Entries in Desserts (3)


Tiny Treats: America’s Favorite Desserts Seem to Be Shrinking

Baked By Melissa(NEW YORK) -- The icing on the cake. The cherry on the sundae. For many of us, nothing tops desserts.

But something confounding is happening to our confections: Our tarts are now tiny. Our Danish is downright diminutive.

And just when you didn’t think your favorite sweet treat couldn’t get any smaller, there’s New York City’s trendy micro-cupcake maker, Baked by Melissa.

Standing an inch tall and an inch and a half wide, these tiny cupcakes, stuffed with flavors like peanut butter and jelly or s’mores, pack between 38 and 45 calories each and sell for about $1. Owner Melissa Bushell said the size of her cupcakes appeals to her customers because they get the best of both diet worlds.

“Everybody’s health conscious these days and we like to indulge,” Bushell said. “I think that when we started the company it was the beginning of the economic decline and people were feeling like they want to save their money but indulging in a bite-size stuffed cupcake for just a dollar or 12 for $10, it’s not a lot.”

Of course, the concept is not entirely new. Dunkin’ Donuts has offered munchkin doughnut holes for decades. But with the new focus on portion control and serving size, all kinds of sweets are downsizing.

Cinnabon introduced mini-buns -- alongside its 730-calorie classic roll. Starbucks has stocked its shelves with petite treats, such as the cake pop. Dairy Queen now offers a mini-blizzard, and at Baskin Robbins, cake bites.

And then there’s your grocery aisle, filled with “two-bite” bags of cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels and more.

Still, if America’s sweet tooth is robust as ever -- we just spent an estimated $2.1 billion on Easter candy -- why aren’t our desserts? Bon Appetit magazine’s chef Mary Nolan said it’s all about bakers giving the customer what they want.

“They’re thinking people might not commit to say, the whole pie, but if we can sell them a tiny miniature pie that’s just so cute, who’s going to pass up on that?” she said.

Maybe the health conscious can have their cake and eat it too and if you have a little self-discipline, and that’s a big “if,” perhaps we no longer have to worry about our eyes being bigger than our stomachs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sweethearts Tend to Hit the Sweets, Says Study

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GETTYSBURG, Pa.) -- As Halloween approaches, parents around the country will warn their kids not to eat all their candy at once. It may rot their teeth out and make them gain a few pounds, but it also may show just how sweet they are.

That’s according to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Brian Meier, an associate professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, and his colleagues analyzed five studies that related to taste and behavior. Even after controlling for positive mood and reward, researchers found that people who eat sweet foods tend to be more agreeable and cooperative than those who eat non-sweet foods.

“It looks like metaphors related to taste sensations in terms of behavior are more than just devices for communication,” said Meier. “There is this theory of embodiment. People who we considered ‘sweet’ preferred sweet foods.”

Those who enjoyed sweets also seemed to be more likely to volunteer. Specifically for one study, people were more likely to help clean up their city after a major flood.

Of course, several limitations put the results in question. The studies were small -- the largest included 108 participants. The results were self-reported, correlated in result, and researchers did not test for other tastes (i.e. Are people who prefer bitter foods more bitter by nature?).

So, it’s a bit early to say that people who eat sweets are sweeter and those who load on the salt are saltier, but researchers plan to expand their research in the future by studying other tastes.

“We’d like to examine taste with other personalities,” said Meier. “It may tell us a lot more about how people differ in nature than we think it does.”

In the meantime, go ahead and eat that bit of chocolate. Hey, you’re just showing others how darn sweet you are.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Healthy Desserts? Popular Chains Shrink Treats, Cut Calories

Sold at Starbucks, cake pops are a portable combination of cake and icing, double dipped in premium chocolate. (Starbucks)(NEW YORK) -- Mini desserts are the latest trend to hit the food market. The bite-sized versions of favorite sweets offer all the taste without all the calories and guilt, especially if you aren't looking for a huge snack that will leave you sluggish. So, ABC's Good Morning America took a bite out of the most popular ones and here's the roundup.

Starbucks' Cake Pop: Starbucks recently launched its "Petites" line offering little snacks that will sweeten your afternoon calories. The treats are less that 200 calories and cost $1.50. Cake pops come in flavors such as tiramisu and rocky road, but if that's not your thing, there are also mini cupcakes and lemon squares.

The Mini-Blizzard: Dairy Queen's Blizzard is practically an American classic, but the 16-ounce size can have up to 470 calories. Now, DQ has offered an alternative for soft-serve lovers, the mini. The 6-ounce mini cup has about 200 calories.

Crumbs' Taste Cupcake:
The popular chain Crumbs has cupcakes in three sizes: their smallest, taste, which is about 100 calories, the classic size, which ranges from 220 to 440 calories, and finally the largest, or signature, which ranges from 400 to 660 calories.

PF Chang's Great Wall of Chocolate and New York Style Cheesecake Desserts: PF Chang's knows how to do chocolate desserts, and its Great Wall of Chocolate is one of the most popular. The normal dessert is meant to be divided among four people and has an average of 360 calories per person. But the mini is just 160 calories.

Now for the New York style cheesecake. PF Chang's has nailed the rich and decadent classic. The normal cake, which is meant for two people, averages 450 calories per person. If you opt for the mini, however, it's only 210 calories.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio