How to make your desserts shine with a little help from freeze-dried fruit powder, culinary shimmer dusts, cacao nibs, crispy pearls and pastry flakes.
It is said that we eat with our eyes and I couldn’t agree more. Of course, the pretty-looking whatever needs to taste as good, or better, than it looks. You know, like that other adage – it’s what’s on the inside. Today, however, is all about how to make your desserts shine on the exterior.
When adding finishing touches to my desserts, my preference is almost always edible. Don’t get me wrong, I love the addition of sugar flowers to cakes. Or, you can make your own sprinkles, like I did here. However, although considered edible, they certainly aren’t palatable.
This is where buttercream (or ganache) flowers, frills and dollops come in, but not everyone likes a mouthful of buttercream. Nonpareils, sprinkles and the like will do the trick, but colour choices are sometimes limited and are generally short on flavour. Time to get creative.
The possibilities are endless, but today I am using cacao nibs, chocolate crunchy pearls, paillete feuilletine and chocolate flakes. I used a combination of freeze-dried fruit powder, food shimmer powder and cocoa butter to add a little glamour and flavour.
Cacao nibs are a great snack or add-in for baked goods and chocolate when a little chocolatey crunch, without the added sugar, is desired. You can use them to garnish your desserts as is, but to add a little drama and shine, I tossed them in a mixture of freeze-dried passion fruit and gold dust.
Of course, you can simply use the gold dust on its own for an even more brilliant shine. I added the fruit powder for a pop of additional flavour for a recipe I’ll be sharing soon.
These chocolate flakes are a wonderful addition to truffles and cakes. I made them next-level with a little cocoa butter and raspberry fruit powder. You can spray the cocoa butter for a more even application, or toss the flakes in melted and cooled cocoa butter. Mycryo powdered cocoa butter is also a great option.
This batch also has a touch of shimmer dust to amp up the shine. In another batch I used Matcha – so pretty! You will see them in full splendour on an upcoming cake!
These Valrhona Dulcey crispy pearls are addictive on their own, or atop a dessert. Toss in some edible colour and take them from tan to bronze, or any colour you desire.
Paillete Feuilletine is used in French pastry, but I am all too happy to eat it straight from the package. Adding a little shine to use them as garnish is stupid-simple, but the result is simply stunning.
Sweet Tips for How To Make Your Dessert Shine:
- Use shimmer dusts that are intended for culinary purposes. Look for those labelled as ‘FDA-Approved’ or ‘Food-Safe’. A non-toxic label does not necessarily mean it is meant for culinary use.
- If paillete feuilletine isn’t available to you, try corn flakes or frosted flakes cereal. Corn flakes is better if you want to avoid addition sweetness.
- I love freeze-dried fruit (and vegetable) powders and have used them quite a bit in my recipes and on my blog. Check out my post on how I use them here. They are a perfectly delicious and natural way to add colour and flavour to sweet and savoury creations.
- I purchase my ingredients locally, but you can find cacao nibs, crispy pearls and chocolate flakes online. Or just use the sprinkles and nonpariels you already have one hand to start.
- Experiment and have fun!