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.
The Unique History of Dumplings
Did you know that a dumpling eating record was set in Sydney, Australia in 2019?
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, they held a celebration in Sydney in which 764 people all ate dumplings at the same time. They met the previous record in 2013 when 750 individuals participated.
Whether you choose to eat them at a massive celebration or in the comfort of your home, dumplings are an indisputable part of global cuisine. But where exactly did this tasty meal stem from?
We’re here to fill you in! Check out our guide below to learn the evolution and ancient history of dumplings!
Intro to the History of Dumplings
Dumplings have popped up in various cultures throughout history. The easiest way to narrow down their origin though is by first asking: what is a dumpling?
Dumplings are pieces of dough that are fried, boiled, steamed, or baked. Typically the dough holds meat or vegetable fillings. Occasionally the dough is cooked without fillings.
We can trace dumpling-like recipes as far back as Ancient Rome. However, the classic dumpling we all know and love has its origins in Ancient China.
The history of Chinese dumplings began over 1,800 years ago under the Eastern Han Dynasty. A man named Zhang Zhongjian returned to his home village and found that the villagers were suffering from frostbite.
Zhongjian was a medicinal practitioner and searched for a way to assist his fellow villagers. To fight the cold, Zhongjian blended together meat, vegetables, and herbs and wrapped the mixture in scraps of dough. The dumplings were then steamed to bind all the ingredients together.
It’s believed that Zhongjian used his skills as a doctor to create the dumplings. He chose herbs that would help combat frostbite and keep the villagers safe and healthy.
The steaming hot dish was a good way to fight the ill effects of a harsh winter. The villagers enjoyed the meal so much that they continued to make dumpings even when spring arrived.
The Spread of Dumplings
The history of dumplings doesn’t end with its conception in Ancient China nearly 2,000 years ago. Dumplings have pervaded throughout the centuries, and they’ve evolved and changed to fit the needs of the people.
We can see the passage of dumplings as early as the 1300s. At this time, traders often carried their goods along the Silk Road. It’s suspected that this is how one dumpling recipe came to pass from one culture to the next.
At this time, it’s suspected that the Turkish peoples adopted the manti dumplings, likely from the Mongolian peoples traversing the Silk Road. Manti dumplings are made from a spiced meat mixture—typically lamb or ground beef—which is then wrapped in a thin dough before they’re boiled or steamed.
This type of dumpling is most commonly compared to the Chinese jiaozi and baozi dumplings. The manti steamed buns are now a staple even in Russia and post-Soviet countries, where they’ve crossed over from Central Asia.
Pierogi is the Polish word for dumplings and another dumpling variety that many Westerners have grown familiar with. Pierogi—which is actually the plural of the word pieróg—are a Polish staple and are even commemorated with a yearly festival. These dumplings, wrapped in unleavened dough, are stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings before they’re boiled and then pan-fried.
Pierogi have a debated origin story. However, some suspect that pierogi entered Poland from China via the Silk Road, much like the manti dumplings that emerged in Turkish culture.
Additional Cultural Adaptations
While China is often considered the earliest origin site for what we now refer to as dumplings, other dumpling variations have cropped up around the globe since then. Whether you travel through Latin America, Africa, or Central Europe, you’re sure to find the local take on dumplings.
Many dumpling recipes arose as a solution to poverty. It’s much cheaper to combine a ration of meat with vegetables and dough scraps than to create a more meat-hearty entree.
Many of these recipes even take a different route and create sweetened dumplings, perfect for desserts. Others incorporate cheese, much like the Italian ravioli and tortellini and the potato-based gnocchi. You’ll even see an American spin on dumplings in the classic Southern chicken and dumplings dish.
The Globalization of Chinese Dumplings
However, the tasty variations from China still prevail around the world and are a notable addition to American cuisine.
In fact, Chinese food in general has become an integral part of the diets of many Americans. It’s likely that dumplings, as with many other popular Chinese dishes, arrived around the same time.
Chinese immigration to the U.S. began in the 1800s, so we can safely assume that dumplings arrived in the U.S. at this time as well. The Chinese diaspora would still indulge in traditional Chinese celebrations throughout the year. Food played an important role in these celebrations.
By the mid-1800s, Chinese restaurants were becoming more popularized in America. Chinatowns, such as the largest one in San Francisco, were growing in popularity, and their cuisine was too.
Dumplings were but one of many Chinese dishes to emerge in America, but the mass Chinese immigration in the 19th century certainly solidified the dumpling as an addition to the ever-evolving Chinese-American cuisine.
The Importance of Dumplings
The history of dumplings stretches back hundreds of years and has been passed down by hundreds of thousands of hungry travelers and chefs. We’re happy to say that there’s a dumpling for everyone, whether you’re indulging in Chinese potstickers or Italian ravioli!
For more articles on travel and your favorite foods, check out the rest of our website!
