HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Sexy Manly Desserts to Impress!

Help Chowhounds...I need some new dessert recipes to bake for a man I'm trying to impress. I typically make the Cook's Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies but I'm starting to burn out on that one...any recommenations please? please please with a cherry on top :)
Oh and it must be easy to transport on a 1 hour drive...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could continue on the chocolate theme and make a flourless chocolate cake (with ground almonds instead of flour) which is dense and sophisticated - and easy to carry! Alternatively it might be fun to try some traditional British pudding recipes like bread and butter pudding or treacle sponge which you could serve with custard. Or how about tiramisu, the boozier the better? - goes down very well with all the men I know...

    1 Reply
    1. re: flashria

      I think your idea for a flourless chocolate cake is a winner and travels well. Upon arrival, you could warm up some dark chocolate fudge to pour on it and the man is yours!

    2. I have a couple of suggestions, but they are best served warm. Sticky Toffee Pudding and Molten Lava Cake.

      1. Bread pudding with a bourbon sauce ~~ When you make it for me....leave the raisins in the box! :))

        1. pie is great for fall. Brownies? Cupcakes?

          1 Reply
          1. re: danionavenue

            I vote for brownies. They travel better and you don't have to worry whether the person likes icing.

          2. Smith Island Cake is as impressive as it is delicious. Description and recipes here:

            1 Reply
            1. re: CDouglas

              My father bought her cookbook a million years ago and it is a treasure. Never made any baked goods from it, myself, but I would try anything she made!

            2. CI's New York Cheesecake never fails to impress. No one can ever believe it's homemade rather than storebought. You could put it in a cooler for the drive...

              CI's coconut cream pie is always a good crowd pleaser as well.

              1. Amaretto Truffle Brownies, altho' you'd need to put 'em in a cooler for the 1 hr trip.

                1. I am a huge proponent of crisps -- peach, peach and blackberry, apple, etc. Easy to put together and they travel quite well. My friend still says the best thing I ever made her was raspberry crisp and that was 15 years ago. Wouldn't hurt to grab a pint of vanilla ice cream as you get close to your destination. Bread pudding is another favorite that would travel well... that ice cream thing would apply here, too.

                  1. David Lebovitz's Gluten Free brownies. They're on his blog. Awesome, like crusted fudge.

                    1. All good ideas depending on his particular tastes. Our daughter-in-law keeps trying different peanut butter pie recipes for our son. I think she finally found the one he liked best. So he already knows you make a great choc chip cookies, now what you do, is, like you asked, expand your repertoire. Tell him you're experimenting, ask his opinion. Hopefully he won't wait 25 years or so, like my husband did, to tell me he hates walnuts. He didn't want to hurt my feelings but I really wish he had told me sooner.

                      If this man also likes peanut butter and chocolate, make your choc chip cookie recipe but instead of choc chips use the unwrapped miniature Reese cups. They will need to be chopped up just a bit. If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, they sell a smaller version that doesn't need chopping.

                      The key is subtly showing that you are a great cook who keeps trying new recipes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dfrostnh

                        My husband waited 23 years to tell me that his all-time favorite dessert (and I've made hundreds) were the chocolate cups we made from little balloons! You can fill them with anything (but at the last minute, so that they don't soften). His favorite version was when I let a tableful of guests fill their chocolate cups from a variety of ice creams, toppings and syrups. Be sure to experiment with different balloons - some explode more easily than others when dipped in warm chocolate.

                      2. Since it's fall, I'd be going for an absolutely fabulous apple pie.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: arashall

                          I'm thinking you should pick some apples with him and then make them into a pie in his presence. You can have crust ready to roll out in the fridge ahead of time.

                          Extra points if you've got an ice cream freezer, and can do some vanilla ice cream (again, can have the custard made in the fridge.)

                          ETA: just noticed you have to have it ready made. That knocks out my whole building the scenario for maximum impressiveness thing.

                        2. I was going to suggest tiramisu, that's usually an impressive one to me. Then I saw the suggestion for Amaretto brownies - that sounds yummy! I am assuming you are trying to romatically impress this fellow - if you can make a super apple pie - that might be the one to do it! Apple pie feels like home to some, including me - it would remind of home, comfort, love, etc... Then pick up a pint of really good vanilla ice cream when you are closer to your destination and you are good to go!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nsstampqueen

                            Bah, was thinking tiramisu as well, a romantic dessert but the hour drive :(
                            So lovely when done in individual dessert glasses too.

