Know Your Sweets

Learn the histories of all your favorite sweets

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Know Your Sweets: Candy Hearts

Candy hearts are a centuries-old, endearment embossed sweet that have become synonymous with shoeboxes full of Valentine's Day cards and a chalky, (potentially tooth-shattering) texture. Learn what candy inspired them, what flavors the colors are supposed to mean, and more! More

Know Your Sweets: Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls (aliases: coffee scroll, cinnamon bun, cinnamon snail) combine a belly-warming, spicy center with a stick-to-your-ribs pastry exterior. But the world didn't get to enjoy these sweets until the 17th century. Find out why! More

Know Your Sweets: Candy Canes

It's doubtful that there's a candy connoisseur among us who hasn't enjoyed the sticky-fingered bliss of a minty-fresh candy cane. Ever wonder how they got their shape, or their stripes? Read on for the full history of this holiday treat. More

Know Your Sweets: Cranberry Sauce

The cranberry (alias: bearberry) is one of only three fruits—including blueberries and Concord grapes—that can truly claim roots in North American soil. Why, then, did it take the sweet-tart side dish cranberry sauce almost a century after settlers arrived to find its way to our thanksgiving tables? More

Know Your Sweets: Hard Sauce

This highly moldable, rich, firm mixture of confectioners' sugar, butter, and spirits is the traditional addition to any number of holiday sweets. When paired with a steaming hot pudding or piece of pie, it slowly melts into a deliciously sweet coating. More

Know Your Sweets: Apple Pie

There's nothing more quintessentially American than apple pie, and no wonder: the dessert has been a United States favorite since colonial days. While it might be the perfect patriotic dish, this sweet combination of crisp apples, flaky crust, and rich spices has been enchanting sweet lovers across Europe since the time of Chaucer. More

Know Your Sweets: Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska (aliases: Norwegian omelet, glace au four) is a classic dessert of the Gilded Age best known for magically combining ice (an interior cake made up of sponge cake layered with ice cream) and fire (a torched meringue shell). Find out what New York City restaurant made it a classic, the origin of the name, and more! More

Know Your Sweets: Key Lime Pie

Perhaps the most famous export of the Florida Keys outside of Earnest Hemingway and his six-toed cats, Key Lime Pie is a tangy, creamy delight made with sweetened condensed milk and the small, delicate limes of the region. Are you a fan? Check out the true story behind this beloved American dessert. More

Know Your Sweets: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Perhaps the 20th Century's most notorious, retro-chic dessert creation, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake flips the traditional notion of a baked good on its head, pairing a spongy, yellow cake bottom with a glistening spread of pineapple rings and maraschino cherries on top. Learn about the moment when it became a party favorite, its variations, and more. More

Know Your Sweets: Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding (aliases: Nana's Pudding, Wafer Pudding) is an unassuming, delicious Southern staple featuring layers of rich, custardy vanilla pudding, crunchy vanilla wafers, and slices of banana. Learn all about its history here. More

Know Your Sweets: Funnel Cake

Funnel Cake (aliases: Dribble Cake, Funny Cake) is a carnival classic that has all the trappings of the perfect fairground food: it's fried, it's doughy, and it's a fantastic vehicle for any number of luxurious, extra-sugary toppings. Find out what international desserts it resembles and which town in the US has worked hard to claim funnel cake as its own. More

Know Your Sweets: Lane Cake

Lane Cake (Alias: Prize Cake, Alabama Lane Cake) is the crown jewel of Alabama confections: a four-layer sponge cake filled with a mixture of thick custard, raisins, coconut, and bourbon, topped off with a fluffy frosting. Learn about the invention that made this cake accessible to the masses, plus our favorite special ingredient. More

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