You may argue that desserts aren’t necessarily frugal or good for you. I’ll argue that sometimes you need a little something to feed the soul as well as the body. I’ll be adding to my collection of family favorites over time.
Brownies & Bars
Hershey’s Ultimate Double Chocolate Brownie: Deep, dark chocolate, with or without additional chocolate chunks. They make up what they lack in looks by their intensely chocolate taste.
Apple Cake with Rum Sauce: My Grand Mother’s recipe, like a Sticky Toffee Pudding, the top is a little crunchy, the inside moist, dense. The sauce soaks into the top and pools on the plate.
Apple Pie Cake. Irish: A quick, simple cake formed from one batter. The bottom is cake like, the middle is moist and the top is like a sweet pie crust or cobbler. Serve with a caramel or custard sauce.
Banana Sheet Cake: A sheet cake has a charm of it’s own, but even better, this old-fashioned Banana cake has the perfect proportion of cake to frosting! Moist, Delicious, Sublime!
Classic Coffee Cake: The coffee cake of my dreams (and yours, too?) It has an amazing amount of crumb topping over a gorgeous cake – and the crumbs are well behaved! Yes, they stay on!
Coconut Tres Leches Cake: This creamy, dreamy cake is accompanied by carmelized bananas and has a definite island flair with the coconut. Make ahead – seriously – two or three days. It just gets better!
Inner Sanctum Flourless Chocolate Cake: Don’t let the looks of this cake deceive you – this is by far one of the most decadent (and easy) chocolate cakes you’ll ever make. This is our family’s go to cake.
Molten Lava Cake: If you think this recipe has been overdone, you’ll change your mind when you have a bite. These have a small ball of chocolate ganache tucked inside. Guaranteed ooze!
Old Fashioned Texas Sheet Cake: You know this cake, a classic! Sturdy enough to pick up and eat out of hand, this is the cake you want to tote for a party, a potluck, a picnic! It’s easy, quick and absolutely charming!
Spider Cake – A delicious corn bread with a creamy custard center, great as a savory bread on a special occasion, but its slight sweetness lends itself well to a brunch dish or even a casual dessert.
Wayside Inn Carrot Cake: This especially fine textured cake uses a carrot that is almost a puree; a favorite of the family, passed to me by my stepmom – everyone will rave!
Candied Pecans: While these were originally posted as a salad “add-in” they deserve a place here in desserts. Center one in each square of a bar or brownie, or along the border of a cake.
English Toffee, Aunt Ginny’s: Toffee is so simple and an absolutely delicious crunchy, buttery and chocolate covered treat. Minutes to make, if you’ve never tried it home-made, you’re missing out!
Cheesecake, Toffee Caramel: With variations to design your own flavor combos! I’m sending you off to Go Bake Yourself to my guest post there! While you’re there, check out Uru’s blog!
Black & White Biscotti: Half chocolate, half vanilla…Biscotti are frugal by nature, but so delicious. They’re perfect for someone who wants just a bit of something sweet. They make a great gift!
Classic Tea Cookies: These are very simple short bread cookies, sometimes known as “Thumb-Print” cookies. Fill with Jam, Jelly or an assortment of other fillings of your choice. A family favorite & fun to make.
Crêpes: A fantastic recipe for this basic building block to so many dishes, make them sweet or savory. Easier than you’d think to make, considering all the mystique around them. They freeze beautifully.
Austrian Crepes with Apricot Caramel Sauce: This is simply a showstopper of a dessert, absolutely fantastic. Filled crepes stacked and bakes with custard, the Caramel Sauce puts if over the top.
Crisps, Cobblers & Fruits
Apple Crisp, Dulce de Leche & Streusel: A step up from the classic Apple Crisp and just as easy, but with a few twists and a little surprise or two! Portable, too, if you’d like to sneak one away.
Bosc Pears with Balsamic Reduction: Here’s a dessert one doesn’t have to feel too guilty about! Use the best Balsamic and you won’t be disappointed – but good even with a grocery store one.
