'Serious Sweets' on Serious Eats

Dulces: Pan de Muerto

Food is a central part of Día de los muertos. Pan de muerto is a sweet, soft bread, coated with sugar and made fragrant with the beautiful aroma of orange blossom water. Even if you won't be rapping your knuckles on stranger's doors on behalf of your calaverita, this is a festive and curious bread that's worth trying. More

Dulces: Calzones Rotos (Chilean Fried Pastries)

In Chile, legend has it that a woman who sold fried dough in a Santiago square during colonial times was surprised by a strong gust of wind that made her skirt fly up. The big reveal: her underpants were torn. Today, the pastries she sold are still prepared in Chile. They're called calzones rotos (torn ladies' underwear) to her—and her mother's—eternal shame. More

Coffee Tapioca

I was delighted to discover that this recipe was not only super easy, but also a tasty way to enjoy coffee in pudding form. With instant-tapioca, this pudding thickens readily and you may be tempted to eat it straight from the pan, but have patience—it's worth waiting for it to chill completely. Top with whipped cream for a sweet ending to a hot summer night. More

American Classics: Joe Froggers

The origins of Joe Froggers date back to Marblehead, Massachusetts some two hundred years ago. Legend has it that Joseph Brown, a freed slave and Revolutionary War veteran, operated a tavern called Black Joe's where his wife, Lucretia, or "Auntie Crese" to regulars, baked up molasses cookies the size of the lily pads in the pond nearby (hence the frog connection). Sailors prized these chewy cookies for their ability to stay fresh during long sea voyages. I'm sure the fact that they're made with rum didn't hurt either. More

American Classics: Red, White, and Blueberry Icebox Cake

First popularized in the 1920s, these no-bake cakes are typically made by sandwiching whipped cream between layers of wafer cookies or ladyfingers. While it feels almost un-American to knock the traditional 'Nilla wafers, I've never been especially keen on them, so I was glad to discover Trader Joe's makes their own house brand "Ultimate Vanilla Wafers" flecked with Madagascar vanilla beans. More

Serious Sweets: Thai Coffee Bread Pudding

I've made bread pudding with everything from sliced white to croissants, but much prefer challah; it absorbs the custard nicely while retaining its shape so the pudding isn't a mushy mess. In this recipe, the custard is made with sweetened condensed milk and a generous amount of espresso powder, accentuated with floral cardamom, spicy cinnamon, and the perfume of almond extract. More

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