"Why does it always have to be chocolate?"
My sister-in-law used to make a pecan and chocolate torte/confection that was her special occasion dessert, and which she would bring to dinner at our house. My dad was as fond of chocolate as the next man (well, maybe not quite as much as the next man, pace Monty Python) and would always say the above, usually (but not always, not being a man of great tact) after my SIL left.
I love chocolate candy but it's not my favourite flavor in desserts or baked goods either. I'd far rather have something nutty (preferably almond, but any other nut will do), fruity (preferably stone fruits or citrus/lemon), caramel, or vanilla. I can go for a nice piece of good ole plain chocolate cake once in a while, but very seldom if ever order chocolate desserts when I'm out.
Japanese cheesecake (or others), madeleines, macarons, brutti ma buoni, lemon tart/meringue pie/squares, cherry or raspberry pie...all of those ring my chimes much more than chocolate "decadence"-style things.
Am I alone in this? What recipes do you turn to when the urge for something sweet but not chocolate hits?
Coming from someone who clearly knows their baking, I'm surprised by your story.
I'm probably the only one in my family that can go huge stretches without chocolate of any kind. When I crave it a dark chocolate bar (just one corner) will do me fine and cover the craving for months. But, I do find myself accommodating the chocolate lust for my family often. Even simple mousse will do.
When I crave a sweet a small batch caramel, something with almond flavor or really well made raspberry jam over a piece of cornbread makes me swoon. Savory over rich sweet I go for.
I am savory gal, not a sweet one so even my sweets are not overly so. Salted cayenne caramels are to die for.
One of my favorite fall desserts is an upside down pear tart that I add lots of fresh ginger to which adds a brightness.
CI's lemon squares are sweet yet the lemon really comes thru.
I totally get this! Especially since I find so many chocolate desserts are so intensely chocolate.
My favorite sweet to have on hand lately is brown butter chocolate chip cookies...without the chocolate chips and with toasted pecans instead to cut back the sweetness even more. I can make a batch and keep them in the freezer so I can pull out just one or two at a time when a sweet craving hits.
I have a huge sweet tooth, but I get migraines from most chocolates, which eliminates seems like every chocolate dessert (unless I make it myself, as I make only what I can tolerate).
My favorite non-chocolate desserts are blueberry or cherry pie, coffee cake, cinnamon streusel cakes, vanilla bean ice cream with caramel sauce, and butterscotch pudding.
Something combining almond paste and fruit will always top my list. While I have never been a slave to chocolate, when I was younger I preferred milk chocolate. Once I hit middle age my tastes changed and I now like bittersweet/dark. I've always liked white chocolate, though - probably because it plays well with fruit and does not overpower the fruit flavor.