Sweet and Salty Desserts
Milk-Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust
This dessert from pastry chef Colleen Grapes, a tribute to the chocolate-covered pretzel, hits just the right salty-sweet note. Grapes mixes crushed pretzels with flour, butter, sugar and egg to make a crunchy crust, pours in a luxurious milk-chocolate filling, then sprinkles on more crushed pretzels as a garnish.
Here, tender caramel tops a dense, buttery crust in Zoe Nathan's delicious salty-sweet treats.
Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Red Miso Buttercream
Chef Erik Bruner-Yang adds umami to the classic sugar-salt combination by spreading these crisp-chewy chocolate-chip cookies with a rich, sweet-savory miso buttercream that’s flecked with minced lemon verbena.
Ice Cream Bonbons
Kendra Baker uses caramel ice cream in her bonbons, which have a silky chocolate shell and flaky sea salt on top.
Salted Caramel Pie
This supereasy pie is a caramel lovers' dream. The filling is sweetened condensed milk sprinkled lightly with sea salt and baked until thick and gooey, then chilled in a simple graham cracker crust.
Salted Fudge Brownies
Kate Krader has been making these fudgy, sweet-salty brownies since she was 10 years old. As a kid she used regular table salt; now she recommends a flaky sea salt like Maldon, because the flavor is less harsh and it melts so nicely into the batter, accentuating the chocolaty sweetness.
Vanilla Bean Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce
"I tried making this as an upside-down cake, which was a disaster, but then I realized I could just pour the caramel on top," Valerie Gordon says.
Salted Shortbread Cookies
Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans
Kat Kinsman tops her rich brownies with bacon and pecans. To enhance the smoky flavor, she mixes some of the bacon fat into the batter.
Chocolate Pots de Crème with Maple Caramel and Salt
Pastry chef Michael Laiskonis serves this milk-chocolaty dessert in an eggshell with caramel foam; it's known as "the egg." It's just as good in ramekins, topped with a simple caramel sauce blended with maple syrup.
Chocolate Wafers with Ginger, Fennel and Sea Salt
Dark chocolate with a high cacao content is lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants than milk chocolate. For this ingenious snack, Grace Parisi coats wafer-thin crispbreads in dark chocolate so that they seem like candy bars studded with flaky Maldon sea salt, chewy crystallized ginger and candied fennel seeds.
Cranberry-Pecan Bread Pudding with Bacon
A good loaf of cranberry-nut bread from a bakery has so much flavor that there's no need to trick it up with lots of ingredients. As the pudding bakes, the bread becomes almost custardlike, with a crispy brown top.
Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars
This is Grace Parisi's sophisticated version of magic bars, that chocolate-coconut bake-sale favorite. Browning the butter gives the crust a nutty flavor; cooking it in a metal baking dish makes it extra crisp. In a touch inspired by pastry chefs' favorite new ingredient, Grace adds bacon to the filling.
Butterscotch Pots de Crème with Caramel Sauce
"I have a lot of guys from Oaxaca in my kitchen, and they put salt on everything," says Travis Lett. "When I saw one of them add salt to this dessert, I thought, Hey, that's a great idea."
Molten Chocolate Cake with Caramel Filling
Chocolate-Cayenne Cocktail Cookies
Dorie Greenspan loves using Valrhona cocoa to make these spicy, unexpectedly tender cookies, flecked with flaky Maldon salt. "It's so rich and dark," she says.
Chocolate-Almond Saltine Toffee
Pastry chef Nicole Plue was intrigued by a recipe she discovered for matzo covered in toffee and chocolate. But she knew she could improve it by using crackers instead of matzo for a hit of salt. Now the saltines, slathered with buttery toffee and bittersweet chocolate, are a favorite on her petit four tray.