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Top 10 American Desserts

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Brandon Stuhr North America may not be known for its tiramisu, churros or millefeuilles, but we have our own variety of sweets. Join as we count down our picks for top 10 American desserts. For this list, we're taking at the best sweet foods that serve as a finishing touch to the perfect meal, that make us think of the good ole' U.S. of A. Special thanks to our user Jorge Alán for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Brandon Stuhr

Top 10 American Desserts

North America may not be known for its tiramisu, churros or millefeuilles, but we have our own variety of sweets. Join as we count down our picks for Top 10 American Desserts.

For this list, we’re taking at the best sweet foods that serve as a finishing touch to the perfect meal, that make us think of the good ole’ U.S. of A. While some of thesedesserts may’ve originated in foreign countries, those on today’s list have been modified or perfected by North Americans for North Americans. However, dishes like Turkey’s baklava are out, because that is definitely international food.

#10: S’mores

For many, this tasty dish is the main reason to venture out into the great outdoors. Traditionally consisting of a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate heated between two graham crackers, the original recipe can be tweaked to take its basic flavor into new directions, but those basic tenets usually remain. While the exact date of the S’mores creation is unknown, published references to it appear as early as the 1920s, with the Boy and Girl Scouts being fans of the treat even then. National S’mores Day is celebrated every year on August 10th, right at the height of camping season, so be sure to come prepared to your next camping trip.

#9: Rice Krispies Treats

Our next confection is as addictive as it is delicious. Believed to have originally been invented by Kellogg’s in 1939, these treats have been made by countless parents, kids and grandparents across the continent. Created by combining Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal with marshmallows and just a dash of butter, these squares are among the fastest treat to make for hungry guests. You are not limited to this recipe however. With just a little experimentation, the variations on these squares and the shapes they can take are practically limitless.

#8: Pudding

Don’t need a heavy dish but just a light snack? Look no further. Though pudding in the United Kingdom refers to dessert in general, we’re talking about a sweet, custard-style dish. Created by combining multiple ingredients like sugar and milk with a thickener like gelatin, cornstarch or eggs and simmering, there have been so many variations of pudding that we’ve lost count. Not into sweets? Pudding can also come in a more savory variation. And the dish is not just famous in America: France, for example, has created the highly popular mousse dessert by whipping the various ingredients to have a fluffier texture and more airy taste.

#7: Cheesecake

What’s better than a slice of cheesecake? Not much. Perhaps the richest entry on our list, the origins of cheesecake can be traced as far back as Ancient Greece, and although some claim the dessert is an English creation, today’s cheesecake is decidedly American. Its long history has allowed time for bakers to add their own touches and perfect the art of the cheesecake. Consisting of a cream cheese filling upon a delicious cookie-crumb base, the specific taste of this delicacy can vary drastically depending on how it’s made and which toppings are used. If you ask us, we will gladly take a slice of New York style any day.

#6: Doughnuts

Some sweets don’t always have to be an after-dinner treat; many happy children (and adults) get pumped full of sugar from this deep-fried dough at breakfast. While the origin of the doughnut has long been disputed, many theories suggest it originated sometime during the 19th century in North America. The traditional doughnut comes in basic types such as the ring-shaped glazed doughnut, fruit- or custard-filled varieties or even doughnut holes. Now if only we knew why they removed the center in the first place…

#5: Cookies

Milk and cookies, what more do you need? This flat sweet primarily comprised of sugar, flour, eggs, and butter has been milked by bakers for all it’s worth. As with other desserts on this list, you can make endless varieties of cookies just by adding some chocolate, cinnamon, or even simple peanut butter to create an entirely new dessert. While the actual dish may have originated in Persia, also known as modern day Iran, the cookie we’re so familiar with today was popularized in the United States. And while we love us some Oreos, Chips Ahoy or even Girl Scout cookies, nothing beats the smell of homemade cookies.

#4: Brownies / Squares

Can’t decide between a cookie and cake? Meet in the middle. Popularized in North America at the beginning of the 20th century, brownies or squares can come in many different styles. While traditionally a delicious mess made up of flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder, it is very common to find it made with other ingredients as well. One example is the Blonde brownie – or blondie –, which removes the cocoa powder and adds brown sugar. But squares flavored with fruits like lemon, or different tastes like peanut butter, are just as delicious. This modern comfort food is best served with milk or coffee, but can also be served a la mode with a healthy spoonful of ice cream.

#3: Pie

Everything’s better with a slice of pie. This decadent dessert is believed to have initially been created by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The familiar modern dessert pie a la mode was popularized by North America somewhere around 1890, though pies were introduced to the area by Pilgrims centuries earlier. Rather simple to make, it’s a combination of dough filled with either a sweet or savory filling. The possibilities are endless, as you can use fruits, vegetables, or even chicken and other meats. A popular alternative to pie is a delicious crumble, which can easily be made in any home. You know what they say: “as American as apple pie.”

#2: Cake

Need a dessert for a holiday or celebration? Grab some cake. This baked dessert has a long history tracing back to Ancient Greece and Rome, yet the prepared “cake in a box” was created due to an excess of molasses during the Great Depression. Want to bake one yourself? A basic cake recipe begins with flour, sugar, eggs, and oil baked with a leavening agent such as baking soda or powder. Cake comes in countless forms, some including fruits or similar to a sponge cake. A whole cake too much for you? Settle for a much smaller cupcake for that same delicious satisfaction.

Before we gorge ourselves with our top dessert, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Jell-O
- Fruit Salad
- Sorbet / Sherbet
- Baked Alaska
- Frozen Yogurt

#1: Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Brought to the U.S. from England by Quaker colonists, ice cream quickly became the dessert of choice of many North Americans due to the wide variety of flavors, though vanilla and chocolate and the most popular. This sweet is often the combination of a dairy product, sugar, and an addition such as chocolate chips or fruit for flavor. And if you can’t find your favorite flavor of ice cream, just add some fruit or chocolate sauce to make a sundae. But the reason it’s number one on our list is that no serving of pie or cake would be complete without it, making it the king of the desserts.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite American dessert? For more food porn inspired top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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