Dish of the Week: Beer-Battered Apple Fritters

Photo by JustyCinMD
Finish the fritters with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of caramel.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a recipe perfect for fall: apple fritters.

The word fritter is derived from the Latin word frictura, meaning "to fry." So it should come as no surprise that fritters are basically batter (chou paste or yeast dough) that gets fried until light and crisp. Often, the batter either coats or is mixed with fruit, vegetables, meat, or seafood before being fried.

Fritters can be found in all types of cuisines, from Japanese tempura and Indonesian gorengan to French beignets and Italian fritto misto. Of course, there's also the all-American fried dessert, the apple fritter.

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365 Days (or So) of Cupcakes at Black Hole Coffee House

Categories: Sweets

Photo by Molly Dunn
The lemonade cupcake is light and refreshing just like a cool glass of lemonade.
Black Hole Coffee House isn't just a relaxing cafe to sit for a while over a book and smooth creamy latte. It's also a place to get cupcakes. Yeah, cupcakes. You wouldn't know it unless you followed the coffee shop on Facebook, or visited every single day.

At the start of the year, kitchen manager Tiffany Ma made a resolution to make a cupcake every day and post a picture of it on Facebook. While the coffee shop has missed a few days here and there, and repeated a few top-sellers, the kitchen staff has made and posted pictures of more than 200 cupcakes since January 1, 2014. That's a lot of cupcakes.

What started as a joke has become a goal for Ma to achieve, and her competitive drive will probably make her do it again next year so she can exceed the number of cupcakes made in 2014. She says the previous kitchen manager had already been baking cupcakes daily, so when she took over as kitchen manager, she kept it going.

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10 Places for Boozy Milkshakes in Houston

Photo by Molly Dunn
Bowlero Bowling Alley in The Woodlands has awesome boozy shakes, like this Salt & Caramel, Push It Real Good shake with Stoli Karamel vodka.
Milkshakes are good, but boozy shakes are so much better. The traditional blend of milk, ice cream and syrups makes for an enjoyably sweet refreshment, but the extra splash of tequila, rum or beer just takes it to a new level.

When you're in the mood for an alcoholic drink, but are simultaneously craving something sweet, we suggest you hit up one of these ten Houston restaurants for an adult milkshake. Of course, if you've got youngsters in your family, most of these places can whip together a non-alcoholic version. So you both can get what you want.

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The 10 Best Places for Desserts in Houston

Dolce Delights 011.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
You better believe these cakes from Dolce Delights made our list.
Sometimes you just want something sweet and when you get that sugar craving, you have to satisfy it right then and there. Baking cookies or brownies takes too long and that small piece of chocolate you have in your pantry just won't do it for you. But, there are multiple places around town serving up killer desserts. You just have to walk inside, choose your poison, sit down and enjoy it. How easy is that?

We are aware that a multitude of restaurants offer quality desserts, like the chocolate coconut shell, el coco, at Caracol, the banana's foster at
Brennan's of Houston and the tres leches at the Cordua restaurants. However, we want to share with you the ten best places that specialize in just desserts. These are the places you want to visit and know you're going to indulge in something sweet. These are the places where sugar is the common denominator. And these are the places you can count on to always satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Four Gourmet Dog Treats for National Dog Day

Photo by Molly Dunn
My dog, Abby, really wanted this doggy biscuit from Three Brothers Bakery.
National Dog Day is Tuesday, August 26, and that means you need to do something special for your pup. While you could just take them for a walk, give them a belly rub or play with them more than you normally do, you could also give them a special bakery treat.

Yes, they're going to go bonkers over anything you give them -- especially if it is made with peanut butter or bacon -- but they will also jump through hoops to have these four doggie treats found at regular bakeries in Houston. You can get yourself a little something sweet to eat, too.

Here are four stellar bakeries in Houston serving up excellent treats for dogs and for the owners.

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Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats Truck Hits the Houston Streets Friday

Photo courtesy Olivia Luisa Garcia
Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats will open for business Friday, August 22.
Remember when you were a kid and would hear the jingle of the ice cream truck coming down the street?

