Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Breakfast-Inspired Desserts

Tap into morning flavor favorites for signature evening desserts

Breakfast-Inspired Desserts

Tap into morning flavor favorites for signature evening desserts

By Rob Corliss
November 27, 2023

By Rob Corliss
November 27, 2023

Modern dessert innovation is embracing the cherished flavors of breakfast, adding a fresh twist to traditional favorites. By seamlessly blending the comforting familiarity of breakfast into desserts, operators can seize the chance to craft distinctive flavor profiles that generate buzz with consumers.

The popularity of this creative fusion has ignited widespread enthusiasm, further fueling innovation and exploration within the culinary landscape. One notable example is the Toast-Yay! Girl Scout cookie, a toast-shaped cookie boasting French toast flavor and dipped in icing. Baskin-Robbins, in a move that showcases its buy-in to this trend, introduced the Breakfast In Bed as a “flavor of the month.” It features buttermilk pancake and maple syrup–flavored ice creams, with fluffy pancake pieces and a blueberry compote swirl. Building on the breakfast-dessert concept, Baskin-Robbins also featured the Tall Stack Cake, which sports the look of real pancakes, topped with a caramel praline “syrup” and a scoop of vanilla ice cream as a dollop of “butter.”

Here we delve into reimagining iconic breakfast dishes, demonstrating multiple ways of moving their various familiar and craveable components into contemporary dessert profiles.

Photo Credit: Lõ’kal

At Philadelphia’s Lõ’kal, French toast is reimagined as a dessert and anytime treat. 

Pancakes With Toppings

Incorporate all styles of pancake batter as a swirled-in topping on baked fruit cobbler for indulgent fluffiness.

TRY THIS

  • Breakfast Cakes With Mimosa Sabayon: Champagne-orange sabayon spooned over fresh raspberries and hand-torn pieces of fluffy buttermilk pancakes
  • German Pancake Strawberry Shortcake: Cast iron–baked miniature German pancake topped with sliced fresh strawberries, roasted strawberry sauce and whipped cream
  • Figgy Qatayef: Miniature pancake (golden griddled on one side only), topped with fig mascarpone, pinched into a cone shape with the end dipped in crushed pistachios; lightly drizzled with orange blossom simple syrup

ON THE MENU

Crème Brûlée Pancakes: Soft, fluffy pancakes topped with a thin layer of crystallized sugar, torched to perfection
Fluffy Fluffy Dessert Cafe, locations in Orlando, Fla., and Dallas

French Toast With Toppings

Introduce global French toast styles such as Spanish torrija, Hong Kong-style French toast or pain perdu.

TRY THIS

  • Spanish French Toaster Sundae: Crispy Spanish torrija (a baguette slice soaked in sherry milk and orange zest, then dipped in egg and pan-fried in olive oil; coated in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with honey syrup), topped with a scoop of blueberry cream cheese ice cream, dusted with powdered sugar
  • French Toast Macarons: Cinnamon macarons filled with maple buttercream and blackberry jam; dusted with powdered sugar
  • Southern French Toast Banana Pudding: Layers of velvety vanilla pudding, fresh banana slices and fried French toast sticks; topped with maple meringue

ON THE MENU

French Toast Bites (to-go): Quarter pound of lightly fried, melt-in-your-mouth artisan French toast bites hand-tossed in a signature spice blend with the option to add unlimited seasonal toppings and syrups
Lõ’kal, Philadelphia

Donuts and Coffee

Take this approach with all styles, sizes and flavors of donuts.

TRY THIS

  • Cherry Fritter Tiramisu: Glazed cherry fritter sliced in half, then centered and top-filled with Kahlúa mascarpone; sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings
  • Dalgona Pumpkin Pie: Wedge of pumpkin pie, adorned with a dollop of pillowy Dalgona coffee and a glazed donut hole
  • Coffee and Donuts Ice Cream Delight: Scoop of chocolate-espresso ice cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream strewn with glazed donut pieces, topped off with a Speculoos cookie garnish

ON THE MENU

Glazed Donut Bread Pudding: Delicious conglomeration of glazed donuts in a pudding topped with whipped cream and caramel
The Manchester Arms, Atlanta

Cereal and Milk

Options are plentiful here, from infused cereal milk flavors to crunchy cereal coatings.

TRY THIS

  • Salted Caramel Cornflake Brownie: Soft, chewy dark chocolate chunk brownie, topped with luscious salted caramel Corn Flakes
  • Cinnamon Toast Key Lime Pie: Classic Key lime pie encased in a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal crust
  • Chocolate Puffed Cereal Milk Tres Leches: Chocolate cake soaked in Cocoa Puffs–infused cereal milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk, topped with chocolate whipped cream and Cocoa Puffs

ON THE MENU

Rolled Over Confetti & Friends Sundae: Scoops of vanilla ice cream rolled in Fruity Pebbles topped with whipped cream, cherry and more Fruity Pebbles; on top of a bed of delicious marshmallow sauce
Friendly’s, based in Massachusetts

About The Author

Rob Corliss

ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.