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Scrumptious 3 Easy Dessert Recipes To Try Out Today

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the walnuts and then spread the batter into the prepared pan. Decorate with the walnut halves if desired.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

Here goes…

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.

Method:

  1. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs, butter, and espresso powder in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Press the crust into the pan, pressing it down firmly, and place the crust in the freezer.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot one-third full with water and bring it to a simmer.
  2. 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.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate to the bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate’s melted.
  4. Remove from the heat but leave the bowl of chocolate balanced on the pan. Stir in the espresso powder and set aside.
  5. Pulse the cream cheese in a food processor for about two minutes until smooth.
  6. Add the sugars and the cocoa powder. Beat until smooth.
  7. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix for about 20 seconds until just combined.
  8. Fold in the chocolate.
  9. Take the bowl out of the food processor and stir the filling with a rubber spatula until it’s evenly combined.
  10. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling inside, smoothing the top.
  11. Transfer your cheesecake to the refrigerator.
  12. Leave to chill for at least six hours.

To Make the Ganache:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
  2. Bring the cream to a low simmer in a small saucepan and pour half the cream over the chocolate pieces.
  3. Set aside for two minutes.
  4. Whisk the melted chocolate/cream mix into the remaining cream.
  5. Whisk carefully until it’s smooth and glossy.
  6. Add the butter and stir the mixture with a spatula until the butter’s melted, then fold in the espresso powder.
  7. Set aside half a cup of the ganache until needed and pour the rest over the chilled cheesecake.
  8. Sprinkle the cheesecake with the chocolate shavings and set aside for one hour.
  9. 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

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Slowly add the water and mix slowly until combined. The batter will be thin.
  6. Spoon the batter into your prepared cupcake liners.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 17 minutes.

To Make the Frosting:

  1. Combine the butter and shortening and mix until smooth.
  2. Add two cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla essence.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar and enough water or milk to reach the desired consistency.
  4. 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. 

Destinations

Where Can Americans Vacation Internationally Right Now?

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Following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., one of the top trending questions among Americans today is, “Where can Americans internationally travel to now?” At the moment, only a few countries and territories are open to travelers originating from the United States.

Fortunately, several places in Mexico and the Caribbean are opening their borders to U.S. tourists. As a result, new reports mention a surge in flight bookings to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Mexico

The border between Mexico and the United States remains closed to non-essential travel until at least the end of August. Nonetheless, U.S. tourists are allowed to fly to some of the country’s reopened locations including:

  • Cancun
  • Cozumel
  • Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos)
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Riviera Maya (includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum)
  • Riviera Nayarit (includes Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta)

For these places, masks and temperature checks are mandatory upon arrival at the airport. Tourists are also required to fill out a risk factor questionnaire both during arrival and departure. A COVID-19 test is not needed, however.

Caribbean and its Nearby Islands

Aruba

U.S. tourists entering Aruba are required to take a PCR test. Those coming from certain states with COVID-19 cases on the rise, a PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded together with the filled out embarkation/disembarkation forms. A PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded with the same embarkation/disembarkation forms for tourists originating from all other states. However, for this second group, an option to be tested at the airport is a given option, which requires a separate payment of $75.

Also, tourists must pay for the compulsory Aruba Visitors Insurance with premiums varying depending on age. Visitors between the ages of 15 to 75 must pay $15, allowing them to remain in Aruba for seven days. The said insurance policy can solely be purchased online and must be accomplished 72 hours before a flight.

Barbados

Besides mandatory face masks, health checks, and border interviews, visitors must take a PCR test 72 hours before a flight. The said test results must be submitted electronically, and a copy of the same test must be brought during embarkation.

Bermuda

COVID-19 testing is required. Travelers must have a negative testing result that should be taken no longer than seven days before the flight. Second testing is done upon arrival, and a quarantine period of typically 24 hours follows while waiting for the results. Besides that, tourists must accomplish a Bermuda Travel Authorization plus the payment of $75, covering COVID-19 tests done while staying in Bermuda. Testing is done after 4, 8, and 14 days. Masks are mandatory in public places as well.

Other Places

Aside from the areas mentioned earlier, Americans are also allowed to travel to several other locations. Note that specific requirements must be accomplished, as well, prior to ticket reservation.

  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)
  • Croatia
  • Malta
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)

Summary

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases must be noted when planning a trip abroad. American need to check developing updates regularly to know the current regulations set in place by the different areas they plan to visit before buying a ticket and embarking on a trip abroad.

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Destinations

Which Countries Suffered the Biggest Losses in Tourism Revenue Due to COVID-19?

