Cupcakes Are Out: Five Treats That Are In

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Cupcakes have been the rage in America for several years now. After stores were opened exclusively to sell cupcakes, television shows were centered on the little individual desserts and the public went crazy over different cupcake presentations and decorations, it seemed as if cupcakes were the end-all-be-all desserts.

However, after recent results showing that Crumbs Bake Shop's stock has fallen by 22 percent. What once was being sold for more than $13 a share, is now going for a measly $1.30. In addition, Sprinkles has delayed its much-ballyhooed cupcake ATM.

The cupcake industry just isn't what it was a few years ago, when everyone and his mother wanted to get a cupcake -- cupcakes are elegant and have interesting designs and sweet flavors. Personally, I have always loved cupcakes; they're like your own personal cakes. But there's the problem. Everyone knows how to make them, causing the public's demand to diminish for something so homemade and simple to put together, as noted in a Wall Street Journal article about the crash of the cupcake market. Why would you pay nearly $4 for one when you can make a dozen or two at home for less than that?

One of the biggest draws with cupcakes, however, was the fact that they're little; they are easy to package to go or to eat in a shop. Their size makes them the perfect treat for individuals. But there are also other small treats we should keep our eyes out for -- they could be the next big, or little, things.

5. Gourmet Marshmallows

Gourmet flavored marshmallows are definitely on the rise. Not only are they difficult to make, but there are so many different types of marshmallows based on flavor and shape. Don't just settle for Peeps from Easter for a gourmet marshmallow treat. You'll want to stock up on chocolate, coconut, vanilla bean, lemon, caramel and other sugary, fruity and extravagant flavors for the summer. Can you say gourmet s'mores?

4. Gourmet Popcorn

Popcorn is definitely one of the easiest street foods and snacks to eat. But there's more to popcorn that just butter and caramel flavors. An article in TIME noted that gourmet popcorn bars are starting to take over cupcake shops. People are beginning to use gourmet popcorn bars at weddings and other events as well. With sweet flavors like cinnamon, cheesecake and s'mores and savory flavors like bacon, wasabi and black truffles, the sky's the limit for gourmet popcorn flavors.

3. Macarons

The French definitely knew what they were doing with the macaron. The first time you taste a French macaron, you will feel sheer bliss. They are perfectly crunchy on the outside and sugary and soft on the inside, and almost look like works of art. With all the beautiful colors and flavors of macarons, there's no doubt in my mind that the public will be attracted to these little gems.

2. Gourmet Popsicles

It's the perfect time of year to enjoy a cool, refreshing popsicle. Sure, you could just buy a popsicle from the store, but why would you when you can purchase homemade gourmet popsicles? Flavors range from fruity to boozy, and most naturally made popsicles are quite healthy, too. Get ready for more popsicle stands and trucks to start popping up around the country. Maybe a few will come to Houston soon.

1. Gourmet Donuts

No, I'm not talking about the box full of glazed donuts you grab on the way to a business meeting at work. Gourmet donuts have begun to sweep the nation while cupcakes fizz away. Whether they're bite-size or full-size, donuts are always a good choice. Who wouldn't want fried dough dipped in powdered sugar, decorated with chocolate drizzle, coconut or sprinkles, or filled with custard, jelly or other sweets? Donuts have outstanding potential for replacing cupcakes as dessert choices on the go or in the store. Not to mention that they're much cheaper than cupcakes.

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