Everyone has a sweet tooth. Everyone with a soul, at least. Sometimes, instead of heading out to grab dessert, baking can be therapeutic, cheaper, and downright delicious. Here are five of the most popular chain recipes you can find in Beirut and ways to make them on your own.

1. Cinnabon’s cinnamon rolls

Image via allrecipes.com

I started bringing these to friends’ houses years ago, and I remember how surprising it was to everyone that I—okay, my mom—was able to make something so closely resembling Cinnabon in taste. Although it may be a bit tricky to get them right the very first time, if you follow these steps carefully, you’ll be eating a delicious, hot, gooey mess and hating yourself in no time.

Full recipe can be found here.

2. Cheesecake Factory cheesecake

Image via browneyedbaker.com

When I was young, my family used to call me “Cheesecake Girl.” Wish you had a cool nickname like mine, right? I was obsessed, and Cheesecake Factory was the pinnacle of my happiness. To achieve that smooth, creamy quality and moist crust that you think only restaurants can offer, the trick is to use chopped nuts in the crust and let the cheesecake sit in the cooling, open oven for an hour after baking.

Full recipe can be found here.

3. Gustav’s red velvet cake balls

The first time I had one of these, I was sure it was the best sweets I’ve ever tasted. While I can never finish a whole one in one sitting—they’re densely packed and pretty decadent—they’re delicious and worth trying. The best part is, this recipe is super easy and only requires a box mix, cream cheese, and chocolate.

Full recipe can be found here.

4. Magnolia Bakery’s banana pudding

Image via tinytestkitchen.com

A friend introduced me to this a couple of years ago, and while I wasn’t appreciative at the time, Magnolia Bakery’s banana pudding is the best I’ve had in any restaurant. This also looks really cool when layered in a big glass jar.

Full recipe can be found here.

5. Tonino’s crepe

Image via eatlikeadietician.com

The classic Nutella and banana crepe from Tonino. Tonino is a staple, providing the quintessential Beirut dessert, one I’ve had many a time on Bliss street after classes at AUB. While there are many variations of the crepe, the Nutella and banana is a timeless dessert. This recipe keeps it simple, just make sure to pay attention to the browning of the batter.

Full recipe can be found here.

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