Just as the fashion world sees a wave of new trends each year, so does the culinary world. Almost everyone eats dessert after their meal, so pastry chefs are always trying to one-up each other to invent the most unique and delicious desserts (fortunately for us). With 2016, came hundreds of amazing desserts (most being hybrids), but we’ve rounded up the 20 that stand out the most and have been trending on social media.
You can thank us later.
20 Macaron Hybrids
Maracons have been all the rage since being featured in blockbusters like The Great Gatsby and the popular show, Gossip Girl. These dainty French treats typically consist of two almond, sugar, and egg white-based shells held together by a ganache filling.
Macarons come in more flavors than you can imagine! Some of these include green tea, chocolate, caramel, honey-lemon, strawberry, and lavender. They photograph stunningly on Instagram, are colorful, and most importantly, taste amazing! But, as of 2016, the macaron has become subject to the growing “hybrid dessert” trend. You can't just have a regular macaron these days; you have to try a macaron ice cream sandwich or a macaronut (macaron donut)! These treats are a fabulous fusion of a classic French dessert with classic American desserts.
19 Cake In A Jar
For some reason, everything looks more adorable and gift-worthy in a mason jar. This includes cakes of all types including, but not limited to, cheesecake, red velvet cakes, and confetti cakes. To make your own, simply mix the cake batter of your choice in a bowl, pour it evenly into your jars, and bake them. No more worrying about ruining your cake while you’re taking it out of the pan! These cute desserts are easy to make (they don't require fancy icing work to look presentable), portable, remain moist for a long time, and make great party favors. You can even make pies in a jar if that’s more up your alley. With our increasingly busy lives, it's really no wonder that we’re leaning towards desserts that are more convenient.
18 Featuring Classic Candies
Nostalgia runs deep in practically every aspect of life, desserts included. Adding classic childhood candies to desserts is one way of re-living the good old days. That means finding a new purpose for everything from Mars bars to Reese’s pieces and cotton candy. Need to make an impressive birthday cake, but limited on time? Just add a bunch of Reese’s Pieces or M&Ms on the top along with a KitKat border on the sides and call it a day. It looks adorable, tastes amazing, and will bring everyone back to their childhood. You really can’t mess this one up. In fact, it’s a great secret for fixing cakes that if you do mess up, just hide the flaws with candy and no one will know.
17 Donut Cones
Another dessert hybrid that became a trend in 2016 is the donut cone. This awesome alternative to your typical waffle cone is made of cinnamon sugar-covered dough and filled with chocolate and ice cream. This delicious creation originated in Central Europe, where chimney cakes (also known as Trdelník or funnel donuts) are popular.
Donut cones are a modern take on chimney cakes, which are basically dough wrapped around a stick, grilled, and topped with walnuts and sugar. We can thank Good Food Coffee and Bakery, a café in Prague, for beginning this trend which has since spread all over the world. If you’d like to try to make this yourself at home, you can find the recipe here. Be sure to let us know how it goes!
16 Bubble Waffle Cones
Clearly, the days of cardboard-like ice cream cones are long gone. The bubble waffle, or wowfull (as they're called in New York), has actually been around for a long time. These cute waffles originated in Hong Kong in the 1950s but it's only recently that they've been re-discovered and re-invented, resulting in a worldwide trend. The bubble waffle cone consists of puffy egg waffles filled with ice cream and toppings. Could there be a better combination? A lot of people would answer that with a no. The bubble waffle cone provides a perfect sensation of warm and cold, both the waffle mixture and ice cream can be altered to create endless flavor combinations and it looks great on Instagram. You can find the recipe here.
15 Towering Milkshakes With Candy
A plain chocolate milkshake in a regular glass with a crazy straw was enough to make us happy as kids. Now, that just isn't enough. If they could, the new milkshakes in town would laugh at those plain milkshakes of yesteryear.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is a restaurant in New York that made the trend of monster-sized milkshakes combined with cotton candy, lollipops, rainbow sour belts, and more (notice the presence of nostalgia) popular. In fact, they have 12 varieties, some of which have 1,600 calories! After having one of these, you'll never look at a milkshake the same. And if you can’t travel to New York to have one of these, then you can make your own. Here are some great tips for creating a giant, garnished milkshake.
14 Milkshake Cakes (Freakshakes)
If towering milkshakes with candy isn't enough for you, there's a new trend that will probably satisfy you. Sticking with the general dessert hybrid trend, many cafés now offer milkshakes in mason jars topped with whipped cream and a slice of cake, a brownie, or a donut. These sugary concoctions are known as a Freakshakes (for a good reason). Pâtissez, a bakery and café in Canberra, Australia, began this insane dessert trend, which has now made its way around the world. When the dessert was introduced to one shop in London, England, people waited in line for two hours to have a taste! If you’re not down to wait in a long line for one of these (even though it’s totally worth it), you can create your own at home with these delicious recipes.
