Desserts After Dark: Sweet things are made with whiskey

At Desserts After Dark, the third event of this weekend’s fourth annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, one could observe people taking shots at TX Whiskey’s prominent booth; dessert crazies swooning about delicate pastry; and sugar-highed revelers taking over the dance floor.

It was Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.’s beverage that was behind both the creative culinary tactics — most chefs incorporated the whiskey into their dessert sample — and the questionable gyrations.

And just as Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” faded into Nelly’s “Ride Wit You (Must be the Money),” the party went from docile to dancehall in about an hour. Hold on to your cowboy hats, this one had everything:

Best use of product: Hurley House, Timm and Katherine Sasser’s relatively new southwest Fort Worth bakery and prepared foods mecca, had a fabulous whiskey-soaked carrot cake. The dense square had texture, with a chewiness and bite, and the alcohol only provided moistness. A dab of cream-cheese frosting proved the ultimate sweet counterpunch.

Best quaff: La Perla’s gorgeous sunset-hued beverage featured TX Whiskey, but it was all offset by grapefruit juice, lime and agave syrup. The spicy-salt rimmed serving was poured over ice to diffuse any overbearing notes.

Weirdest use of ingredient (to good effect): Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen had a gorgeous display and lovely execution: The ladies’ take on banana pudding put a plantain to work, topping the slice with custard, whipped cream and a lemon-sugar cookie engraved with an “M.” The starchiness of the plantain stood up to the sweet elements, offering a substantial base that gave interest to the boring banana pudding template.

Weirdest use of ingredient (to ill effect): Dough Boy Donuts offered up a “Faux” bread-pudding concoction, using glazed doughnut holes as the carb. Topped with drunken raisins — who clearly had a lengthy swim in TX Whiskey — and more whiskey sauce, the doughnuts didn’t soak up any of the flavors. I liked the cinnamon-frosted pecans, but it was all enough to send you straight to the dentist.

Cool News: Alchemy Pops told me that they will soon open a permanent cart at the Simply Fit Meals’ West Seventh Street location. Welcome news for the upstart, who served a terrific mini-pop fortified with whiskey and cherries — their take on an Old Fashioned.

Hot-Off-the-Presses News: Brewed created a TX Whiskey habanero shortcake, but what really got my attention was learning that the quirky and beloved coffeehouse/restaurant will start serving a new, all-day menu April 11. Duck-fat fries for breakfast, anyone?