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Savory herbs in sweet desserts

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Herb-infused dessert recipes

Fresh herbs offer tasty nuances to satisfying savory dishes, but these flavorful little plants also enhance the deliciousness of desserts. From ice cream to cakes to cookies, fresh herbs like basil, thyme and lavender turn ordinary sweets into intriguing treats.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

How to use fresh herbs in desserts

Add just a hint of herbs

Because most herbs have such an intense flavor, they can quickly overpower a dessert and turn a sweet treat into a savory-tasting dish. Just a bit of a herb is all you need to create a unique dessert.

Use fresh herbs

Compared to dried herbs, fresh herbs will lend a brighter flavor to desserts. Dried herbs sometimes have a bitter edge.

Mince or infuse herbs

To properly dissipate an herb's flavor into a dessert, mincing is essential. You don't want to get a huge chunk of herb in any one bite. Another way to add just a hint of herb flavor is to infuse the herbs in water or milk and add the flavorful liquid to the mix, replacing a same-sized portion of liquid called for in the recipe. To infuse, simply combine herbs with water or milk, simmer and strain.

Be adventurous with herbs

Mint is a commonly used herb in desserts, often paired with chocolate or used as a garnish. Many other fresh herbs also go well in sweet dishes. Lavender, basil, lemon verbena, tarragon, rosemary, sage, fennel, cilantro, thyme, lemon grass, marjoram or kaffir lime will add unparalleled flavor to desserts of all kinds. Be adventurous and add just about any fresh herb to your favorite dessert recipes -- in moderation.

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