We learn from an incredibly young age that we can’t eat dessert until we finish our dinners. But what if dessert and dinner were the same thing? Dozens of ingenious home cooks and experienced chefs have experimented extensively with sweet ingredients and created delectable dessert twists on our favorite dinner foods. Here are six of our favorite dessert-dinners (dessinners?) including how to make them or where to find them.
Pizza crust is versatile, which is one reason the food is just as good with pepperoni as it is with eggs and pico de gallo. However, when you swap out the tomato sauce and cheese for sweeter ingredients, you end up with one of the easiest, tastiest, and most popular dessinners out there: dessert pizza.
Dessert pizza comes in all sorts of flavors and textures, from the fruity to creamy to chocolaty to crunchy. While you can find dessert pizzas in most local pizzerias, you probably should experiment with making your own. As long as you have melted chocolate, fresh fruit, and sprinkles on your side, you can’t go wrong.
For most people, nachos have two absolutely necessary ingredients: cheese and chips. However, these simple ingredients come in plenty of tastes and textures that are conducive to crafting dessert-dinner. Instead of using salted tortilla chips, you can use plain pita chips, and instead of standard cheddar, you can use a milder cheese like brie. Then, for more flavor and flair, you can top with sweet additions that resemble salsa, guac, and other nacho mix-ins, like fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles.
Of course, if you are willing to stretch the definition of nachos, you have even more possibilities for dessinner. For example, you can replace the chips with apple slices and the cheese with caramel sauce for a healthier sweet snack.
Ice cream sandwiches are inarguably the most popular variety of this dessert-dinner, and it isn’t hard to see why. Creamy and gooey in all the right ways, ice cream sandwiches are as refreshing on a hot day as they are rewarding on a cool one. Plus, ice creameries around the country are pushing boundaries with new sammie creations that mix unusual flavors, like chai-ginger or brown sugar–bacon.
However, enterprising young bakers are experimenting with the sandwich format in other baked goods, as well. For example, at Hershey’s Chocolate World in Las Vegas, you can pick up luscious brownie sandwiches, with Hershey’s’ best-ever brownies and rich cream filling. Many of them are inspired by popular Hershey’s treats, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Almond Joys.
Food on a stick is one of life’s simple pleasures: It is easy, colorful, and fun to prepare. Plus, there are almost limitless combinations of treats that are fantastic fresh off a skewer. This is especially true of kebab’d fruits, which can include everything from kiwi and pineapple to grapes and blueberries — and still taste absolutely delicious.
While fruit is sweet and refreshing on its own, you can make dessert skewers even more delightful with the addition of candies and baked goods. For example, you can dip strawberries and bananas in chocolate before you add them on the stick, or you can intersperse giant marshmallows or brownie bites in the kebabs. Then again, you can skip the fruit altogether and assemble a dessinner skewer made entirely of soul-satisfying baked goods.
The art of making sushi is notoriously difficult, reserved only for the most skilled chefs. The same can be said of dessert sushi as well, as slicing and rolling candies and baked goods require as much knife skill as similar maneuvers on fresh fish. Substituting various sweets for sushi’s main ingredients — e.g. crisped rice for sticky rice, jam for wasabi — dessert sushi chefs demonstrate their creative candy genius.
High-quality sushi restaurants around Las Vegas offer several varieties of this dessert sushi on their dessert menus, but none pay dessinner as much culinary attention as Sweets Raku, which has the look and feel of a sushi bar and the menu of a world-class bakery.
Every culture has its own version of the burrito — so why shouldn’t dessert culture have one, too? Because tortillas are nearly tasteless, they can swing either sweet or savory, depending on their contents. Like pizza crust, this makes tortillas ideal ingredients for dessinner.
Tex-Mex restaurants are some of the biggest purveyors of dessert burritos, but if you don’t have an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant nearby, it isn’t difficult to wrap up your own flavors and fillings into a gratifying dessert-dinner. Fruits and soft sweets work best — think strawberry cheesecake or banana and chocolate sauce. You can also bake your sweet treats to make dessert enchiladas or fry them on the stovetop for dessert chimichangas.