Dessert Goals

Dessert Goals

My first grade teacher taught me the difference between desert and dessert with this helpful line about the S’s: If you’re lost in the desert, you’ll be glad there’s only one. If dessert is on the table, you’ll want more.

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The 20+ tables at Dessert Goals created an oasis of saccharine salvation in a pastel paradise. Aside from a candy bar and salt bar, we all received much needed boxed water and toothpaste at the event. Each vendor had various treats. The variety among them was impressive – who knew there were so many portable desserts? It was a bit overwhelming, but I’ve pulled together some highlights!

Craziest confection: Cheetos Macaron from Macaron Parlour. This was actually really delicious. The cookie bit was dusted with real cheese powder and the frosting tasted a bit lemony? I couldn’t quite place the taste. It was like nothing I’ve tried before, but I was delightfully surprised. All the traditional macarons were to die for.

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Take-home Treat: Artisan tarts by Megpies. I bought a 4-pack of these at the event and it wasn’t nearly enough. These are a MUST HAVE in my bag at all times now. Forget everything you thought you remembered about Pop-tarts because these are so much better, thicker, chewier and tastier. Ugh. I am so sad I ate them all and have to wait for my order to be delivered.

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Sweets to Skip: The cake pop vendor. They were adorable and incredibly well crafted, but not very tasty. I love me some cake, and I actually spit out my bite of pancake cake pop and tossed the rest. Still, I wasn’t disappointed with this buy. Ryan loved the pizza one so maybe my cake buds were off?

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Nostalgic Nibbles: Push-up cakepops from POP Cakeshop. These were really fun and messy. Each pop was customizable with choices for cake flavor, frosting, and toppings. I picked chocolate cake, cream cheese frosting, sprinkles and cinnamon toast crunch because I was feeling a breakfast vibe all day. Probably how I ended up with pancake cake pops and artisan pop-tarts!

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Regrets: I did NOT pick up one of these disco dreamsicle artisan twinkies from Sugar Monster. What is wrong with me? They were the most beautiful things there! I think I was overwhelmed by the colors and craftsmanship of the confections on their table. If I ever get married, I’m commissioning a kick ass cake from them.

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Tell me about your favorite dessert and why you love it so much? I will spend hours geeking out over sweets.

 

 

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How To Taste and Judge Grilled Cheese

Adapted from a previous version I wrote after the 2012 Big Cheesy (I miss the Big Cheesy).

Much has been written about the arts of wine and chocolate tasting. However, the most refined palates simply must learn the required method of sampling an exquisite fromage grillé. Please, allow me to guide you into the world of toasted cheese as you’ve never experienced it before.

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Tasting always begins with the eyes. Note the color of the bread. Is it golden or a deep bronze? Is it completely burnt? Does the butter give the bread a wet sheen, a just-kissed gloss or a saturated spongy soppiness? What of the cheese? Is it peeking from the edges, bubbling softly or is it rolling like magma onto the plate? Lastly, pay attention to the cut. Whether your sample is a square, triangle, circle or star, it has been specifically crafted that way for a reason.

Aroma. Get your nose right between the slices and into the sandwich. What do you notice? (Did you burn your nose? Too close. Wipe that cheese off.)

Texture. Sink your teeth into it. A good toasted cheese sandwich should have a signature crunch. A great sandwich boasts a thin, yet substantial topical crust with soft bread and cheese blending in the center. Some prefer a harder crunch throughout the bread juxtaposed by the soft meltiness of the cheese center.

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Cold ales and ambers pair well with grilled cheese and cleanse the palate

Meltiness. This is a crucial factor in tasting grilled cheese. Is the cheese melted properly? There’s nothing worse than partially melted or still-solid chunks of cheese interrupting an otherwise enjoyable experience. Keep in mind, different cheeses and/or combinations of cheese melt differently.

Bread to Cheese Ratio. There should not be too much bread. Likewise, there should not be too much cheese. This is a delicate balance. In the case of stronger cheeses, toasted-cheesemongers may use less cheese with a combination of fillers like spinach, ham, mushrooms or other additions that will compliment the cheese without overpowering the sandwich.

Little Muenster Tasty Trio

A Toasty Trio by Little Muenster

Flavor. You should already know your cheeses, of course, so pay attention to the notes in cheese combinations. If there are any additional ingredients like vegetables, sauces or meats, identify them and ruminate on what they bring to the overall experience as well as how they blend individually.

Pairings. If your sample comes with a accoutrements, try them. With wine, sip after each bite. If it’s a shot of soup, try both dipping the grilled cheese into the soup and sipping the soup after a clean bite. If the sandwich is topped with a relish or drizzled with chocolate, do not brush it off. When in doubt, ask the toasted-cheesemonger for their recommendation for consumption.

Hungry? If you’re ready to put your newly acquired tasting skills to the test (you’re welcome, by the way), try some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in New York at the Atwood’s Winter Grilled Cheese Festival.