13 Galaxy Cakes
You can kiss the rainbow cake trend goodbye, because there’s a new cake design in town. Both beautiful and nerdy, the galaxy cake is one of the hottest types of cake designs around (hotter-than-the-sun type of hot). It’s widely agreed upon that their rise in popularity is due to the resurgence of Star Wars.
But, whatever the reason, we’re just glad they’re around to bring pleasure to our eyes and tastebuds. With a black velvet cake, a sea sponge, fine point brush and funky colored dyes, you can create an out-of-this-world cake, too. You can even add white sprinkles to the mixture so that when you cut your cake, you see a sky full of stars. Also, make sure you check out this list of gorgeous, galaxy foods (you won’t be disappointed).
People love to try things from other cultures, especially food. This year, along with Hong Kong's egg waffles and Europe’s chimney cakes, churros are also increasingly popular. Though the origin of the churro is unclear, it's largely considered to be a Spanish treat. It’s believed that Spanish shepherds developed the easy-to-make churro as a substitute for fresh baked goods (which were hard to come by in the mountains).
It's basically a cylindrical piece of fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. Of course, people have come up with a bunch of creative ways to add more kick to the churro—making them super-sized, filling them with Nutella, and covering them with sprinkles or even cereal (which actually makes sense because churros are served for breakfast in much of Latin America).
11 Rolled Ice Cream
It's 2016, and dessertmakers know that their customers would go crazy over something creative, odd, and a bit ironic. But when 10Below Ice Cream (a dessert restaurant in New York City) debuted their rolled ice cream, they didn't expect customers to go that crazy. Some people waited in line for up to three hours!
What's so great about it? Well, rolled ice cream, also called stir-fried ice cream, originated in Thailand where it’s now a popular street food. It's made by pouring custard onto an ice cold griddle and quickly mixing in the flavours. Then, the mixture is flattened out, rolled with a metal scraper and served in a cup. It's delicious, fun to watch them make, and looks really pretty (which, as Instagrammers know, is super important).
10 Mini Desserts
Despite all of these wonderful dessert creations, there's still a movement towards being healthy. You can see this by searching #fitness (which has over 57 million posts) or #gym (with over 67 million posts) on Instagram. But, we all need a #cheatday, right? That's where mini desserts come in.
They give you the opportunity to experience all the workings of a delicious dessert creation, but in a healthy portion. Shot glass cakes, two-bite brownies, and even cake pops all fall into this category. Even if you’re not consciously making an effort to lose weight, mini desserts are great ways to have a little taste of everything, without wasting food. This makes them very handy when throwing a party, especially for kids (and they also add a lot of charm to any dessert table).
9 Deep Fried Oreos
When it comes to desserts, people always like to take things up a notch. That's why it's become a favorite of dessert lovers everywhere to deep fry popular snacks. One of the most popular deep fried snacks is the classic Oreo cookie. Though commonly found at fairs, you can also make them at home. It's really simple to do this; all you need is some pancake mix, milk, eggs, vegetable oil, and a pan that can hold about an inch of oil. Once you create the batter, all you need to do is dip the Oreo into the batter and transfer it to the pan of oil. Wait about two minutes and voilà! You can also add some icing sugar on the top to make it extra tasty.
8 Creative Ice Cream Sandwiches
Ice cream sandwiches are a classic dessert. You remember running to the ice cream truck for these, right? Your parents probably do, too. Ice cream sandwiches have literally been around for over a hundred years. But 2016 put a twist on this classic and the result was a bunch of wild combinations. You can now find donut ice cream sandwiches, macaron ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream sandwiches featuring any type of cookie you can imagine.
In fact, you can create an ice cream sandwich out of anything that can hold a layer of ice cream. Carrot cake? Sure. Brownies? Of course! Mini blueberry pies? Yes, please! Go ahead and try making one, it might just be the next big dessert trend! You can also check out these creative ice cream sandwiches to get some inspiration.
7 Nutella-Filled Anything
Nutella has been around since 1964, but it’s only been in recent years that the hazelnut spread became so popular in North America, achieving somewhat of a cult-like status. Admit it—you probably have a jar of the good stuff in your cupboard right now. Seriously, who doesn't love Nutella? That creamy, hazelnut cocoa goodness makes everything taste better. That's why in 2016, you'll find everything from Nutella-filled churros to Nutella-filled donuts, cakes and cupcakes.
