Are you planning a dinner party soon and not quite sure how to end it?
You wouldn’t dare think of getting dessert delivered in these times when between 46 and 54 percent of people have become burgeoning cooks.
If you’re not one of those master-chefs-in-the-making, don’t worry. Simple desserts are delicious too.
Check out these easy dessert recipes that make it look like you spent hours in the kitchen.
1. Everybody’s Favorite Brownies
This one is for all those who’ve tried to make brownies and failed before. This delectable dessert is notoriously temperamental for its too soft or too crunchy outcome.
Here’s how to get it perfectly right the first time, quickly and easily.
- 1 cup of melted butter
- 2 cups of white sugar
- ½ cup of cocoa powder
- 1 t of vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- ½ t of baking powder
- ½ t of salt
- ½ cup of walnut halves
- Grease a 9×13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all the ingredients except the walnuts and then spread the batter into the prepared pan. Decorate with the walnut halves if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick and continue baking until the toothpick comes out coated with crumbs.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Brownies are delicious when served plain or topped with ice cream or cream.
2. Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate and coffee are two of everyone’s favorite flavors. You can never have too much of a good thing, combine and you’ve got a showstopper dessert.
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 1 Full-size pack of Oreo cookies, crushed finely
- 8 T of unsalted butter, melted
- ½ t espresso powder
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 14 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
- 1 ½ t espresso powder
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of light brown sugar, packed
- 1 T of Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 ½ t of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of heavy cream
Ingredients for the Ganache:
- 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
- 1 ¼ cups of heavy cream
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 t espresso powder
Espresso beans and chocolate shavings to garnish
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs, butter, and espresso powder in a large bowl and mix well.
- Press the crust into the pan, pressing it down firmly, and place the crust in the freezer.
To Make the Filling:
- Fill a medium-sized pot one-third full with water and bring it to a simmer.
- Find a heatproof bowl that fits the top of the pan snugly and place it on top of the pan. It should not touch the water.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate to the bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate’s melted.
- Remove from the heat but leave the bowl of chocolate balanced on the pan. Stir in the espresso powder and set aside.
- Pulse the cream cheese in a food processor for about two minutes until smooth.
- Add the sugars and the cocoa powder. Beat until smooth.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix for about 20 seconds until just combined.
- Fold in the chocolate.
- Take the bowl out of the food processor and stir the filling with a rubber spatula until it’s evenly combined.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling inside, smoothing the top.
- Transfer your cheesecake to the refrigerator.
- Leave to chill for at least six hours.
To Make the Ganache:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
- Bring the cream to a low simmer in a small saucepan and pour half the cream over the chocolate pieces.
- Set aside for two minutes.
- Whisk the melted chocolate/cream mix into the remaining cream.
- Whisk carefully until it’s smooth and glossy.
- Add the butter and stir the mixture with a spatula until the butter’s melted, then fold in the espresso powder.
- Set aside half a cup of the ganache until needed and pour the rest over the chilled cheesecake.
- Sprinkle the cheesecake with the chocolate shavings and set aside for one hour.
- Place the remaining ganache into a piping bag and pipe stars around the edge of the cheesecake. Top each star with a coffee bean.
To serve, slice the chilled cheesecake with a sharp knife. Wipe the blade clean after each slice.
You can store this dessert in the refrigerator for up to four days, so it’s a great make-ahead option.
3. Easy Dessert Recipes With Cake
You simply can’t go wrong with cake and cupcakes are one of the world’s favorite treats.
They’re easy to dress up or down and look fantastic displayed on a cupcake tower at dessert time. Try this easy vanilla cupcake recipe:
Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
- 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 3 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, large
- 1 cup of water
Ingredients for the Frosting:
- ½ cup of salted butter
- ½ cup of shortening
- 4 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 ½ t vanilla extract
- 2–3 T of water or milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.
- Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Slowly add the water and mix slowly until combined. The batter will be thin.
- Spoon the batter into your prepared cupcake liners.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 17 minutes.
To Make the Frosting:
- Combine the butter and shortening and mix until smooth.
- Add two cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla essence.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and enough water or milk to reach the desired consistency.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
You can decorate these cupcakes with sprinkles, chocolate, or fruit, depending on your preferences.
Cooking Up a Storm
Armed with these easy dessert recipes you’re ready to wow your guests and impress your friends at your next dinner party.
In case you’re wondering what’s for the main course, browse our blog for more awesome food and drink ideas for every occasion.
Tracking COVID-19 Restrictions by Country Using an Interactive Tool
Skyscanner develops an interactive tool that provides travelers with information regarding the different travel restrictions per country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a multitude of travel restrictions all around the world to contain the transmission of the deadly virus. Americans are now peppered with so many travel-abroad regulations due to the rapid—and seemingly unending—increase in cases. If you plan to make a trip abroad, it can be difficult to obtain relevant and up-to-date information on the specific travel requirements for either your state of origin or your intended destination. This is because these requirements are regularly updated and modified depending on the COVID-19 situation at the moment.
