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The Quick 10: 10 of the Most Expensive Desserts Ever

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For me, there's nothing better than warm chocolate chip cookies out of the oven to satisfy a sweet tooth. If your tastes run a little more expensive, don't worry - there's something for you, too.

1. Golden Opulence Sundae. Long touted as the most expensive sundae in the world, this sweet treat from Serendipity 3 in New York will set you back $1,000. Instead of toppings like sprinkles (jimmies, to some of you) and cherries, Serendipity serves up candied fruits, gold-covered almonds, chocolate truffles, Grande Passion caviar, a gilded sugar flower and syrup made from one of the world's most expensive chocolates.
You also get to keep the Baccarat crystal goblet the Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream is served in.

2. Sometimes, though, a $1,000 sundae just seems a little too plebeian, doesn't it? On days when you really want to blow a your salary on some sweet, check out the $3333.33 banana split offered by Three Twins in Napa. It comes drenched in syrups made from rare dessert wines, and if you give the shop advance notice that you're going to purchase it, they'll hire a cellist to play while you nosh. Three Twins donates $1111.11 of every banana split purchase to a local land trust.

3. That's not even the most expensive offering from Three Twins. They also offer a $60,000 ice cream sundae ($85,000 for two) made from glacial ice from Mount Kilimanjaro. Oh, yeah - purchase price also includes first class airfare to Tanzania, five-star accommodations, a guided climb, all the ice cream you can eat and an organic T-shirt. "Five figures" of your purchase goes directly to an African environmental non-profit.

4. If you have a cool grand burning a hole in your pocket, but ice cream isn't really your thing (what?!), never fear: the Sultan's Golden Cake can satisfy your urges. It's a dish at the Ciragan Palace, a five-star hotel in Istanbul, and it takes 72 hours to make. It includes figs, quince, apricot and pears that have been enjoying a two-year dip in Jamaican Rum. It's then topped with caramel, black truffles and a gold leaf.

5. Serendipity 3 offers another luxury dessert called the "Frrozen Haute Chocolate," a blend of 28 cocoas, including 14 of the most expensive powders from around the world. It also includes five grams of edible 23-karat gold, but the kicker is probably the 18-karat gold bracelet with a carat of diamonds that decorates the base of the goblet. You don't eat that part, of course. Another non-edible is the golden spoon studded with white and chocolate-colored diamonds, and yep, you get to take that home.

6. More for the chocolate lovers - Chocopologie is a store that sells what we think is the most expensive chocolate truffle in the world. It's $5,000 a kilogram, but you can buy a single truffle for just $250. They're located in Norwalk, Connecticut.

7. The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence dessert at the Fortress Sri Lanka hotel sounds amazing - it's gold leaf cassata containing mango and pomegranate with a fisherman sculpted out of chocolate on the side. But something tells me most of the $14,500 purchase price is going toward the 80-carat aquamarine stone the chocolate fisherman is holding.

8. Likewise, I'm sure the bulk of the $130,000 price of the Platinum Cake designed by a Japanese pastry chef is due to the fact that the multi-tiered confection is adorned with platinum jewelry, including necklaces, brooches, pendants and hair pins. I feel like draping a dessert with jewelry and calling it "The world's most expensive cake" or whatever is sort of cheating. What's to stop someone from plopping the Hope Diamond down on top of a bowl of Jell-O and declaring it "The world's most expensive gelatin snack endorsed by Bill Cosby"?

9. Along that same line of thinking is the ROX cupcake, a $150,000 bite-sized cake created for the "Glam in the City" consumer show in Glasgow last year. It's an average cupcake, but it's sprinkled with diamonds.

10. A lesser cupcake indulgence is the Decadence D'Or from Las Vegas' Sweet Surrender. It doesn't pull the cheap "regular cupcake sprinkled with priceless jewels" trick. First of all, the cake is topped with Louis XIII de Remy Martin Cognac, a 100-year-old vintage. The chocolate is made from the rare Porcelain Crillo bean, and then there's the Tahitan Gold Vanilla Caviar, believed to be the most labor-intensive agricultural crop in the world. And, OK, there are gold flakes.

Would you buy any of these if you had the cash? I might actually go for the $60,000 ice cream if money were no object. I mean, you get an awesome trip out of the deal and a good chunk of your spend goes to charity. That's not so bad.