Nowadays, we tend to get our ice cream and popsicles from either the grocery store or one of the various ice cream shops around town. Yes, these are great, but what happened to the right to your neighborhood experience that traditional ice cream trucks provided? And again, that jingle?

A new updated version is about to hit the streets of Houston. Susan Sahwani-Garcia, owner of Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats, originally wanted to open a homemade ice cream mobile eatery, but as she began developing her project and realized how expensive that would be, she decided to start her business as a traditional ice cream truck selling all the classic treats and local products.

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Taste-Testing "Scoop Shop Only" Flavors

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Ooh! A live batch! So much better than pre-recorded ice cream.

There are few reasons why you should pay five bucks for a small (one scoop) serving of ice cream at a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in Houston when you can buy four times the amount of the same flavor for significantly less money at a local grocery store.

Unless, of course, you're seeking to sample one of brand's (usually) limited edition flavors only available in its brick and mortar stores.

As of press time, the Kirby Ben & Jerry's scoop shop offered several select flavors including, two from the new "SNL" series, "Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch" and "Lazy Sunday" as well as a smattering of (non-sketch comedy show themed) varieties such as Coconut Seven Layer Bar, Salted Caramel Blondie, and Butter Pecan.

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Popcart Handmade Ice Pops Cools Off Houston With Refreshing Popsicles

Photo by Rebecca Lynch
Each pop is bright, beautiful and refreshing.
We recently listed the five things missing from the Houston restaurant scene., and you can add popsicles to that list. Unless you visit a grocery store or paleta stand in our city, you'll have a difficult time finding a vendor who strictly sells popsicles.

Richard and Rebecca Lynch decided popsicles were the way to go after first looking at other foods. On June 22 they opened their "mom and pop" shop Popcart Handmade Ice Pops.

"Back in August 2012, my wife was laid off from her job, so we had wanted to start our business for a while, and my wife has always loved food, so I said, 'Why don't you look into starting a little food business of some sort?' We had no idea it would be popsicles," Richard says. "And then my wife came across a recipe book on popsicles one day and said, 'That's it!' So she started experimenting in the kitchen; she bought little plastic molds and that's where it all began."

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Summer Dessert Recipe: Mandarin Orange & Pineapple Cake

Categories: Recipes, Sweets

Photo by Molly Dunn
The juicy pineapple chunks in the whipped topping make this a refreshingly sweet cake.
When someone thinks of a "summer dessert," most likely cake does not come to their mind. Usually, sweet treats in the scorching hot summer months include ice cream, Popsicles, sno cones and the occasional milkshake. Cakes are covered in frosting, be it chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or cream cheese, and that's not exactly the best solution for a sweet tooth in search of something refreshing. Usually the glass of milk accompanying each bite does that trick.

But, what if the cake had oranges and pineapple? And the heavy frosting was replaced with a light and airy whipped topping?

That's what we call a summer dessert.

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Is "the New Cupcake" the Cupcake?

Categories: News, Sweets

Photo by Nate Steiner via Flickr
Why are cupcakes still popular?
Macarons are the "new cupcake." Or is it pie? Or how about cake balls? No, it's going to be doughnuts. But, what about popsicles?

This has been the non-stop conversation over the cupcake trend since the personal-sized treats topped with a swirl of frosting became popular in the early 2000s. Despite several "new cupcakes" making their appearance in the baked goods market, the cupcake remains the favorite.

A recent Slate article tracked every single food that has ever been labeled as the cupcake's replacement over the past eight years and found that 57 foods were called "the new cupcake" in news articles. In March and April 2010, nine different publications said macarons were the new "it" dessert -- we even supported that claim this past year.

But, if all of these sweets and treats (some were savory, like burgers and hot dogs) were supposed to knock cupcakes off the totem pole, then why haven't bakeries stopped selling them? And why haven't all the cupcakeries gone out of business? We spoke with several bakery owners who all sell cupcakes, whether it's alongside other products or their only product, to share their thoughts on the trend, and if they think the cupcake is on its way out the door.

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