More and more countries, however, are providing detailed travel restrictions and monitoring tools. Skyscanner’s interactive COVID-19 travel map is, by far, one of the most sophisticated ones. The tool is in its beta version and can be perused via Skyscanner’s website. The map can be used to check the different travel restrictions of the different countries represented. Countries are color-coded, displaying those with low, moderate, and heavy travel restrictions which are in green, yellow, and red, respectively. Countries that do not have data, however, are colored gray. A user’s specific country of origin is colored gray, as well, during a search.
You can click through the different destinations. You can also scroll through the list of suggested destinations provided. By doing so, you can find out about the travel restrictions per country and even check the latest updates in terms of current COVID-19 cases, the rate of transmission, the difference in case numbers as compared to the previous week, and so on. You are also offered the option to sign up for email notifications as regards succeeding COVID-19 updates regarding a particular country.
The said Skyscanner tool was introduced in November. It makes use of data obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the updates on travel restrictions plus COVID-19 case rates from the John Hopkins University.
The tool is an initiative that resulted from Skyscanner’s American survey as regards attitudes toward the different travel restrictions imposed which prevented easy trips locally and internationally. Out of the 1,000 respondents, about 51% mentioned that they did not have adequate confidence on the knowledge they had about the travel restrictions of the places they wanted to visit. Despite this fact, many Americans have been found to be browsing through international airfare.
“People want to travel and we know there is pent-up demand from the searches we are seeing for flights and for more information; but confidence has been hit by the lack of consistency between countries worldwide regarding measures and restrictions,” shares U.S. travel expert for Skyscanner, Mark Crossey. “Consumers just don’t understand the complex rules and are crying out for transparent, detailed information,” Crossey adds.
Crossey points out, however, that there are only a few countries that offer quarantine-free visits. At the moment, merely 13 countries are indicated as green. 212 countries are colored orange or even red. He asserts that the Skyscanner tool is only a piece of the solution. Countries all over the world must have a standard set of travel restrictions including testing protocols and quarantine procedures before travelling can become easier.
Top 10 Reasons to Conceal Carry a Gun
Have you ever thought about getting your concealed carry license? Then you’ve come to the right place.
A concealed carry license allows you to legally carry a concealed weapon (usually a handgun) on your person in public.
Though some states have more restrictive concealed carry laws than others, all states permit some level of concealed carry.
If you’re on the edge about whether or not to get your concealed carry permit, here are ten reasons why you should:
1. It helps you protect yourself
The most obvious reason to get a concealed carry permit is that it helps you protect yourself.
Sure, there are many other self-defense methods, like martial arts, knives, and pepper spray, but few are as effective as a concealed gun. It can help you stop a violent crime in a matter of seconds.
In addition, concealed carry can help you make up for physical disadvantages. If you are elderly or female, for example, having a gun may be the only way you can stop a larger attacker.
2. It helps you protect your family and others
On top of protecting yourself, concealed carrying helps you protect your loved ones.
As a parent or spouse, you have a serious responsibility to protect your family from harm. You never know when an attacker will strike, and it’s best to be prepared for the worst by having a gun on you.
As a concealed carrier, you may also find yourself in situations where you are the only one in a position to protect others, including strangers. You become the sheepdog that protects the sheep (regular citizens) from the wolves (criminals).
3. Violent crime is a real threat
Though violent crime in the U.S. has been steadily falling since the 1990s, it’s still a real threat.
In 2019, over 1 million violent crimes were committed across the country. That’s an estimated 366.7 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.
The world can be a dangerous place. But by having a concealed firearm, you will be able to protect yourself and others in the event that you witness (or become victim to) violence.
4. You’ll be less dependent on the police
The average police response time to 911 calls varies by area and the type of crime, but generally, it can take up to 10 minutes for help to arrive.
In the meantime, you still need to protect yourself. And when it comes to violent crime, every second counts. A concealed firearm could be all that stands between you and death (or worse).
Besides, contrary to popular belief, the police don’t have a legal duty to protect you unless you are in their custody. Your safety is ultimately your own responsibility.
5. It helps deter violent crime
Criminals are less likely to commit crimes when they think there could be an armed citizen nearby.
By carrying a concealed weapon, you help deter crime anywhere you go. In some cases, showing your gun will be enough to stop the violence.
This is also part of the reason why the U.S. has never been invaded or subject to a tyrannical government—its citizens are armed.
6. It provides valuable training in firearm safety and self-defense
To earn your concealed carry license, you must take and pass a firearms course, which covers gun safety, rules, maintenance, and self-defense (among other things).
This is a great opportunity to gain valuable gun training. It will teach you how to properly handle your concealed firearm and how to use it in self-defense as a last resort.
And it won’t take much time. Most concealed carry classes are a one-time full-day event that you can knock out on a weekend.
