Some people say that dessert is the best meal of the day. Those are the kind of people that always leave room for dessert when they go out to eat. But that’s not always the best idea.
Sometimes you’re better off just making the dessert yourself at home. But other times you’ll find that the opposite is true.
Some desserts need to be masterfully crafted to make your taste bud dance. And those desserts might be a challenge that your home cooking skills might not be up to par with. Luckily you don’t have to guess which desserts are which.
Insider asked the experts what the best and worst desserts are to order at a restaurant:
1) Slice of Cake
Those giant layered slices of cake look so delicious when we see them in those glass display cases. But cakes are easy to mess up. The wrong recipe can leave your cake crumbly, without taste, and not enough frosting. But even if the recipe is delicious, that cake could have been sitting around for a while and end up being dry and stale. If you just can’t say no to that triple layer chocolate cake, then ask for a side of warm chocolate sauce or ice cream to moisten your slice up and add flavor.
2) Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate mousse is one of the desserts you’ll definitely want to order at a restaurant. That’s because it’s likely that a restaurant will use the kind of high-quality chocolate needed to make a good mousse. This stuff is usually sold in bulk at high prices which you’re average home baker won’t spring for.
There’s nothing more delicious than a good cheesecake. But making them is a pain in the ass. And even if you go through the trouble, it has a fair chance of both tasting and looking crappy. Plus you’ll end up with an entire cheesecake in your house. It’s best to leave these to the professionals who have done it so many times that it’s hard for them to mess up. Cheesecakes from almost any restaurant, fast food included, end up being good.
Ordering a slice of pie when out could either go really bad or really well. If you’re at a restaurant that’s known for their pie, then totally go for it. Otherwise, you might want to skip it or make one at home. Restaurant pie can have a tough crust and a filling that’s mostly thickener.
Soufflé is known to be a tricky dessert to master. You really can’t go wrong with this dessert at a restaurant. They are always made fresh to order.
6) Creme Brûlée
Creme brûlée is both easy and inexpensive to make. You’ll want to make this one instead of ordering it at a restaurant where it’s likely they’ll overcharge you for it. All you need is egg yolk, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use your oven’s broiler to get that caramelized top.
7) Brownie a La Mode
Brownies are hard to screw up. If you order one from a restaurant you’ll usually get a super fudgy and dense brownie which will be a lot chocolatier than one you’ll make at home. Even if the restaurant’s brownie is on the stale or overcooked side, you won’t be able to tell when it’s warmed up and served with ice cream. So, brownie a la mode at a restaurant is a safe bet.
This Italian dessert is another inexpensive dessert to make that gets up charged at the restaurant. It’s also made with lots of heavy cream or eggs which means that it can easily go bad. Sometimes restaurants will try to get rid of their expired tiramisu and rely on the coffee scent to cover-up the fact that it’s old.
9) Warm Cookie Skillet
This dessert is similar to the brownie a la mode. It’s hard to screw up and made fresh to order. If you have a skillet you can make it at home but it will probably be twice as good at a restaurant.
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10) Ice Cream Sundae
You can’t mess up an ice cream sundae if you’re making it at home. As long as you have good ice cream that isn’t stale, you’re good to go. You just have to add some whipped cream and whatever other toppings you want. Restaurants might have giant tubs of ice cream that have been sitting around for a while and a bit freezer burned. But you probably won’t notice with all the hot fudge and toppings on top.
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