Ideas for Quick and Easy Desserts

August 31, 2013

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Simple desserts for when you're in need of a no-fuss sweet treat.

Quick and Easy Dessert Ideas, from Food52

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Sometimes complicated desserts are fun. We like to make our own marshmallows, create our own candy bars, and delight in iconic desserts that require multiple recipes to construct. Sometimes though, complicated desserts aren't an option. When you’re working all day and have little time for elaborate prep, simple desserts are in order. This week, arcane54 was in need of a quick and easy dessert for a company picnic, and our community chimed in with great suggestions:

  • Maedl and ELCookie recommended a fruit cobbler or crumble. (We're also partial to a five-ingredient schlumpf.)
  • HalfPint kept it even simpler with a fruit tray and simple sour cream dip -- 1 part sugar to 3 parts sour cream with a splash of vanilla extract.
  • Sticking with a classic: strawberry shortcake, from Jenna S.
  • Kate suggested pairing squares of dark chocolate with fruit and whipped cream.

What are your favorite quick and easy desserts? Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here or continue the conversation in the comments below!

(In case you’re wondering, arcane54 served up a hit at the company picnic with a puff pastry topped with crushed amaretti cookies, peaches, butter, and sanding sugar.)

Photo by Eric Moran 

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  • catalinalacruz
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    Sally Morris 1
I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.


catalinalacruz October 6, 2013
Since Marcella Hazan passed away this week, and since her macerated orange slices are the easiest and most elegant dessert there is, here is how to do it:
Sprinkle sliced oranges with a bit of sugar, drizzle lemon juice, maybe some lemon zest on top. Let rest for a few hours in the fridge. Plate, and drizzle juice over. Thank you, Marcella.
Dana S. September 2, 2013
When I need to improvise dessert, I just throw fruit (fresh or roasted or whatever I have time for) in a bowl, top with some yogurt, and drizzle liberally with honey. Maybe sprinkle with a little sea salt if I'm feeling like a salty-sweet thing.
Kevin O. September 2, 2013
I keep dried cherries soaked in Banyuls around always. A bit of good vanilla ice cream, with a generous spoonful of the cherries and a cookie with chocolate in it to top it off always works. Porto if that's your mood.
aussiefoodie September 2, 2013
Macerate strawberries in balsamic vinegar and a little powdered sugar and some liquor, then serve with good quality vanilla bean ice cream
Sally M. September 2, 2013
Thai-style caramelized bananas with coconut milk & lime served with vanilla ice cream. Takes about 5 minutes and is amazingly tasty. I nearly always have the ingredients so it never takes any planning.
LE B. September 2, 2013
2 thoughts:
--vanilla ice cream topped by toasted coconut and warm maple syrup (grade B).

-- Into a blender: 3/4 cup milk, 3T. sugar or honey or maple syrup etc. or 1 equal packet, and 3T taro powder or powdered green tea (matcha). Buzz a few seconds til smooth. Add 6 regular ice cubes, buzz til a smoothie. So refreshing when it's wicked hot!
1234cake September 1, 2013
Homemade coconut oil Magic Shell + assorted ice cream!
Hannah B. September 1, 2013
The individual lava cakes from joy of cooking... people are always SO IMPRESSED and they are super easy.
Christina @. September 1, 2013
Hannah, lava cakes or flourless chocolate torte are my two "go-to" desserts when I have nothing planned ahead of time. Both are fabulous and as you said, so impressive!
Christina @. September 1, 2013
Affogato al Caffe: a scoop of vanilla ice-cream into an espresso-DONE!
TheWimpyVegetarian September 1, 2013
One of my favorite easy desserts is tossing sliced strawberries, diced mango, and pineapple chunks with minced candied ginger. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Side of whipped cream optional.
walkie74 August 31, 2013
Sliced storebought pound cake (even better if the store makes their own), whipped cream, sliced strawberries and blackberries on top. Killer!
happymontycooks August 31, 2013
Dried fruit and nut processed in a food processor as a crust, topped with one ingredient ice cream, dollop of Greek yogurt. Or if you're super lazy, dried fruit, nuts, a cut up frozen banana mixed with Greek yogurt.
Lynn C. August 31, 2013
Icebox Cake!!!