7. It gives you a tactical advantage
When you conceal carry, you gain a tactical advantage against criminals. Since they don’t know that you’re carrying a gun, you can catch them off guard and leverage the element of surprise.
In contrast, when you open carry, criminals will see that you’re armed and may target you as a result.
8. It helps you save money and time on background checks
Whenever you buy a gun (perhaps with gun accessories) from a licensed firearm dealer, you are required to undergo a background check. This can take up to a few hours and cost you $25 to $50 every time you buy a new gun.
But if you have your concealed carry license, it shows that you’ve already passed a background check. So you can just show it to the dealer to have the background check requirement waived.
9. It teaches you to increase your situational awareness
Concealed carrying will help you improve your situational awareness. How? By instilling in you more responsibility toward others. You’ll learn to stay vigilant against potential threats and crimes so you can react quickly and properly.
10. It’s your second amendment right
Lastly, carrying a firearm is your constitutional right. The second amendment gives you the right to “keep and bear arms.”
That’s reason enough to conceal carry. Just make sure you also respect the serious responsibilities that come with carrying a gun.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, the choice to get your concealed carry license or not is up to you. It’s a huge responsibility, but also one that could potentially save your life and the lives of others.
Many states will also honor conceal carry permits from other states (aka reciprocity), allowing you to carry while traveling across the country.
Research your state’s conceal carry laws and then do what’s best for you and your family.
The Different Types of White Wine Explained
Have you tried to select a good white wine for a special meal, or as a gift, but get overwhelmed by the endless white wine options at your local winery?
So many different bottles, with different labels and categories, can be frustrating. While you might not want to become a wine connoisseur, you wish you had a little knowledge of the types of white wine and its flavors.
The guide below will introduce you to the basic types of white wine and how to pair them with food. Knowing your white wine options and how they affect your palate will help you make the perfect selection later.
Chardonnay might be considered the “go-to” white wine for casual gatherings, rather than for a large meal. But, Chardonnay is actually a very full-bodied wine, and best paired with creamy, heavier food.
There is a distinction between Chardonnay and Chablis. Chablis is a region in France where wine is made from the Chardonnay grape. Chablis is not usually cured in oak barrels, as is a lot of Chardonnay, so it has a much lighter taste and is often paired with light appetizers like raw oysters.
Pinot Grigio has really taken Chardonnay’s place as the “go-to” wine these days, due to it’s consistently dry, light, and slightly fruity flavor.
Lighter in color than Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio can be paired with pasta and heavy salads, as well as most seafood. A Pinot Grigio stands well all by itself as well.
Sauvignon white wines are on the dry side, with a tart taste. Certain varieties, particularly those from New Zealand, have a more fruity taste. Many describe the taste as having a slight hint of grapefruit or sour apple flavor.
This is a great stand-alone wine, but pairs well with cheese, and fresh seafood.
Moscato is a sparkling white wine that is often thought of as a “dessert” wine, due to its sweet flavor. But these days, Moscato is becoming a popular dinner wine, as it pairs well with spicy foods, and even with a refreshing summer salad. And, of course, you can pair it with your favorite dessert.
Moscato is lower in alcohol content as well, making it a good starter choice for someone new to drinking white wine.
Riesling is also a popular dessert wine, as it is quite sweet, though not as sweet as Moscato.
Again, pairing it with spicy Asian or Indian dishes is a great idea, or with fruity desserts.
From a region in Germany, Gewurztraminer is a great dry/sweet combination wine and is slightly fruity. This white wine is less popular in the United States, usually because the other wines listed here are more familiar.
If you are unsure whether to go to a dry wine or sweet one, try a bottle of Gewurztraminer and pair it with cinnamon-laden desserts, creamy bisque soups, or curry dishes.
Choosing from the Types of White Wine
With so many types of white wine, how do you choose?
First, decide if the wine will be paired with food, and if so, what kind of food, and work from there.
If the wine is a gift for someone else, find out if they prefer a dry or sweet white wine. If the wine is for you, choose one from each of the types of white wine, and have a tasting party!
Do you love to travel, and dream of exploring the world? Stick with this site for content that will help you expand your horizons.
Top Transport and Travel News in the Year of COVID-19
Check Out America’s Best Halloween Attractions
Flying With A Baby Is As Easy As 123.
Travel Souvenirs That Won’t Break The Bank
Experience Cool On These Adventure Cruises
Destinations5 months ago
All-Inclusive Resorts Outside The Caribbean!
Destinations5 months ago
Destinations5 months ago
Safe Travel Spots For Travel Currently
Destinations5 months ago
Stay With The Animals At These Awesome Hotels
Destinations5 months ago
The Best Cruises For Every Family Type
Destinations3 months ago
Cheapest Caribbean Destination: Punta Cana VS Cancun
Featured5 months ago
How To Make A Healthy Gas Station Meal
Destinations5 months ago
The Cheapest Travel Destinations in the World in 2020