17 Extra-Easy Dessert Recipes to Make in Quarantine

April 29, 2020
Photo by Julia Gartland

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.

Along with keeping a sourdough starter and regrowing vegetables, baking has become a newfound hobby for many in quarantine. Which makes sense, right? Comfort food is called comfort food for a reason. And what’s more comforting than a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie, just out of the oven, plunged into a glass of milk? Here are 17 dessert recipes on our to-make lists these days. Let us know what you’re baking up in the comments.

1. Alice Medrich’s Best Cocoa Brownies

For the fudgiest brownies, just skip the chocolate. Yes. Cocoa powder yields the richest flavor.

2. Snickerdoodle Shortbread

Like a snickerdoodle, but with a shortbread-short ingredient list. Off-road by subbing in pumpkin pie spice or ground fennel for the cinnamon.

3. Our Best Vanilla Cupcakes

Thursday night is just as cupcake-worthy as any other occasion, if you ask us.

4. Broiled Bananas With Brown Sugar & Cream

It doesn’t get much simpler than this—fruit sprinkled with brown sugar, splashed with cream, and broiled until bubbly.

5. Herve This’ Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate plus water equals mousse? You have to make it to believe it. Top with crème fraîche or whipped cream. Or a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of flaky salt.

6. 3-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

Crispy-chewy oatmeal cookies—all without butter, eggs, and leavening agents. Is there a more pantry-friendly dessert?

7. Cook’s Illustrated’s Blondies

The key to the most unforgettable blondies in town: melted butter and way more vanilla extract than you’d think.

8. One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Why you should always keep bananas in your freezer. To play around with the base recipe, check out these variations.

9. Dorie Greenspan’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

It doesn’t get more classic than this recipe by cookie queen Dorie Greenspan. Cold milk for dunking, not optional.

10. Cookies & Cream Bars

Oh hello, Friday night snack! Can’t wait to watch Killing Eve with you (no spoilers, please, still on season one).

11. Lime Posset

If egg- or cornstarch-based custards intimidate you, get to know posset. This creamy pudding is set with tangy citrus juice (aka is impossible to mess up).

12. Flourless Chocolate Cookies

These crackly, chocolatey cookies just happen to be gluten-free. Skip the vanilla if you don’t have it, and swap in the same quantity of instant espresso powder or bourbon.

13. Any Fruit Upside-Down Cake

Pick a fruit, any fruit! In lieu of graham flour, try whole-wheat or white-whole wheat. And in lieu of crème fraîche, whole-milk Greek yogurt or sour cream will both do the trick.

14. Atlantic Beach Pie

As simple, satisfying, and—wait for it—salty as pie gets. Cut an extra-big slice and pretend you’re by the shore.

15. Sauteed Dates

Sure, these sauteed dates make a mean appetizer, served next to ricotta. But we’d just as soon eat them for dessert—if you want, swap the ricotta for Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

16. Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches

In my book, this melty-gooey dessert sandwich counts as dinner.

17. Pie Crispies

Pie—just without the filling. These buttery, flaky cookies are a dream next to a strong cup of coffee, or sprinkled over your favorite ice cream.

What's your go-to easy dessert? Tell us in the comments!

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.