Delectable Desserts to Try in the USA

August 15, 2016
Living in China has me missing some of my favorite desserts from back home. It got me thinking about some iconic desserts to try in the United States. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you won't be able to pass up some of these delicious treats. This list is sure to satisfy a sweet craving or two.

Photo by: mr. throk

1) Banana's Foster at Brennan's in New Orleans- I still dream about this dessert from Brennan's, and I had it over a decade ago! It's so famous at this particular restaurant because this is where it was originally invented in 1951. The owner of Brennan's challenged the chef to create a dessert using bananas, and it has been a hit ever since. Bananas are cooked in a buttery brown sugar sauce, but the real fun begins when the rum is added to this flambé dish. After the fire goes out, the sauce and bananas are added on top of some creamy vanilla ice cream. At Brennan's it's prepared tableside so you can see for yourself.

If you can't make it to Brennan's, the good news is that it doesn't take very long to make and does not require a long list of ingredients.

Related Banana's Foster Links

*Banana's Foster at Brennan's - This link will take you right to the original recipe.
*Brennan's of New Orleans Reopens with Pomp and Flaming Banana's Foster- Get the scoop on the 2014 reopening of Brennan's and look at the slideshow of the gorgeous interior.
*Video of Banana's Foster at Brennan's- There is some background noise in this video, but you can still get a good look at how it's prepared tableside.
*Healthy Banana's Foster- Have this version of Banana's Foster over some Greek yogurt instead of vanilla ice cream.
*Tropical Banana's Foster- Banana's Foster with a twist!
*Banana's Foster Bread Pudding- Combine two famous New Orlean's desserts into one.
*Banana's Foster Ideas on Pinterest- This board has thousands of ideas and recipes such as Banana's Foster French toast or Banana's Foster milkshakes, to name a few!

2) Cannoli at Mike's Pastry in Boston- While in Boston last summer, I went on two day tours with two different tour guides. Both of them raved about the cannoli at Mike's Pastry. I decided to trust the guides and bought some cannoli and got a to-go box. Before I even tried them, Bostonians were commenting left and right when they saw the box I was carrying. For example, when I bought a water at a drugstore, the cashier joked that I was so nice to bring him something from Mike's Pastry. Even others on the tour with us saw that Rachael and I had gone to Mike's Pastry and said we made the right decision. Mike's Pastry had traditional cannoli filled with plain ricotta cheese, but there were also some other Americanized versions like: Oreo, chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate chip, pistachio, and caramel. Let's just say that I was not disappointed!

Related Mike's Pastry Cannoli Links

*Mike's Pastry- The official site
*All 18 Mike's Pastry Cannoli Ranked From Worst to Best- Not sure which cannoli to try? Maybe this article will help sway you.
*The Best Cannoli in the North End- There are some other places in Boston that make delicious cannoli. Of course Mike's Pastry is on this list, but there are seven other worthy spots to try as well. 
*Video Tour of Mike's Pastry- If you're not wanting to try some cannoli, there are so many other options like their flavored macaroons (not to be confused with macarons).
*Cannoli Recipe- Want to try to recreate the traditional ricotta cannoli you had at Mike's? A blogger takes a stab at it and calls the outcome "a close second to Mike's." 

3) Ice cream at Leopold's in Savannah- Leopold's Ice Cream is very well known in Savannah and has a reputation for serving up some delicious homemade ice cream. In the summer, the line can get pretty long, but the ice cream is worth the wait. This ice cream parlor is located in Savannah's Historic District right on Broughton Street, and soups and sandwiches are also served here. Leopold's opened in 1919 and is famous for its Tutti Frutti ice cream, which is one of its signature flavors. Some consider the soda fountain inside the parlor to be one of the best in the United States.

One of my personal favorites is a mint chocolate chip sundae. While it's not officially on the menu, you can pretty much get a sundae made out of anything you want. A scoop of honey almond and cream is also one of my top recommendations. The honey used in the ice cream is from Savannah Bee Company, which has two shops in Savannah!

Photo by: Jayjay P

Related Leopold's Ice Cream Links

*Leopold's Ice Cream- Official Website
*Stratton Leopold's Hot Fudge Sauce- A recipe for the hot fudge served at Leopold's.
*The 33 Best Ice Cream Shops in America- Leopold's made the list! See the other top picks, too.

4) Cupcakes or Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery in New York City- The first Magnolia Bakery opened its doors in 1996 in NYC, but this widely popular bakery now has multiple locations both within the United States and all over the world. Personally, I visited the Grand Central Station location because that was the most convenient for me. Magnolia Bakery is well-known for its cupcakes, which can be ordered online and delivered within the United States. Some flavors on the current menu which include both classic and speciality cupcakes are: red velvet, carrot, coconut, truffle, flourless chocolate, and peanut butter and jelly. Upon reading reviews for Magnolia Bakery, I saw that many customers raved about the banana pudding, which I have yet to try. Just another excuse to go back one day, right?

Photo by: Larry

Related Magnolia Bakery Links

*Magnolia Bakery- Official Website
*The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook- This cookbook is full of recipes for sweet treats like cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. 
*Secrets of Magnolia Bakery: Cupcakes, Carrie Bradshaw, and Beyond- This article has some fun facts about the bakery and tells which celebrities are fans.
*Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcake Recipe- Believe it or not, the vanilla cupcake is the top seller. Learn how to make it with this recipe. 
*20 Years of Magnolia: A Timeline- July 14, 2016 marked the twentieth anniversary of when the first Magnolia Bakery opened. 