Like ice cream sandwiches, you can add a layer of Nutella to anything (as long as it will hold). Even if it won’t hold, just spread some Nutella on top, anyway! Here are some mouthwatering Nutella recipes that you’ll want to try right now. You’re welcome.
6 Ice Cream Tacos
You can now put ice cream in a cup, waffle cone, bubble waffle cone, or a donut cone. You may think there's nothing new left to try, right? Think again. Ice cream tacos are the latest ice cream trend taking over Instagram. It's just as it sounds: a waffle cone folded into the shape of a hard Mexican taco, and filled with ice cream and toppings. You can mix things up by trying different flavored cones or different combinations of toppings. The red velvet waffle cone appears to be the most popular cone preference on social media. Seems like this dessert is delicious, but pretty messy to eat, especially if you try eating it like an actual taco! Seriously, how does one actually eat this thing?
5 Laced With Spices
Can't choose between sweet and spicy? Now, you don't have to. A huge trend for 2016 is adding spices to desserts. It may sound a bit odd, but spices really add a unique flavor to your dessert and makes for an interesting experience of contrast. Again, this goes back to the interest that people of today have in trying foods from other cultures. This trend has led to the rise in desserts such as Tabasco chocolate chip cookies and cayenne dark chocolate brownies. Some restaurants even add spirits along with the spices to give an even more enjoyable dessert experience. The fusion of sweet and spicy is like a party for your tastebuds. If you’d like to try it for yourself, check out these Tabasco dessert recipes.
4 Skillet Cookies
Regular-sized cookies (like regular-sized milkshakes) are on their way to becoming a thing of the past. These days, it's all about the giant cookies. But if you’d like an upgrade from a hard, giant cookie, put some cookie batter in an oven-proof skillet. Then, bake it for about 15 minutes to get a warm, chewy, delicious skillet cookie (often called a panookie) that could serve as the perfect base for ice cream. To make things even more interesting, you could stuff it with Nutella!
Adding M&Ms, marshmallows, or butterscotch are just some of the other amazing skillet cookie ideas. This dessert makes the perfect snack for a stay-at-home movie night with your boyfriend or girlfriend. And, once you’ve mastered the skillet cookie, you can go on to try some of these other skillet dessert recipes.
3 Recipes Featuring Cereal
Cereal is a huge trend in 2016, but not as part of your typical breakfast, as you might expect. Your favorite cereals such as Corn Flakes, Honey Nut Cheerios, Reese’s Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Froot Loops are now being added to any dessert you can think of. We all know about Rice Krispies treats and cereal bars already, but now you can find cereal on churros, ice cream, cupcakes, and more. Now you can have dessert for breakfast, like you've always dreamed! It can work for anyone, whether you like the sugary cereals or the healthier variety. This trend also ties into the nostalgic dessert trend, as most of us ate these cereals when we were kids. Get some great inspiration and recipe ideas here.
2 Mirror Glazed
From donuts to cakes, mirror glaze makes desserts look almost too pretty to eat (almost). As the name suggests, the glaze is an extremely smooth and reflective icing. In 2016, these beautiful desserts took the internet by storm thanks to the baker Olga Noskova, whose Instagram is every perfectionist's dream (even Britney Spears gave her a shout-out)! She’s definitely a master at making galactic cakes with mirror finishes, too. These can all make for some creative and artistic food photography. The mirror glaze can be made in a variety of ways and flavors, but it is most easily made by adding gelatin to water and sugar. Unfortunately for us, Olga's specific recipe remains a secret. You can see more of her breathtaking creations here.
1 Cookie Shots
Just when you thought that no one could take simple milk and cookies to another level, along comes pastry chef Dominique Ansel (the same guy that invented the cronut). In spring of 2016, he introduced the world to cookie shots, which are shot glass-shaped cookies that you can drink milk out of. He created the dessert for the Cookies for Kids' Cancer 3rd Annual Chefs for Kids' Cancer Gala in New York City to help raise childhood cancer awareness. So, you should try one since it’s for a good cause. His original creation featured a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla milk, but you can make other variations, like a red velvet cookie shot with chocolate milk. Now you can satisfy your bar-loving self and your inner child with one dessert!
Sources: theatlantic.com, marthastewart.com, sunnywithachanceofsprinkles.com, restaurantbusinessonline.com, dailymail.co.uk, dailyedge.ie, businessinsider.com.au, huffingtonpost.com, sprinklebakes.com, bakerella.com, allrecipes.com, nutella.com, tabascofoodservice.com, today.com, dominiqueansel.com