mini eclairs

Photo: Haarala Hamilton

A Shrunken Version of the French Dessert Du Jour
As éclairs reemerge as the new darlings of the sweet-treat world, we're falling in love all over again with the cream-filled, chocolate-topped pastries. Miniaturize them and they're even more charming. And contrary to what you might think, you don't need a degree in French pastry-making to create your own. In her new book, Sensationally Sugar Free, Susanna Booth shows us how to make three-inch versions of these enduring classics (and shockingly, they don't have any added sugar).

Get the recipe: Mini Chocolate Éclairs
peanut butter chocolate mini cakes

Photo: Melissa Hom

The PB&C You Don't Have to Share
Peanut butter and chocolate can do no wrong, whether in cookies, frozen treats or these cakelets from Melba Wilson, owner of Melba's, in Harlem, and author of the forthcoming Melba's American Comfort. The muffin-size cakes consist of a chocolate cake batter with a hefty spoonful of creamy peanut butter stuffed inside. They're gooey and decadent—and thanks to the individual portions, there's no fighting for the last bite.

Get the recipe: Molten Chocolate-Peanut Butter Petite Cakes
mini cheesecakes

Photo: Ella Leché

The Little Cheesecake with Big Surprises
Fruit and nuts can come together in some pretty untraditional ways—and the results are often mind-blowing. Take this unusual (and delicious) take on cheesecake, from Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough, by Ella Leché. The filling is made with cashews that you've soaked in water, along with coconut oil, maple syrup, water and lemon zest—so it's much lighter than a typical cheesecake, yet still creamy and sweet. The crust is a tasty mix of almonds, dates and dried cranberries. You make diminutive, two-inch cakes in a silicone muffin pan, so they're easy to pop out. Top them with raspberries, lemon zest and mint leaves for a bright and fresh ending to any meal.

Get the recipe: Raw Raspberry-Lemon Mini Cheesecakes
bread pudding

Photo: Lynn Andriani

A Tiny Casserole Packed with Rich Flavor
We dare anyone to resist a warm serving of custard-soaked, buttery bread laced with sugar and spices. The first trick to pulling off these ramekin-size treats: Use challah or brioche—they're both made with eggs and therefore have a rich texture and flavor. The second: Soak the bread in melted vanilla ice cream (it's essentially custard). Preparing the dessert in ramekins makes it easy to top each serving with its own caramelized sugar, créme brûlée-like lid (since there's less surface area to cover). Break it open to find the soft, sweet pudding below.

Get the recipe: Mini Bread-Pudding Brûlée

Photo: Thinkstock

A Cult Favorite That Boasts a Just-the-Right-Size Topper
Dramatic-looking red velvet cupcakes are always a show-stopping dessert. These shrunken spins on the beloved Southern cake take the presentation up a notch, with each one garnished with a fresh raspberry atop the traditional cream cheese frosting. Plus, raspberry and chocolate are an unbeatable combination.

Get the recipe: Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting