Love Snickers? Wait till you try "Snickers." Genius pastry chefs around the U.S. are reinventing favorite nostalgic candies and turning them into fabulous desserts—which sometimes even blow the originals out of the water. Here, some of the most delicious childhood throwbacks that are popping up on menus across the country.
AB 'Snickers' Bar, Abigaile, Los Angeles
The kitchen at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach serves globally influenced dishes made with domestically sourced ingredients, and designed to pair with beers from the restaurant's on-site brewery. A favorite of frequent diner Carson Daly, Abigaile has come up with a scrumptious, sophisticated riff on a classic treat with its AB ‘Snickers’ Bar: The elegant, rich, gooey dessert combines nougat with milk chocolate ganache and a decadent peanut butter creme.
Oreos, The Original Dinerant, Portland, OR
The classic chocolate sandwich cookie gets a total makeover at The Original Dinerant in Portland, Oregon. Here, the reborn treat is made with cocoa-powder-based cookies and a creamy white filling made of vanilla and powdered sugar. There's more where that comes from: The restaurant also serves elevated versions of Zingers and Ding Dongs.
Marie Antoinette’s Head, Barton G., Los Angeles
West Hollywood’s Barton G. is known for its theatrical displays of American comfort food classics, reimagined by restaurateur and culinary artiste Barton G. Weiss. Celebs such as Salma Hayek, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, John Travolta, Charlie Sheen, Drake and Will Ferrell are fans of the kitchen’s over-the-top shenanigans, including dessert showstoppers like the cotton candy-centric Marie Antoinette’s Head: Let Them Eat Cake. Its name alone is a mouthful, but the dessert is a sight to behold. The head of the doomed French aristocrat arrives wearing a two-foot tall cotton candy wig and surrounded by two petite raspberry-strawberry cream cheesecakes topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.
Chocolate Kahlua Custard, Bistro du Midi, Boston
At Boston’s Bistro du Midi, diners come in for the Provencal cuisine, park views, and dessert specialties like the house version of S’mores. Here, the childhood classic grows up and gets a dose of boozy chocolate kahlua custard. The dessert, served only to the 21-and-over crowd, also includes bite-sized applewood smoked brownies, sour cherry meringue, crumbled graham crackers and marshmallow ice cream.
Almond Joy, Marin, Minneapolis
Le Méridien Chambers Hotel’s Marin Restaurant & Bar in Minneapolis specializes in California-inspired cuisine. But the dessert menu's version of the Almond Joy candy bar takes its inspiration from supermarket aisles nationwide. The light-as-air spin on the beloved candy bar features milk chocolate mousse, coconut and a decadent housemade Gianduja (chocolate hazelnut) ice cream.
Creamsicle, Nest at WP24, Los Angeles
The Creamsicle moves from the ice cream truck to the table at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s posh Nest at WP24at The Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles. Here, the summer treat is redefined with a creamy citrus semifreddo, crispy tangerines, a light coconut crumble and honey tangerine sauce.
Tres Leches, Del Campo, Washington D.C.
Twinkies go upscale at swank South American grill Del Campo in Washington D.C. The restaurant's irresistibly retro dessert involves three Twinkie-shaped tres leches cakes dressed with meringue and passion fruit sorbet.
But Strawberries Cantaloupe With a Melon, Vie, Western Springs, IL
Farm-to-table restaurant Vie in Western Springs, Illinois, takes sour-sweet Jolly Ranchers in an entirely new direction with its intriguinly named “But Strawberries Cantaloupe With a Melon.” The dessert combines strawberry sorbet, melon-tea granita and muskmelon for a incredibly delicious, sophisticated dessert that will give you intense flashbacks to the days of pigtails and braces.
Fig Newton, Restaurant 1833 , Monterey
Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, California, is housed in a 19th-century building that's rumored to be haunted, and that has seen the likes of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra walk through the door. Two old souls have, apparently, yet to depart the premises: the ghost of famed socialite Hattie Gragg and of James Stokes, an AWOL British sailor who posed as a doctor before serving as mayor. Breathing new life into the storied establishment, Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef 2011” Jason Franey and his team crank out farm-to-table dishes and must-try desserts. In their ode to the Fig Newton, a pistachio torte meets honey-poached pear, thyme and pear sorbet. Photo by Raul Nava
Pumpkin Whoopie Pie, The Tap Trailhouse, Boston
Colonial-inspired gastropub The Tap Trailhouse in Boston serves elevated New England cooking, but one of the standout dishes is the restaurant's take on a retro whoopie pie. Fluffy marshmallow filling gets sandwiched between two moist pumpkin cakes, and the whole thing is topped with crystallized ginger and syrup for a dessert you won't stop thinking about for days.
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