Gluten-Free Chocolate-Chile Cakes
Sweet-sticky dates and cooked beets are the base for these flourless chocolate cakes from bloggers Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley. The tangy yogurt frosting coupled with a little heat from cayenne and crushed red pepper makes them fun to eat.
"In Japan I got into all different flours, like roasted soy flour," says Stella Parks. "Then I thought, Why not use nut flour to make gluten-free brownies."
Pistachio Pavlovas with Oranges and Blood Orange Sorbet
If you can find them, use blood oranges instead of lighter-colored navels because darker pigments deliver more antioxidants.
Coconut Crème Caramel
Coconut milk enriches and flavors this custard. Zang Toi suggests using fragrant pandan juice (from the palm-like pandan tree) instead of vanilla for a more Malaysian flavor.
These are among the simplest macarons, made with only sugar, almond flour, egg whites and red food coloring—and a filling of raspberry jam.
Dulce de Leche Crispies
For a grown-up twist on the classic Rice Krispies Treats, Marcia Kiesel ingeniously swaps out marshmallows for the Latin American dessert sauce dulce de leche, then adds even more crunch with toasted, sliced almonds. This dessert is caramelly, nutty and amazingly crispy.
Almond, Elderflower and Lime Travel Cakes
Inspired by French travel cakes (small sweets meant for bringing to parties, picnics and other events), William Werner created these miniature desserts. He calls them "gussied-up pound cakes."
Triple-Layer Chocolate Macaroon Cake
François Payard layers chewy coconut cake with silky chocolate ganache. The beauty of the recipe is its simplicity: It has only six ingredients.
Frozen Chocolate-Chip Meringata
Meringata—Italian for "meringue cake"—is an elegant yet homey frozen dessert of whipped cream sandwiched between meringue rounds. Rolando Beramendi slices the meringata and serves it with a warm chocolate-espresso sauce.
Sticky Oat-and-Pine-Nut Bars
These chewy, nutty, white-chocolate-dipped sweets are a little bit granola bar, a little bit trail mix. Pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez wanted to put his own imprint on the portable snacks, so he added a twist: a good dose of spicy black pepper.
These sandwich cookies get plenty of rich chocolate flavor from cocoa powder and an intense ganache filling.
Melissa Rubel Jacobson sets out bowls of flavored ganache and dishes of coatings so guests can create their own truffles to give as gifts.
Fudgy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies
New York pastry chef François Payard's divinely gooey chocolate cookies are flourless.
Brutti Ma Buoni
These crunchy-chewy cookies, sold at bakeries all over Lazio, are called brutti ma buoni in Italian, or "ugly but good." The name pretty much says it all. Antico Forno Molinari, in operation in the town of Frascati since the 1800s, makes this delicious and effortless four-ingredient version.
Rice Pudding with Butternut Squash and Sweet Milk Tea
Inspired by the not-too-sweet rice puddings of India, Hugh Acheson keeps the sugar to a minimum in this version made with rice grits (broken grains of rice). In a nod to the South's favorite drink, he tops the pudding with sweetened milk that's been flavored with tea and spices. The most unexpected ingredient: butternut squash. "I think it can work really well in dessert," he says.
Gluten-Free Almond Cake
Belinda Leong doesn’t intentionally make virtuous desserts, but this cake just happens to be gluten-free. It has a remarkable, light texture and an intense almond flavor. Leong suggests using a high-quality almond paste that’s at least 66 percent almond. “The cheaper stuff tastes fake,” she says.
Matcha-Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
The French macaron is a simple cookie made with almonds, sugar and egg whites. The recipe here includes green tea powder (matcha), which gives it a delightful flavor. These ice cream sandwiches layer store-bought green-tea and vanilla ice creams on crispy, chewy green tea macarons.
Soy Milk-Arborio Rice Pudding with Poached Figs
The arborio rice in Joe Bastianich's lightly sweet pudding provides complex carbohydrates for energy. Since the pudding keeps well in the refrigerator, Joe Bastianich makes it in big batches, then reheats portions for quick breakfasts.