Pastry chef Liz O’Connell grew up near the Hostess factory in Framingham, leaning her head out the car window to smell the baked goods, so it’s no wonder an After Dinner Twinkie has made its way onto the dessert snack menu at Yvonne’s. Her grown-up take features a chocolate sponge cake that she soaks in sweet espresso and fills with Cognac-spiked ricotta before immersing the entire treat in melted Valrhona chocolate. “I like the contrast and nostalgia of a kid’s dessert that has been infused with luxury ingredients,” she says.
$7 at Yvonne’s, 2 Winter Place, Boston (617-267-0047) yvonnesboston.com
“Cookie dough is one of my favorite foods,” says Little Donkey chef/owner Ken Oringer, who used to share batter-licking duty with his three siblings as a kid. He took that inspiration literally with the Cambridge restaurant’s chocolate chip cookie dough, served right on the beater alongside a milk foam sprinkled with sea salt and either mini chocolate chips or cocoa nibs. The best part? No need to worry about raw ingredients. “We use pasteurized egg yolks so there’s no risk,” adds chef/owner Jamie Bissonnette, “You can really go to town on this one!”
$9 at Little Donkey, 505 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-945-1008) littledonkeybos.com
Chef Nick Dixon always made a mad dash for cereal when his dad returned from the grocery store. “Growing up with four older sisters, all of the ‘good stuff’ would quickly disappear,” he recalls. So when Lincoln started offering a Test Kitchen menu on Fridays to try out brunch dishes that could be a little trickier to get out during the weekend rush, he knew his childhood favorite would come into play. With the Fruity Pebbles pancakes, the Flintstone flakes not only fleck the batter, but are steeped with vanilla beans in a “rich and creamy” cereal milk anglaise that tops the stack—now a regular staple on Saturdays and Sundays.
$12 at Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant, 425 W. Broadway, Boston (617-765-8636) lincolnsouthboston.com
A native Floridian, chef Robert Gonzalez often had to improvise when he had a hankering for a s’more: “We would microwave Hershey’s chocolate and a marshmallow right on top.” But at Bistro du Midi, his spin on s’mores—listed as “campfire memories” on his prep list—is the real deal, using three varieties of Valrhona chocolate in a Kahlua-spiked custard and brownie bites smoked with applewood chips. “I love to take classic dessert dishes and convert them into a gorgeous and unique plate,” he says of this deconstruction, which also includes ground housemade graham crackers, cherry meringue and marshmallow ice cream that spares fingers from the treat’s trademark gooeyness.
$12 at Bistro du Midi, 272 Boylston St., Boston (617-426-7878) bistrodumidi.com