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The Official Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Official ESTA), the Visa Waiver processing agency, releases a report enumerating the countries that suffered the most massive losses due to the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Forrester, the Official ESTA Director of International Development, asserts, “As travel came to a standstill for many months, countries around the world that rely on tourism for their economy and jobs are now seeing significant drops in revenue and GDP.” She adds that when we take “…into account how travel and tourism contribute $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP alone, it is devastating to see a total loss of $195 billion worldwide in the first four months of 2020 alone.”

Below are the top nations that took the most massive tourism revenue blows due to the said crisis.

United States

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, amounting to 6,135,598 as of writing. The country tops the list with $30,709 million losses for tourism revenue alone during the first four months of the year. On March, 31 US states were placed on lockdown with the State Department issuing a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ restriction that prohibits international travel while urging residents traveling abroad to return immediately.

Spain

It reported a massive tourism revenue loss of $9,741 million in June due to the said pandemic. Almost as soon as COVID-19 transmission slowed down and foreign travelers were allowed to re-enter the country, the United Kingdom placed a quarantine restriction on British residents originating from Spain. This further deterred British citizens from traveling to Spain in the hopes of enjoying the summer.

France

Another country that suffered significant tourism losses is France. The country reported an $8,767 million tourism loss, making it the second European nation to suffer such great damage.

Thailand

The country was able to halt COVID-19 transmission, reporting no new cases during the last 87 days. Nonetheless, the government announced its intention to perpetuate its closed borders until 2021. During the first four months of 2020, the nation lost $7,822 million tourism earnings due to the crisis.

Germany

Germany closed its borders in March, resulting in a tourism revenue loss of $7,225 million. The country recently reopened its doors to tourists originating from the European Union, Iceland, Britain, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Norway.

Italy

The country became the center of the pandemic back in March. Because of this, fluid movement across the nation was halted during this year’s first four months, which resulted in a tourism income loss of $6,187 million.

United Kingdom

One of the few nations that did not immediately impose a travel ban against travelers coming from abroad, the country’s COVID-19 cases quickly escalated. Thus, numerous countries placed restrictions on people originating from the country and on those planning there. As a result, the UK reported a $5,816 million loss in tourism revenue.

Australia

Due to the massive wildfire that occurred during the start of 2020 and the rise of the on-going pandemic, the country’s tourism industry was heavily affected as well. The Land Down Under reported a loss of $5,674 million.

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Destinations

America Travel News: Can I Fly To The USA Right Now?

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On 16 March, the Trump Administration announced a travel ban to the US. This mandate affects travelers originating from a list of countries currently prohibited from entering the United States. Most Brits, who go on trips to the US, do so for holidays. But can they still travel to the US right now?

Brits Entering America

Unfortunately, Brits who were recently in the UK, Schengen region, Ireland, Brazil, Iran, or China during the last 14 days cannot enter the US. Exceptions to this ruling are the following:

  • US citizens and green card holders (permanent residents);
  • Brits who are married to a US citizen or a green card holder;
  • Close family members of US citizens and green card holders; and
  • Selected visa holiday holders.

If you are not among these groups listed above, you are currently not eligible to enter the United States.

Similarly, the United Kingdom added the US to its red list. This means that effective on 3 July, people who originate from the US are also not allowed to enter the UK during this time. There is no current reciprocal travel corridor agreement between both countries.

Because of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States, it is equally unlikely that travel restrictions to the UK for Americans will be lifted soon.

Increasing COVID-19 Infection in the US

Related to this junction, the US recently eased lockdown protocols in various popular vacation spots, including Florida and New York. However, in several locations like Las Vegas and California, travel restrictions are being imposed to halt the growing number of infections further.

As of writing, the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. Its record has already reached 6,135,598, while the current international COVID-19 total is now 25,140,903—both alarming numbers that heavily impact worldwide public health and economic well-being.

When Will This Ban Be Lifted?

There is no definite date scheduled for the lifting of the said travel ban. The ban will continue to be in effect until authorities determine that traveling between the UK and the US is already safe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of America’s leading public health officials, asserts that present travel restrictions might only be eased when a veritable vaccine is discovered and developed. During a Telegraph interview, Fauci mentions that the ban may take “months than weeks” before it gets lifted. He adds, “I don’t think there’s going to be an immediate pullback for those kinds of restrictions.”

“The US from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and Europe, so there isn’t a reciprocal relationship in place there in any case,” says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview.

Even US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin supposes that the said travel ban might last until 2021—a presumption that may be further delayed given the current infection trends within the US.

Limited Flights

For those who are given the green light to enter the US, however, there are several flights between the UK and the US every day. Several airlines like American Airlines, United, and British Airways fly from London to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC, and New York daily.

For canceled flights, however, passengers are eligible for refunds or travel vouchers. You must contact your specific airline for details on how to do so.

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