Great things come in small packages
While the expression, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach,” is all too common when it comes to desserts, the trend toward downsizing to bite-sized treats is gaining steam. Petits fours and other single-portioned desserts complement the “everything in moderation” approach to indulgence that many consumers are adopting because, after all, a little indulgence is better than none at all.
According to Carly Fields, pastry chef and manager of Tart Bakery in Dallas, Texas, “Having bite-sized desserts allows for more choices and variety. I believe most people do not want to commit to one dessert, and the bite-sized desserts allow them to have fun and try more things. At events, they are a more social way of ending your meal as they are easy to carry around and you do not feel glued to your seat eating a piece of cake. You can mingle with a petit four in one hand and glass of champagne in the other.”
This same mindset is reflected in recent statistics. According to Datassential Menu Trends, miniature desserts showed up on about 12 percent of all restaurant menus last year, which is nearly double from where it was 2005. And bite-sized and mini desserts ranked second on Statista’s list of the 10 leading trends in desserts on restaurant menus, forecasted by professional chefs for 2015.
The “why” bite-sized desserts should now be clear, so let’s now look at the “what” and “how.”
Generally speaking, petits fours are bite-sized pieces of cake delicately covered in fondant with either a fondant or buttercream decoration.
“Petits fours can be described as dainty, timeless, bite-sized pieces of heaven,” said Ka’Rita Pickens, owner of Kraze Kreations in Bessemer, Alabama.
Petits fours often require more skill than other bakery items, but they’re the perfect size on which to display monograms, images, or other requests for customers’ special events. Another bonus of petits fours is that the flavor possibilities are endless. You cannot go wrong with traditional staples, though.
“We offer petits fours in three different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry,” Fields said. “In addition to these, we always offer custom options such as colors and decorations to accommodate your party theme and celebration.”
“For us, our White Velvet and Rockin’ Red Velvet are the most popular,” Pickens said.
Other Bite-Sized Options
While cookies, brownies, and cupcakes still appear to be among the most popular mini desserts, other miniature pastries in addition to petits fours have shown strong growth.
“In our shop, we also carry a variety of mini cupcakes and tea cakes to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth,” Pickens said.
And at Tart Bakery, “Our other popular bite-sized desserts include French macarons, cake balls, and a vast array of tartlets and mini pies, including cherry lattice, chocolate caramel, and key lime,” Fields said.
In addition to those great options, other bite-sized treats to consider include cannolis, tassies, whoopee pies, mini éclairs, chocolate-covered fruit, gourmet marshmallows, s’mores, rice krispy treats, ice cream balls, mini doughnuts, and more.
The design possibilities for bite-sized desserts are as diverse as the desserts themselves and the flavors in which they can be made.
“We have standard designs we do for our bite size treats, which are created to fit into any celebration,” Fields said. “For example, our vanilla petit fours have an elegant white rosette and edible pearls, while our red velvet cake balls are drizzled with the same pop of red that you will find inside. We also offer endless possibilities for customizing designs on most of our treats that will both mirror and enhance the theme of your celebration. The only limit is your imagination!”
At Kraze Kreations, “We typically engage the customers to develop the atmosphere they want to create and run with it,” Pickens said. “We customize all desserts from simple flowers to fondant bows and add edible luster and disco dust to make sure our desserts are the next Kraze.”
Customers are sure to enjoy eating bite-sized desserts, but you first have to convince them to make the purchase. At Kraze Kreations, the majority of the miniature desserts come individually wrapped.
At Tart Bakery, “We display an array of daily bite-sized offerings in our retail case,” Fields said. “We also offer special packaging, including anything from elegant macaron boxes to festive bags and bows with the customer’s choice of ribbon color.”
The goal at Tart Bakery is to “always be accommodating and offer an array of tasty treats.” And Pickens is always sure to caution her customers to “Enjoy the bite-sized treats before they are all gone!”
In short, the market demand for bite-sized desserts exists and is ripe for the taking. Now it is time for your bakery to get a “bite” of the action