Guajillo chile chocolate cake
Lori Sauer, executive pastry chef, El Roy’s Tequila Bar + Kitchen, Coronado, Calif.
Pastry star Lori Sauer oversees all of the sweet treats at Blue Bridge Hospitality’s ten different concepts. Travels to Mexico gave Sauer inspiration for this guajillo-spiked chocolate cake that also features rich dulce de leche, crunchy candied sesame and Mexican vanilla ice cream. Sauer chose guajillos instead of the usual-suspect chipotle pepper because “it doesn’t have that overpowering smokiness,” she said, adding that instead, the guajillo is softer and fruitier. “The cake is essentially a twist on what you typically see in a Mexican mole …You have the sweet element from dulce de leche and chocolate, the spice from the guajillo and a little nuttiness from candied sesames and pepitas.”
Boston Snow Storm
Zoe Ezrailson, executive pastry chef, Mirabelle, Washington, D.C.
Think of this dessert as the tiny-house version of croquembouche, that skyscraper/showstopper made of choux balls and held together with caramel, then crossed with a Boston cream pie. It’s also a nod to Boston’s fierce winters, with the chocolate-dipped, Boston cream-filled, brown sugar craquelin-baked profiteroles snowed in with vigorous shakes of 10x powdered sugar. “It’s a fun play on Boston cream pie and a croquembouche…playful and delicious,” Executive Pastry Chef Zoe Ezrailson said.
Elaine Townsend, pastry chef, The Bakery at Fat Rice, Chicago
This brownie was the first chocolate item at Fat Rice’s bakery arm, which is known for Chinese-inspired pastries like oolong crumb cake and pastries with roussong (pork floss) and salted egg yolks. So in this setting, chocolate is the newbie on the menu. For this dessert, Pastry Chef Elaine Townsend found that miso lends umami to chocolate, and the guise of a brownie makes adventurous dessert choices feel safe. “Even though not everyone is familiar with our more adventurous menu items and ingredients, everyone can form a personal connection with a simple brownie,” Townsend said. “Once the brownies were added, they really took off.”
Half-baked chocolate bento
Brian Redzikowski, executive chef, The Grass Skirt, San Diego
Like a reliable comet of the dessert universe, the molten lava chocolate cake was bound to come back to us. Luckily, it’s made super cool at The Grass Skirt, infused with tiki culture and served in a fun bento box. The melty chocolate main event is ensconced by banana slices cooked down to caramel incarnate and vanilla bean ice cream. The effect is a juxtaposition of temperatures, textures, times and places.