                          2. What about some chili spiced chocolate thing, or a salted caramel chocolate cake, or a chocolate torte with pretzle crust thing?




                            Disclaimer: I’ve never made these recipes myself but I’ve had similar desserts before.

                            1. My ridiculously easy but decadent pumpkin bread pudding is made with the small bundt pumpkin spice cake (its only spice is cinnamon) sold in Trader Joe's bakery section in the fall and winter. Not the mix (though making it from that finished pumpkin bread would probably work too). Instead of milk use storebought pumpkin eggnog, which will appear by November.
                              Hood brand here. If your area doesn't have Hood or another pumpkin eggnog use plain eggnog and add a half tsp of pie spice. Use any bread pudding recipe ratios but no additional flavorings. Just cake, nog, and eggs. Use more eggnog as a cold sauce to drizzle over the warm bread pudding.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: greygarious

                                ...A little bourbon in that nog??? ....

                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                  Uncle Bob, I always like how you think! ;) While we're talkin' 'bout bourbon, I think bourbon balls are pretty sexy and impressive...not to mention intoxicating! I make mine with Bahlsen butter biscuits.


                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    ooooo you have a website now katty? awesome! My immediate thought, Uncle Bob, was that a bit of bourbon in there would make it especially "manly" and romantic haha

                              2. Southern Living's cover recipe from the September 2011 issue is INCREDIBLE. It is perfect for fall and will travel quite well. Enjoy and have fun!

                                1. er, men don't need too much as far as suggestion goes but in the desert dept i really appreciate strawberry shortcake and cherry pie, apple pie is great too.

                                  1. Rice whiskey treats. Add whiskey (some cinnamon wouldn't hurt either) to the melted marshmallows. They are delish.

                                    14 Replies
                                    1. re: adido

                                      AHA--rice whisky treats! Cheers to you, fellow boozy dessert lover--rock on! I've gotta try this SOON. What an awesome fall idea!

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        I second that ... that's a *great* idea!

                                      2. re: adido

                                        I intended to make these with bourbon this weekend...only to realize my bourbon wasn't here! So I added Cruzan Vanilla Rum instead. Not as boozy, of course, and a little sweet, but very delicious. I added 2 tablespoons of rum and added an extra 1/2 cup of Rice Krispies. Do you make yours similarly? I ate a whole row by myself yesterday. MOOOOO.

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          So glad you experimented. I usually don’t add more rice krispies but I do notice they are a little more soft than just the regular ones so I can see that adding more would help.

                                          1. re: adido

                                            Me, too! I did notice a bit of a soft/moist layer at the bottom of these, but it wasn't offensive or soggy in the least. Looking forward to trying with bourbon! Thanks again!

                                            1. re: adido

                                              Oh, pally! The bourbon ones are even better! I added just a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon so as not to overwhelm. L O V E ♥ ! ! ! Maker's MarkMallow Treats--AHM NOM NOM NOM!

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                Woo Hoo - markmallow treats - I like it. I am so glad it you liked them, I didn't want to buzz kill you with the rum ones (thinking they probably were really sweet) and wanted you to keep going with the bourbon ones. I’ve gone up to almost a teaspoon of cinnamon in a half batch and it isn’t overpowering. I make them with cinnamon even if there is no bourbon and they come out tasting almost like cinnamon toast crunch.

                                                1. re: adido

                                                  :) I do roll on the sweet side of the street, but absolutely, the bourbon ones were far superior to the Cruzan Vanillas (even tho' those didn't exactly suck!). How far can you push the bourbon amount? For whatever reason, the bourbon ones were not at all moist on the bottom (maybe I just stirred better, who knows)...how much liquid is too much? The flavor was just right, but a little boozier would be cool if it doesn't ruin the texture.

                                          2. re: adido

                                            those sound awesome.... there's not much that some jameson doesn't make better.... haha

                                            1. re: adido

                                              About how much whiskey do you add to the marshmallows?

