'dessert' on Serious Eats

The Food Lab: The Science of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've never been able to get a chocolate chip cookie exactly the way I like. I'm talking chocolate cookies that are barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate. I made it my goal to test each and every element from ingredients to cooking process, leaving no chocolate chip unturned in my quest for the best. 32 pounds of flour, over 100 individual tests, and 1,536 cookies later, I had my answers. More

American Classics: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

When I first heard about this dish from a Southern friend, I had visions of spinach topped with sliced strawberries and maybe a little feta cheese and tossed with pretzel crumbles. But this dish is more akin to a Jell-O No Bake Cheesecake than a Caesar. The combination of a salty crushed pretzel crust, rich whipped cream, and strawberry gelatin intrigued me. More

Dulces: Torta de Elotes (Corn Torte)

Corn is ubiquitous in Latin American cuisine. It's used in every conceivable fashion, from the instantly recognizable tortilla to more obscure fermented beverages, like chicha de maíz. Torta de elotes—corn torte or cake—is on the more popular side and is made in several countries. It's rather similar to corn pudding: fresh corn is ground to a pulp, then combined with eggs, sugar, and other flavorings, such as sweetened condensed milk or cheese. More

American Classics: Grape-Nuts Pudding

I come from a long line of New Englanders. Hearty folk who've weathered close to three centuries of blustery Maine winters. They're no fuss and no nonsense. And they like Grape-Nuts...for dessert. If that sounds a bit austere to you, don't feel sorry for them, Grape-Nuts Pudding is wicked simple to make and as comforting as any dessert you might find on your Nana's table, if your Nana was from Down East. More

S'mores Brownie Bars

The base is a slightly modified version of "The Greatest Brownies Ever" from Jennifer Appel's The Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook. I've adapted her well-behaved recipe to make an intense, bittersweet chocolate layer between the graham cracker crust and the toasted mini-marshmallow topping. The dark chocolate center curbs the over-the-top sweetness that candy bar milk chocolate normally lends the classic kid dessert. The brownie layer is thinner than a proper brownie, as I was aiming for a bar effect rather than a brownie with a crust. More

This Week in America's Test Kitchen: Classic Bread Pudding

The folks at America's Test Kitchen wanted a bread pudding that had a moist, creamy interior and a crisp top crust. They chose challah for its rich flavor. To cut down on the egginess, they used only yolks and still achieved a luscious, silky custard. For a crackly crust, they dotted the top with additional toasted bread cubes and brushed on melted butter followed by a sprinkling of white and brown sugars. Watch the video here for the technique. More

Thanksgiving Pies: Pumpkin and Sweet Potato

Ok, so pies aren't exactly sides, but they're such important parts of the Thanksgiving tradition that I had to include them in this series. Rich pumpkin (or sweet potato) custard, spiced with cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and sometimes booze, these pies are my all-time favorite. They're sometimes even better after they've set for a day, so you can make your pies ahead of time to cut down on last minute stress. More

Mixed Review: Turning Pound Cake into Olive Oil Cake

I was hoping to create a cake that would pass for homemade, and while this didn't quite get there, it was close. The Frangelico I used imparted a subtle warmth, the olive oil made it a bit fruity, and hazelnuts added a bit of crunch. This would be a great party dessert option when you're short on time or feeding a large crowd. More

Mixed Review: Barefoot Contessa Outrageous Mint Chocolate Brownies

Since it's July, and scorching hot, I couldn't resist the Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Mint Chocolate Brownie Mix ($10.95). There was something so temping about the promise of cool, refreshing mint—especially when paired with dense fudgy chocolate. I've made Ina's brownies from scratch before, and was impressed with how gooey and moist they were. I hoped the mix would yield similar results. More

Mixed Review: Peanut Butter & Co. Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

In addition to their line of outrageously-flavored peanut butters, Peanut Butter & Company produces several different baking mixes. I decided to test out the Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookie Mix ($7) for this week's Mixed Review. There's just something so quintessentially American about peanut butter cookies, I thought they would make an appropriate treat for the upcoming 4th of July holiday. More

Mixed Review: Jell-O Flan

When I think of Jell-O, I think of things that are solidly American, such as no-bake cheesecake, instant chocolate pudding, and edible vodka shots. That's why I was so surprised to see a mix for flan on the supermarket shelf, tucked in between the boxes of more typical flavors like kiwi-strawberry and watermelon. How well could Jell-O pull off a traditional European dessert? I was curious to find out. More

Mixed Review: No Pudge! Brownies

Since their debut in 1995, fat-free No Pudge! Brownies have been a dieting staple, right up there with Special K and Skinny Cow. Over the years they've garnered much media praise, but it's been mostly from health magazines like Self,... More

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