Herbs are usually used with savory dishes, but fresh herbs can also be used to add flavor and depth to desserts. In fact, there is a long culinary tradition of using herbs in desserts. For example, the Ancient Romans used to make their cakes with a bitter herb called rue, and they made fruit compotes with bay and laurel!
You are probably already familiar with some herbs in desserts, such as mint being combined with chocolate. If you are interested in expanding your taste palate, here are some ideas and recipes on how to use herbs in desserts.
Herb Flavor Combinations
There are a lot of herbs and they can all be used in creative ways in desserts (have you seen what those Iron Chefs do?). But some herbs are admittedly more difficult to pair with sweet foods. For example, caraway leaves can be a bit too intense. If you are going to use it in a dessert, then you will want to combine it with other intense flavors.
Here are some of the most common herbs used in desserts:
- Rosemary: Great in tarts and sorbet; pairs well with apricots
- Tarragon: This herb has a spicy flavor which works well in sauces for cakes or with lemon desserts
- Sage: Sage is amazing with apples and pears, and works well with citrus.
- Basil: Basil is great with summer fruits, especially berries and pineapple.
- Mint: Fresh mint highlights berries very well, and also works well with dark chocolate.
- Thyme: Thyme is surprisingly delicious with bananas and citrus fruits like lemon. It is also great with vanilla.
"For desserts, thyme pairs well with bananas, citrus fruits, and vanilla. #herbchat" [Click to Tweet]
Spiced and Herbed Shortbreads
These shortbreads were each made with different flavors, such as cardamom, clove, anise, vanilla, ginger, chili, rosemary and tarragon. Just add a pinch of the fresh or dried seasonings to your standard shortbread recipe to make it more exciting.
Get the recipe from Unsweetended.
Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Make your chocolate chip cookies more exciting by adding fresh mint to them. Dark chocolate works best with mint!
Get the recipe from Simply Recipes.
Strawberry Basil Frozen Yogurt
Strawberries and basil pair amazingly well together, especially when served as a creamy treat. This dessert is one you don’t have to feel guilty for eating, and would make a nice topping for a tart or pie on a special occasion.
Get the recipe from Dishing Up Delights.
Baked Pears with Vanilla Syrup and Sage
This dessert recipe is deceptively simple to make, especially considering how flavorful it is. Serve the pears with a glass of wine or champagne on a special occasion.
Get the recipe from Today's Nest.
How Do You Get Fresh Herbs Year Round?
Fresh herbs can be really expensive to buy in supermarkets, and they are often impossible to find in the winter. So how are you supposed to have fresh herbs to cook and bake with year round? The answer is to grow your own.
Aside from providing you with fresh, organic food, growing herbs indoors also improves your indoor air quality and aesthetics of your home. Don’t have a green thumb? Then check out Grobo – an app-controlled indoor gardening system that grows your plants without any effort from you!