Three baking trends worth following

A grown-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich gives a traditional treat a delicious twist.

Self-expression, flavor and ingredient exploration, and new twists on traditions are a few of the ways consumers will make this year's baking season more special and delicious. Nestlé Toll House is unveiling its 2015 seasonal baking trends to help home bakers discover creative new recipes and inventive ways to use its variety of baking products. Today's bakers have access to endless sources of inspiration and Do-It-Yourself confidence.

Demographic trends such as an increase in multicultural families and smaller households are also influencing how America bakes. With more self-taught and culinary adventurous consumers, baking has evolved to include ingredient-driven sophistication, more baking customization, and personal interpretation of classics.

"The definition of baking now includes a variety of ingredients, flavors, and ways to bake. Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookies will always be an American favorite but by infusing them with Tahini, we're reinventing a classic recipe with a modern flavor profile," said Lucien Vendôme, Director of Culinary Innovation at Nestlé USA. "Consumers are actively redefining traditional baking and Nestlé Toll House wants to be part of that journey by inspiring home bakers to achieve their baking aspirations."

This year, Nestlé Toll House partnered with esteemed pastry chefs from around the country to define key trends for the 2015 baking season. They include New York pastry chef Richard Capizzi, Craft of Baking author Karen DeMasco, TV personality and Sugar Rush author Johnny Iuzzini, Sofra Bakery owner Maura Kilpatrick, Institute of Culinary Education creative director Michael Laiskonis, La Boîte owner and master spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz, and vice president of culinary direction at iPic Entertainment and owner of Helms Bakery Sherry Yard.

Led by Lucien Vendôme, these baking masterminds identified three core trends that will drive this year's baking season: Speed Scratch, Farmers Market Inspired Baking, and Tradition Reinvented.

1. Speed Scratch

Beautiful baking creations aren't just for trained pastry chefs. Today's bakers can tap into pastry chef creativity and ensure success by leveraging proven baking shortcuts. Premade dough simplifies preparation, lets bakers explore ingredient variety and minimizes inconsistencies. Craft of Baking Author, Karen DeMasco, shows how easy it is to bake to impress with her Pistachio Pinwheel Cookie recipe, using Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Bar Dough, ground pistachio nuts, lemon zest and a hint of honey and lemon.

2. Farmers Market Inspired Baking

Modern bakers are eager to use ingredients that are in season to bring out the best flavor in their baked treats. With access to farmers markets year round, there are plenty of options for creating desserts with a distinct seasonal flavor. Award-winning pastry chef, Michael Laiskonis, inspires creativity with an Autumn-themed recipe that celebrates harvest flavors. The Autumn-Harvest Cookie Collection combines Nestlé Toll House Harvest Apple Refrigerated Cookie Dough, Nestlé Toll House Hot Cocoa Refrigerated Cookie Dough, Nestlé Toll House Pumpkin Spice Morsels and fresh apples for a mouth-watering collection of fall flavors beautifully displayed in a bento box.

3. Tradition Reinvented

Multicultural families are on the rise and with this demographic makeover in the U.S., home bakers are connecting with their heritage by updating treasured desserts. The memories behind classic recipes are timeless but today's baker is looking to create new traditions. Secrets of Baking Author, Sherry Yard, gives classic sugar cookies an ethnic twist with her recipe for Alfajores. Corn flour is kneaded into Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough, and then the baked cookies are sandwiched with dulce de leche filling and flavored with hints of spice and honey for a Latin-inspired flair.