5) Beignets at Café du Monde in New Orleans- Café du Monde is a favorite of both local residents and tourists. Beignets, or fried dough, are topped with powdered sugar and can best be enjoyed with some of the cafe's coffee and chicory. This open air cafe is a great place to go to for an early breakfast  or for a snack during the day. It's almost always bustling since it is a major tourist attraction, and is fun for people watching.

Photo by: Sarah Mulligan

Related Café du Monde Links

*Café du Monde- Official Website
*How to do Café du Monde Like a Local- Read about these tips and tricks so that you can avoid long lines and not get powdered sugar all over yourself.
*The Untold Story of How Cafe du Monde Stands Ended Up in Japan- Did you know that Café du Monde has locations all over Japan? Neither did I! This was an interesting read.
*Powdered Doughnuts at Café du Monde-This video shows what the atmosphere is like at the famous New Orleans location.
Bon Appétit Review- This review explains why tourist traps are sometimes worth it.

6) Dole Whip Float at Disney- A Dole Whip has got to be one of the most popular desserts at Disney World and Disneyland. Just in case you don't know what it is, let me explain. It's pineapple flavored soft serve ice cream that can potentially made even better when pineapple juice is added and it becomes a float. Dole Whips are served in Disney World at Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom, and at Disneyland you can pick one up the Tiki Juice Bar. This tropical treat is a must-have for many visitors!

Photo by: Mandy Jansen

Related Dole Whip Links

*#Onthelist: Dole Whip at Disney World and Disneyland- This Disney food blog gives you the lowdown on where to find Dole Whips at the theme parks and shows how they differ slightly at each location. Although pineapple is the one that's "a big deal," some venues serve up vanilla or orange versions of this treat.
*Dole Whip Fun Facts- If you want a brief history of Dole Whips or to learn where else you might be able to try this dessert, then this link is for you.
*Homemade Disneyland Dole Whip- A highly rated recipe you can make with frozen pineapple.
*This Creamy Pineapple Frozen Treat is Dairy-Free and Delicious- PopSugar shows you how to make their version of a Dole Whip in this 30 second video. Only 110 calories per serving!
*Dole Whip With Rum- A more grown up version of the snack
*The 5 Yummiest Treats at Magic Kingdom & Where to Get Them- See what else is recommended after you get a Dole Whip. 

7) Ice cream or sorbet at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio- I have to pay homage to what was my home state for many years by mentioning Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. The first Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams shop opened up at the North Market in Columbus, but there are now 10 locations in and around Columbus as well as other shops all over America. I often frequented the Grandview Heights location, as it was only a short walk from where I was living a few years back. One of the reason why Jeni's is so popular is because ingredients are fresh and there are some very unique flavors. I know there were a few on the menu that I'd never seen anywhere else! Look at this list of some of the current flavors you'll find at Jeni's and I dare you not to be surprised: Sweet Corn and Black Raspberries, Ylang Ylang & Fennel, Middle West Whiskey & Pecan, Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam, and Atlantic Beach Pie. They also have flavors that are a bit more standard like salty caramel, a few kinds of chocolate, vanilla bean, etc. If you're vegan or lactose intolerant or just have taste buds in general, try the sorbet! I love the Cherry Lambic flavor as well as the Riesling one.

Photo by: Riane Ramsey

Related Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Links

*Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams- Official Website...Check to see if there is a Jeni's near you!
*Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Instagram Account- Nothing like artsy pictures of some drool-worthy ice cream. 
*How Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is Fighting Waste in a Genius Way This tells about what the company has done in order to reduce packaging waste.
*A History of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams- The timeline goes from 2002-2015.
*Goat Cheese Ice Cream With Roasted Red Cherries- Try out this recipe for a memorable dessert.

8) Coca-Cola Cake at West Egg Café in Atlanta- I would tell a traveler with a sweet tooth to try Coca-Cola cake anywhere, but it's not that common in every part of the United States (although it is on Cracker Barrel's dessert menu). Since the World of Coca-Cola is located in Atlanta, Georgia, naturally there are some bakeries and cafés in the city that bake and sell Coca-Cola cakes and cupcakes. West Egg Café is supposed to have some really scrumptious Coca-Cola cupcakes, complete with the bottled soda gummies adorning the tops. Might as well grab some brunch there while you're at it.

 Photo by: (*This photo is not Coca-Cola Cake from West Egg Cafe but sure does look tempting regardless).

Related Coca-Cola Cake Links

*Coca-Cola Cake Recipe- This is the official Coca-Cola cake recipe right from Coke's website. 
*West Egg Cafe- Stop here to get some award-winning Coca-Cola cupcakes if you're in Atlanta.
*World of Coca-Cola- Learn more about the attraction here. 
*Vegan Coca-Cola Cake With Fudgy Frosting- Just one look at the picture, and I'm dying to make these!

With so many other kinds of American desserts, this list could be endless. If you're a fellow dessert lover and have any dessert restaurant recommendations, please share! What's your favorite dessert to have in the States? Any New York Cheesecake lovers? Carrot cake fanatics?
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