                                              1. re: The Oracle

                                                I added 2 tablespoons to a 10-oz. bag of marshmallows...also upped the Rice Krispies from 5 cups to 5.5 cups to handle the extra liquid. Wonder if adido is more hardcore than I am. ;) Adido, come in, over. I add a sprinkle of salt, too.

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  It has been so long since i made these i can't really remember - i winged it. It was less than a quarter cup more than two tablespoons for a half batch. You could probably do a quarter cup for a whole batch. Warning, they are "looser" than the regular treats - not soggy per se but the alcohol thins out the marshmallow.

                                                  1. re: adido

                                                    Thanks for the tips! I made these last night and DH measured the whiskey (maybe around 3 T). I was glad I added a dash of cinnamon - or else it would have been inedible for me (I'm not a whiskey fan) - but DH loved them. And, we ate them right out of the dish, since they didn't really set. I wonder if they'll be more set tonight. I'm thinking about trying this with Bailey's the next time (for a friend that loves Bailey's).

                                                    1. re: The Oracle

                                                      They are gooey aren’t they. The first time I was served them they were cut small and wrapped in wax paper like salt water taffy.

                                            2. Dark Fudgy, Chewy Brownies w/ Homemade Browned Butter Ice Cream (cooler needed) -- this one definitely won my boy.

                                              Individual Mini Apple or Cherry Pie -- the individual mini thing seems impressive for some reason

                                              Chocolate Lava Cakes - freeze em before you go. they'll be ready to bake once you get there (if you can bake there)

                                              Ricotta Souffles - again if you can finish there, these hold quite well for an hour or so, and are quite possibly my favorite dessert...

                                              i'm sure he'll gush over whatever you make!

                                              1. Supposedly most men are attracted to the aromas of spiced apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin bread so this is the right time of year to get his hormones going! (…and if you're not into any of the spiced fall desserts you can always you the scented candles instead :) One idea here, http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/11/...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lilgi

                                                  If that's the case, try Martha's pumpkin cookies with brown butter. I made them last year and highly recommend them.

                                                2. Chocolate mousse, with or w/o raspberries on top. Should be fine if you put it in an insulated bag or cooler.

                                                  Brownies are always good, but maybe add something to them to take them to another level? Swirls of peanut butter (if he likes pb) or caramel or something.

                                                  1. I could give you my (rather lengthy) recipe for Rum Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Filling and Coconut Milk Sabayon Frosting.

                                                    1. Simplicity trumps' 'trying to impress.

                                                      It's Autumn harvest and the fruits of the season are at their sweetest, it's pie season.

                                                      How about pumkin, apple, peach or blueberry pie, even cobblers or tatins? Or a fruits of the forest pie <that name sounds impressive enough> using blueberries, rasperries, blackberries etc?

                                                      Keep the best quality vanilla i/c as well as making the best homemade whipped cream you can whip up on hand.

                                                      Good luck and let us know what you made and how it worked out.

                                                      1. Arrive there with wine and homemade cheese crisps: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... and end up with Elvis' Favorite Pound Cake http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... (194 reviews at 4 Stars... Eeerrrr 4 Forks, that is)

                                                        1. Dessert doesn't advertise sexuality (pick a good wine for that), but whether you are wife material. So choose something iconic - apple pie or chocolate cake. Something he'll look forward to in the years ahead.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: MarkC

                                                            Or, go with bourbon balls - something he'll capitalize on in the next hour and a half.

                                                            1. re: MarkC

                                                              This is exactly what I was thinking... you want him contemplating what he needs to do to have that dessert available long term! So not too flashy.

                                                            2. If he's an adventurous eater, then Candied Bacon Fudge! It's novel and easy to prepare. The bacon is hidden inside, so it's a nice surprise.

                                                              Unless he's vegetarian, in which case he might not be impressed by surprise bacon.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Underdog Rally

                                                                OMG,I love Candied Bacon Fudge! It's also a great conversation starter and ice breaker. When I've made it for friends, they get really giddy---it's a food high.

                                                              2. If you do an advanced search on this board, you'll find the recipe for Maple Mocha Pudding, which may sound a little odd but is a wonderful flavor combination. It's simple to make and though I have only used it as unadorned pudding, it could be used as a filling for pre-baked pastry shells and other fancier uses. I think it would be great poured into a chocolate crumb shell, then piped with whipped cream once chilled.