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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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travel
6 East Coast Castles to Visit for a Fairy Tale Road Trip
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Lucy Quintanilla/iStock

Once the stuff of fairy tales and legends, a variety of former castles have been repurposed today as museums and event spaces. Enough of them dot the East Coast that you can plan a summer road trip to visit half a dozen in a week or two, starting in or near New York City. See our turrent-rich itinerary below.

STOP 1: BANNERMAN CASTLE // BEACON, NEW YORK

59 miles from New York City

The crumbling exterior of Bannerman Castle
Garrett Ziegler, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannerman Castle can be found on its very own island in the Hudson River. Although the castle has fallen into ruins, the crumbling shell adds visual interest to the stunning Hudson Highlands views, and can be visited via walking or boat tours from May to October. The man who built the castle, Scottish immigrant Frank Bannerman, accumulated a fortune shortly after the Civil War in his Brooklyn store known as Bannerman’s. He eventually built the Scottish-style castle as both a residence and a military weapons storehouse starting in 1901. The island remained in his family until 1967, when it was given to the Taconic Park Commission; two years later it was partially destroyed by a mysterious fire, which led to its ruined appearance.

STOP 2. GILLETTE CASTLE STATE PARK // EAST HADDAM, CONNECTICUT

116 miles from Beacon, New York

William Gillette was an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes, which may have something to do with where he got the idea to install a series of hidden mirrors in his castle, using them to watch guests coming and going. The unusual-looking stone structure was built starting in 1914 on a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette designed many of the castle’s interior features (which feature a secret room), and also installed a railroad on the property so he could take his guests for rides. When he died in 1937 without designating any heirs, his will forbade the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The castle is now managed by the State of Connecticut as Gillette Castle State Park.

STOP 3. BELCOURT CASTLE // NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

74 miles from East Haddam, Connecticut

The exterior of Belcourt castle
Jenna Rose Robbins, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Belcourt Castle for congressman and socialite Oliver Belmont in 1891. Hunt was known for his ornate style, having designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, but Belmont had some unusual requests. He was less interested in a building that would entertain people and more in one that would allow him to spend time with his horses—the entire first floor was designed around a carriage room and stables. Despite its grand scale, there was only one bedroom. Construction cost $3.2 million in 1894, a figure of approximately $80 million today. But around the time it was finished, Belmont was hospitalized following a mugging. It took an entire year before he saw his completed mansion.

STOP 4. HAMMOND CASTLE MUSEUM // GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

111 miles from Newport, Rhode Island

Part of the exterior of Hammond castle
Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built his medieval-style castle between 1926 and 1929 as both his home and a showcase for his historical artifacts. But Hammond was not only interested in recreating visions of the past; he also helped shape the future. The castle was home to the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Hammond produced over 400 patents and came up with the ideas for over 800 inventions, including remote control via radio waves—which earned him the title "the Father of Remote Control." Visitors can take a self-guided tour of many of the castle’s rooms, including the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, guest bedrooms, inventions exhibit room, library, and kitchens.

STOP 5. BOLDT CASTLE // ALEXANDRIA BAY, THOUSAND ISLANDS, NEW YORK

430 miles from Gloucester, Massachusetts

It's a long drive from Gloucester and only accessible by water, but it's worth it. The German-style castle on Heart Island was built in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, who created the extravagant structure as a summer dream home for his wife Louise. Sadly, she passed away just months before the place was completed. The heartbroken Boldt stopped construction, leaving the property empty for over 70 years. It's now in the midst of an extensive renovation, but the ballroom, library, and several bedrooms have been recreated, and the gardens feature thousands of plants.

STOP 6. FONTHILL CASTLE // DOYLESTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

327 miles from Alexandria Bay, New York

Part of the exterior of Fonthill castle

In the mood for more castles? Head south to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Fonthill Castle was the home of the early 20th century American archeologist, anthropologist, and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a man of many interests, including paleontology, tile-making, and architecture, and his interest in the latter led him to design Fonthill Castle as a place to display his colorful tile and print collection. The inspired home is notable for its Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and with 44 rooms, there's plenty of well-decorated nooks and crannies to explore.

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