How to Use Salt in Sweets

Related To:

Savoring dessert carries a double meaning in my book. To fully enjoy most sweets, whether they are chocolate, fruit or candy-based, a little salt goes a long way to make the flavors pop. As the pastry chef at Miami's top restaurant, I'm always trying to nudge guests a little bit outside their comfort zone. Sometimes the easiest way to do it is by baking some kosher salt into raw sugar-dusted sesame shortbread for a supportive boost you wouldn't even know unless I told you. Or, better yet, go a little more obvious with a sprinkle of light and flaky Maldon sea salt on top of creamy, frozen truffle-like Milk Chocolate Cremoso. I love the raised eyebrows it provokes upon hitting the table — of course shortly followed by the, "Oh, I see, this completely makes sense," look.

Just think about it. While it's probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dessert, it's actually not that far-fetched of an idea. We've been baking salt into our desserts since we were kids. (Remember the Nestlé Toll House cookies package?) When baking at home, think outside the salt shaker. Try to pay attention to the types of salt you are using as there's likely a perfect variety for each application in both the savory and the sweet kitchen.

  • I especially love adding salt to homemade ice creams. When making a quart of ice cream, add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to the warming cream.
  • Maldon salt or very coarse salt should only be used to finish desserts, not bake desserts.
  • If a recipe calls for salt, never use idolized salt. Period. Using salt in desserts does not make the dessert salty. It really wakes up all the flavors in the dish. Trust me on this.

A sprinkle a day could be a delicious thing.

Hedy Goldsmith is the executive pastry chef of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz’s restaurants, including Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and Grand Cayman, and Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami. She's also a contributor on Cooking Channel's Unique Sweets , has been featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate and lauded in Bon Appétit , People , and Food & Wine magazines. She was also nominated in the highly competitive and nationally contested category of Outstanding Pastry Chef at the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards. Hedy’s first cookbook, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors (Clarkson Potter / Publishers), will be released October 2.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Check out why this Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops recipe is this week's Most Popular Pin of the Week

Red, White and Blueberries

Food Network's 4th of July dessert recipes are perfect whether you're hosting a holiday cookout or will be a guest at a backyard bash -- the the recipes now.

Ina's Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Not just for sandwiches, the classic combo of PB and J can star in dessert, too, as it does in this week's Most Popular Pin of the Week.

6 Ways to Upgrade Vanilla Pudding

Fun stir-ins take pudding from basic to amazing. Be honest: Wouldn’t you rather have a cup of pumpkin pie pudding?

15 Valentine’s Day Desserts

These lightened goodies are the perfect way to show your sweetie you care without busting their waistline.

These Easter Desserts Are Too Stinkin' Cute — Especially the Bunny Butts

These adorable Easter desserts are easy to make, but still super-impressive.

On TV

Brunch @ Bobby's

7:30am | 6:30c

Giada Entertains

8:30am | 7:30c

The Pioneer Woman

10:30am | 9:30c

The Kitchen

11am | 10c

Guy's Ranch Kitchen

12:30pm | 11:30c

Chopped

3pm | 2c

Chopped

4pm | 3c

Chopped

5pm | 4c

Chopped

6pm | 5c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

8pm | 7c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Chopped

9pm | 8c

Chopped

10pm | 9c

Chopped

11pm | 10c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Chopped

1am | 12c

Chopped

2am | 1c

Chopped

3am | 2c