                                                                1. Rocky Road Brownies make with dark chocolate. I think of cakes like caramel with nuts, or pecan pies. Maybe even pralines done a little differently...maybe with bourbon or whiskey.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                    Ahh, I see the liquid inspiration is getting to you on this thread! HA HA! ;)

                                                                  2. Bananas Foster or Baked Alaska. I challenge you to find something more manly than FIRE.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bagofwater

                                                                      Good call! Impressive and manly! I made bananas foster for a man I was trying to impress about 12 years ago and he was smitten.... for a while anyway!

                                                                      1. re: bagofwater

                                                                        I concur on the bananas foster - not only fire, but the phallic banana (remember its not the size....hell use the biggest bananas you can find..."mistakingly" bring plantains and make joke...), plus booze thrown in for good measure.
                                                                        Of course the xport would be tricky, but hauling the ingredients plus a butane stove would show heart, commitment, determination, and desire - thats pretty sexy.

                                                                      2. im gonna go a little different...i dont feel sexy after a big meal and a dessert..i feel like taking a nap..

                                                                        skip the meal and dessert...go straight to a can of reddi whip........that would be sexy and impressive..

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Charlotte Russe is one of the most impressive desserts I've ever eaten. It is rich and wonderful. I have used it to impress my wife and everyone (male and female) loves it! Sadly, none of the pix google could find look like mine. I do not add flavors like chocolate, and I just put a few Maraschino cherries on top to add color.

                                                                          Cherries Jubilee is another great impresser, but I like to soak the cherries in brandy for a couple of weeks, so it takes a while.

                                                                          Tres Leches cake is also good for this.

                                                                          Princess Cup With Port is one of my favorites. You can make it in a few minutes so it is a great dessert for very short notice. Or for a rich dinner.
                                                                          Serves 4.

                                                                          2 c fruit cocktail in syrup
                                                                          2/3 c port wine or liqueur of your choice
                                                                          1 1/2 pints of good vanilla (like French vanilla -- sometimes I use homemade) ice cream, ready to serve.

                                                                          Pour syrup off fruit cocktail. Pour port over it. (If you use a liqueur you may want less of that and a bit of the syrup).

                                                                          Put a little of the fruit and port in a parfait glass or similar, add ice cream and then a little more fruit mixture on top.

                                                                          I believe this recipe is from Galatoire's in New Orleans. My dad used to make it when I was a kid. Now I keep the ingredients around in case I get unexpected company.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: travelerjjm

                                                                            The Princess Cup sounds scrumptious. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                          2. I would go with either a apple pie or cobbler that they LOVE. Or...I have made a strawberry cheesecake and roast the strawberries in the oven drizzled with maple syrup before you incorporate them in the cake. Also, pears poached in port wine are easy to transport and then just heat up a little with vanilla ice cream when you get to his house.

                                                                            1. Prune Ice Cream from the Chez Panisse dessert cookbook, which is the most delicate-tasting ice cream I've ever had, and has the added attraction of being a conversation starter. If you like, serve it with pecan cookies or brownies. But don't be afraid to cheat. The favorite dessert in several monasteries I've lived in was Ghirardelli brownies with walnuts added. (Are brownies a guy thing?) They always went over better than ones made from scratch.

                                                                              1. I would recommend making the mocha rum cake recipe on epicurious. All of the men in my family looovvvvee it! I usual use the max amount of rum but that is completly up to you, honestly I think it would be good without alcohol though.

                                                                                1. In my (considerable) experience, men like pie (not meant pervy, but it's possible that the double entendre adds a little something.)

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                    Whats pervy? That you have (considerable) experience? Hehe.
                                                                                    I thought only my small town used the term 'pie'....

                                                                                  2. A Brownie hot fudge sundae. You can make the brownies and pick up the fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream on the way.

                                                                                    Simple. elegant and appeals to a man. Besides, we aren't too bright. He'll think you slaved for hours to make it.

                                                                                    1. If you can cook at the man's house then you could try a banana's foster. That's my husband's signature dessert and it is always entertaining to make. Prep everything and put it in containers, travel to the sexy man's house and flambee away!