Adding unique flavors to my Signature Sweets

How do I pick my flavors and menu items?? The short of it, trial and error. Truth be told, I like to discover unique twists on classics, mostly to keep my creative juices flowing.

When I go into a restaurant, shop, bakery, I look at the bread and desserts, and sometimes I order something other than bread and dessert (not too often, seriously, I live on carbs and sweets). What to pick used to be the classic NY style cheesecake, apple crisp, molten lava cake or ice cream. Cool, but not really. I love to pick the most unique item on the menu. Something with a classic twist.

My normal eating is not adventurous at all…Mac and cheese, some soups, sweet potato fries, pretzels, pasta, pizza, fruit and dessert. Pretty much my go to menu almost daily. No salads, no meat, no fish, no veggies. Most children eat better than I do.

Desserts, I have not met a dessert I did not like. I can eat more desserts in one sitting than an average person wants to ever eat. I was once told by my friend that I am a medical mystery. Pretty accurate. Paris- ate my face off all over Paris, Bali- brought a backpack of snacks to satisfy my sweet tooth cravings, Costa Rica- walked 3 miles to the local bakery just for some sweets and amazing lemonade.

Some of my ideas have come from pairings that other people have suggested and sometimes, I just like to experiment with something new.

One of the strangest desserts I ever made was pea panna cotta. Yes peas. I had no idea how that was going to work. I don’t even eat peas. It came out great and my boss was happy. It was the one and only time I made it.

I look at everything wherever I am, grocery store aisles, books, magazines, I watch all the baking shows, I scroll the internet, I see what flavors are put together and then I think about how I could make it into a dessert. The best ones are when I have ingredients in front of me and I just throw them together and it makes something even more amazing than I could have imagined.

When I was at my first pastry job, I was completely hung up on following all the recipes in my books and following them to a tee. As I got more comfortable in the kitchen and I learned more about the science of baking, I felt more adventurous with my flavor combinations.

When I was Pastry Chef at the Cleveland Museum of Art, I was able to put unique flavors out and people would buy them. It didn’t matter if it was a cupcake, muffin, cookie, tart, people loved the sweets that had a twist. It definitely gave me more confidence to experiment and I became more in tune with what people liked, (my chocolate chip cookie was the best selling cookie every single day). People loved my scones, my unique muffin and cupcake flavors.

When I started my business, people would call me for the same basic stuff, chocolate chip cookies, vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles or cakes. I really needed more creativity in my menu and so I started out with flavors that might pair well and I just began playing.

I pushed my lemon lavender cookie because I knew it was delicious and a great combo and most people would give me some strange looks but would end up trying it and loving it. It is still my best selling item. As I continue to grow my business, I will continue to play with new flavor combinations and also maintain classics.

I hope you try them all. My most unique items include my matcha (green tea) cheesecake, my apple rosemary goat cheese tart, my lemon lavender shortbread. I promise to have some new twists on my menu very soon!!

Let me know what your favorite flavor combinations are below or send me a message @

Have a fabulous week!!


Ann LoParoComment