Love dessert at your favorite restaurant? Want to make it at home? Then check out "America's Most Wanted Recipes: Just Desserts" by Ron Douglas.
Prepare to drool through the recipes in this collection of treats guaranteed to tempt you. Sorted by the restaurants these "copycat" versions come from, there are sweet endings from places like Applebee's, Arby's, Cheesecake Factory, Cinnabon, Cold Stone Creamery, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, IHOP, Krispy Kreme, McDonald's, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, T.G.I. Friday's and much more.
The dessert recipes range from Bread Pudding, Apple Turnovers, French Silk Pie, Strawberry Pie, Creme Brulee, various flavors of ice cream, Glazed Doughnuts, Baked Apple Dumplings and many, many recipes for different varieties of cheesecakes.
A word of warning - these aren't generally quick recipes to throw together one night after dinner. These are desserts to be prepared ahead of time, on special occasions and holidays or on the weekends. But the effort will be worth it!
I love (should I say obsess with) cheesecake, and so I decided to make The Cheesecake Factory's White Chocolate-Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake. The note right on top of the recipe warns that this recipe is a bit time consuming, but most baked cheesecakes are, so I wasn't daunted. This cheesecake has an oreo cookie crust, a raspberry swirl in the cheesecake filling, mixed with white chocolate bits and then is usually topped with a white chocolate and whipped cream topping. This wasn't included in the recipe, which saddened me, but by the end of a very long night, I probably wouldn't have wanted to make it anyway, so, either way I wasn't getting it. Overall, this wasn't any more difficult to make than any other cheesecake - you make the crust with crushed oreos and butter, sprinkle with white chocolate chips, add the cream cheese mixture, swirl the raspberry preserve mixture over top, then add more cream cheese mixture and bake.
Here is where I ran into a problem. The cheesecake is supposed to bake in a water bath. The problem was I could not find a pan big enough to fit my 9-inch springform pan (and have never had to do this with cheesecakes previous.) I made do with a baking sheet with a bit of water, but I don't think it really helped. I cooked the cheesecake for the amount of time it said, but once it set (and cracked) it was still a bit less set in the middle than I liked. In the end, it turned out less pretty than I liked as the chocolate crust part stuck to the pan and I got annoyed with it before I even got a bite, although I still thought it tasted pretty good. However, everyone who ate it said it was delicious and I was crazy. Although I did get a request for more chocolate chips in it next time.
"America's Most Wanted Recipes: Just Desserts" is published by Atria. It is $16.