5 Silver Lake Restaurants Every Food Lover Needs to Try
Silver Lake, the aggressively cool hipster hideout a hop, skip, and a jump north of Downtown LA, is filled with things to see and do. There is any number of must-see landmarks, laid-back cafés, and trendy bars to explore. But for the food lover, the real draw of Silver Lake is the amazing selection of eateries it offers.
From casual and cozy spots to high-end establishments, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re in town for the weekend or a long-time Angeleno, one thing’s for sure, if you’re a food lover in Los Angeles, you won’t want to miss these restaurants.
1. Little Pine
Little Pine restaurant was once owned by Moby, and predictably, serves exclusively vegan fare. That doesn’t mean it’s boring though. You won’t find endless variations of raw salads and green juices on the menu here. Little pine is dedicated to serving up innovative and most of all hearty vegan food that even meat-eaters will love.
2. Boo’s Philly
If you’re looking for something that’s decidedly not vegan, but nonetheless delicious, then Boo’s Philly is definitely the place for you. Serving up a small menu of impressively large-sized subs, this causal little deli is a must-visit if you’re seeking the most authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks this side of the liberty bell. Their hoagies have to be seen to be believed, and luckily, you can check them out at this browse link.
3. Botanica Restaurant and Market
For something quintessentially Californian, it doesn’t get much better than Botanica Restaurant and Market. Owned by two former food critics, the plates are healthy, organic, locally-sourced, and beautifully prepared. Using only the finest produce, and with an impressive selection of natural wine, this laid-back spot is great for a casual brunch or dinner with friends.
Alimento is a Silver Lake staple serving up some of the most delicious Italian food you’ve ever eaten. Headed up by James Beard-nominated chef Zach Pollack, Alimento is a quaint and cozy little bistro with amazing wines and pasta to die for. It’s one of the pricier options on this list, but we’re sure you’ll find it’s most definitely worth every cent.
5. Ceviche Project
Although slightly niche, Ceviche Project definitely deserves a place on a list of food to love in Silver Lake. This tiny little restaurant contains an extensive and inspiring menu of Latin American inspired seafood dishes. Critics and everyday patrons alike rave about the amazing flavor combinations and fresh ingredients produced by chef Octavio Olivas. A great choice for an intimate dinner or date night.
Food for the Food Lover
In order to fully explore all of the best food in Silver Lake, it would take much more than 500 words and a much longer list. Silver Lake’s many restaurants are characterized by their attention to detail, fresh ingredients, and creative menus. What we’re saying is, if you’re a food lover, it’s not a bad place to be.
For more reviews and tips on where to find the best food, check out the rest of our guides.
5 Reasons to Visit Oludeniz, Turkey
Turkey is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, attracting around 35 million international tourist arrivals. And it’s no wonder why — Turkey has everything a tourist can want. Beautiful scenery, a vibrant culture, and several amazing historic sites are what you can expect when you visit Turkey.
But where in Turkey should you visit? Istanbul? Antalya? While these are great cities, you should also consider Oludeniz, Turkey.
Oludeniz is a hidden paradise in the hidden corner of the country. It’s one of the few places in the world that conserved its unique nature and there are many fun activities to make your trip unforgettable.
Here are 5 reasons to visit Oludeniz.
1. Water Sports
Oludeniz has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Situated on the Turkish Riviera, this small beach boasts crystal clear water and offers many sensational experiences. This is why water sports are one of the best things to do in Oludeniz.
From parasailing to scuba diving, the number of water sports you can do is limitless.
If you’re looking for the ultimate thrill, you should try paragliding. Paragliding is an activity where you’re gliding through the air on a parachute. And Oludeniz is the ultimate destination for paragliding. At 2,000 meters in the air, you can see Oludeniz’s unique landscape that consists of mountains, greenery, and breathtaking beaches.
Oludeniz Turkey boasts a unique landscape and wildlife. If you want to learn more about this unique city, you should go on a safari. You’ll see animals such as wolves, goats, foxes, jackals, badgers, wild boars, and otters.
Most safaris also go into the local villages so you can discover Oludeniz’s unique culture and try their delicious food.
4. Boat Tour
What better way to see Oludeniz than on a boat? There are many boat tours in Oludeniz where you can see the lovely coasts and even view some places undiscoverable by foot. Some boat tours even take a break so you can go for a swim.
There are usually boat tours every day throughout the coast.
It’s no surprise that Oludeniz is one of the best spots for nature lovers. This is why a hiking trip in Oludeniz is a must.
The Lycian Way trail is regarded as one of the best hiking trails in the world. You not only see Oludeniz’s unique nature but also some incredible history. The trail begins at Kaykoy, a town abandoned by the ancient Greeks. From here, your walk consists of trekking through the mountains and making it back to Blue Lagoon where you can go for a swim.
Visit Oludeniz, Turkey
If you’re booking your Turkey vacation, add Oludeniz, Turkey to your list. Oludeniz has everything you could ever want in a vacation spot, from beautiful nature to breathtaking beaches. Being one of the hidden gems in Turkey, you should discover this untouched spot for an unforgettable experience!
Do you need more travel destination ideas? Continue reading our blog where we cover various travel spots throughout the world!
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