallery time and again.

“I’m one of those who used to eat my desserts first before my main course because I have a sweet tooth and never pass up on the desserts no matter how full I feel,” she says.

But her plan can sometimes backfire and leave her feeling sick from overindulging. At the tea salon, she finds the elegant, mini desserts just the right size to end a meal without having to feel she’s overeaten.

For many cafes and patisseries, the real immediate challenge to downsizing their desserts is maintaining taste credibility. When you’re cramming a slice of, say, Black Forest cake into a dessert glass, you’ve got exactly that much legroom to have all the flavours come across.

So the desserts need to be intense. To this end, many pastry and cake chefs refuse to compromise on quality ingredients, using anything from vanilla beans (not extract) to high quality chocolate and the best eggs you can find. So when you do stack the snack-sized desserts against its original sibling, don’t be surprised if the former actually wins more points when it comes to taste and flavour.


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