Monday, October 22, 2012

How To Have Your Cake And Eat It:6 Benefits and 6 steps to Make Desserts In Miniature.

We are all looking for balance in our lives.

A work-life balance
A spouse-kids balance
A spending-saving balance
And something many of us struggle with:-

 A balanced relationship with food.

In a world of fad diets, there is a plethora of advice screaming at us that if we remove all the carbs or sugar or fat or milk products, from our daily menus we will feel better, look better and life generally will have a rosy glow.

We certainly want to teach our children about making healthy choices and keep ourselves at a healthy weight. However, most nutritionists would agree that moderation rather than deprivation is the key.

Believe me, I know that it is way easier to type the word ‘moderation’ than to practice it. When one of our family members brings over a truckload of Cadbury’s chocolate from England, I happily sit and munch in excess only to regret it later. I have often thought I should just take 2 generous bars of Dairy Milk and stick one to each thigh. It would save me the trouble of having to digest it and perhaps, direct cause and effect would stop me from wanting to eat so much in the first place.

We do not have dessert in our house during the week. It is reserved for Shabbat, festivals, holidays and celebrations.  But I know that when I entertain, I love to make desserts for my family and guests to enjoy.(Read Food For Thought -The Perfect Job Share)

However as we have all become more conscious of our waistlines, I have noticed a decline in how much people are eating and what they are choosing to eat.

In order to find a balance, I have started to do what caterers having been doing for a while and the cupcake business has jumped on with great delight. I have started making miniature versions of the desserts I know my family and guests love.

mini apple crisps and  fruit cups
This works if you have 6 for dinner/lunch or 60 for a party.(Great for Thanksgiving.)

 As I experimented I realized there were more benefits than I had first thought.

6 benefits of miniature desserts

1.   This is dessert in moderation.  Everyone can have a taste of a dessert or 2 without feeling guilty or being tempted to eat a whole Costco sized cake. (Did I mention it’s about finding a balance?).

2.   Adults and children can practice portion control and savor the flavor.

3.   Since each dessert is its own little entity. There is no issue with what to do with a half-eaten apple pie or 10 tablespoons of chocolate mousse at the end of the meal.  (No, you can’t use this as an excuse to take the mousse bowl back into the kitchen in order to finish the left overs). With miniatures you can manage how many of the desserts you take out of the fridge or freezer in the first place and recycle the untouched ones for another delightful meal.

4.  When it comes to serving, there is no portioning, cutting or prep time at the moment you want to serve. All that has been done during the creation of it and dessert is ready to go.

5. Miniatures can also include healthier options - fruit cups, fruit dipped in chocolate and mini cups filled with nuts and chocolate drops.  (Moderation means you can still have some chocolate, right?)

6. It becomes very cost effective if you buy your own glass mini containers and ramekins which can be reused. There is also less food waste from left overs on plates. (Although I have washed the plastic cups and recycled them too.) See below for places to buy these.

 6 Easy steps to make your own.
Examples of Ciao Bella
1.   Choose desserts you could make with your eyes closed and think would adapt well to being served in individual containers. For instance I have used the following recipes: my mother in law’s apple crisp, my mom’s meringues, chocolate mousse, store-bought sorbets layered in contrasting colors and flavors. I love Ciao Bella  sorbets, but you can use any you love.

2.   Buy miniature containers.
·       Party City in the USA sells a great variety from a company called Amscan.  They have distributors in the UK, USA and Canada. (ice cream, mousse, fruit, mixed nuts etc)
·       Purchase glass candle votives in bulk (Michaels sells Ashland votives in packs of 16. With one of their coupons you can get 16 for about $6 (thanks Glynis :-)) A.C.Moore Arts & Crafts is selling them for 50c a piece in store, before coupon savings. I have put them in the dishwasher and they have  not broken so far. You can also buy them on line through or from a pound/dollar or thrift store. (My fellow blogger at Kosher On A Budget would be proud of me!)

·        Different shapes make the presentation more interesting.

2 mini meringues
sandwiched with lemon ice cream
·       Buy mini paper cups (meringues)

·       Invest in individual ramikins if you want cooked desserts. I bought 24 about 10 years ago and they are all still going strong. (apple crisp)

3.   Prepare your favorite desserts as you would normally. At the last step where you would put them in to a dish to cook, or bowl to serve, divide into your small containers. Check cooking times for smaller portions.

To pour mousse and ice cream easily, use a piping bag(Michaels sell disposable ones) or cut the corner of a  plastic bag you have already filled with your mousse or ice  cream and then you will have control of the speed the dessert is delivered into the container.

choc mousse and 2 colored sorbets
4.   Decorate tops of each dessert with your choice of a nut, fruit, candy, cream or mini cookie.

5.   Place desserts, covered on a tray so they don’t fall over or get knocked easily by something else.

6.   Store in fridge or freeze following recipe’s instructions and remove as many as you need. Many desserts can be refrozen if they are not eaten. So you do not need to be tempted!

So, I’m off to make mini  desserts for 150, for a friend of mine…..
Good luck with making yours.
Please leave me a message and let me know if you have any questions, how you do, what you make, and any tips you have.

I’d be happy to share my recipes with you.(All can be made dairy free and contain no nuts.) Leave me a request at the end of this blog post or email me at and I will email them to you!

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Most importantly –whatever you choose to eat, enjoy it!

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  1. I love this idea. How about mini apple pies in fairy cake baking trays? Or individual cakes complete with jam in the middle and icing on top? Then when you open a packet of mini swiss rolls to go with it everyone will think you've made them yourself. And.....yum yum yum....individual trifles :~D - that's me looking pleased with myself.

    1. Thanks Rachel.
      Your ideas sound delicious. Send me a picture to when you make some mini desserts and I'll post them to the blog!

      My Mum made mini honey cup cakes this year and they were a great success! Mini desserts are a great way to sample without binging.

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