Fruit Crisp, any kind: While apple is the classic, crisps can be made with many fruits and berries. Change it up with the seasons and enjoy this homey, simple pleasure more often.
Custards, Puddings & Souffles
Best Home-Made Chocolate Pudding: Rich, silky, very chocolatly – comfort food! If you don’t love pudding, perhaps you’ve never tried home-made? Simply a world of difference.
Chocolate Pots de Creme: These little custard like puddings are extremely rich and a perfect ending to an elegant meal. Just don’t tell anyone how easy this blender recipe is.
Chocolate Souffles – Individual: What every you call them, these light, airy chocolate souffles with an ooey, gooey center are always a perfect dessert! These freeze beautifully to be baked later.
Irish Bread & Butter Pudding: A homey, simple dish with a long history, this is different from the New Orleans’ style. Serve as is or with a sauce. Great use of stale bread.
Cracked Black Pepper & Honeydew Sorbet: Make as a sorbet or popsicles, this is a guilt free treat all summer long and easy to make. The pepper may sound strange but cuts the sweetness and dances off the tongue!
Lemon Thyme Popsicles: Long a family favorite, this little recipe makes the creamiest, dreamiest popsicle with only four ingredients. The thyme is more suited for adults, so leave it out if you’re in doubt.
Eton Mess: First you bake the Meringue Nests or any other meringue, then you break it up and go to town with whipping cream (or yogurt) and berries, just like they do at Oxford. Call me to dinner, please! I can’t wait for dessert!
Meringue Nests: These little meringues are ideal for filling with berries or other little treats. A lemon or other curd make idea pairings – one uses the whites the other yolks. Easy to make, they do need time.
Pies & Tarts
Blind Bake a Pie Crust: A rather utilitarian method for a dessert post, this method is one I use always to blind bake with beautiful results. Use it to partially bake for a custard pie or fully bake for cream.
Lemon Meringue Pie: An absolute classic, this Cook’s Illustrated recipe is perfect every time! Best of all, improved directions (by moi) help walk you through it with ease. Better than Mom’s, better than mine!
Pumpkin Pie: Classic American, this is a lovely pie by Pam Anderson – the custard is light and silky, the flavor lets the pumpkin shine through. No soggy crust here, either; your guests will take notice.
Apricot Caramel Sauce: Developed for the crepes, below, this is a wonderful sauce, almost like a preserve. You might find yourself making this as a special touch to all kinds of dishes.
Butterscotch Sauce: Here I’ve culled two of my favorites, one a bit easier, the other more traditional, both simply delicious. Very close to a Caramel Sauce and using most of the same ingredients.
Custard Sauce: Known also as Creme Anglaise this rich, vanilla sauce is beautiful with chocolate or fruit desserts. Thick enough to nap and then pool, it makes a dessert!
Intensely Chocolate Syrup: Beautifully dark, sweet without being overwhelming, this is a wonderful dessert sauce. It also makes a wonderful chocolate milk or hot chocolate. Make it in minutes.
Rum, Whiskey or Vanilla Sauce: This rich, shiny sauce may be flavored any number of ways, alcoholic or not. Dried fruit may be added, too. How about Rum Raisin? Serve over desserts, pancakes or ice-cream.
Sour Cherry Compote: A little tart and not too sweet, this Sour Cherry Compote will make you rethink what Cherries are all about. Not only is this a fantastic dessert sauce, it is tart enough to go savory.
Shortcakes & Sweet Breads
Pumpkin Bread: This is my Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread, easy, simple and perfect, but sometimes we dress it up with a bit of sauce and a dab of whipped cream. Recipe makes two loaves, 1 to keep, 1 to give.
Shortcakes: These are simply lovely, almost a scone and close in taste to a “cream biscuit.” Do not confuse these with some Bisquick drop biscuit. These are absolutely divine.
Three Berry Shortcakes: This is our tried and true dessert for Independence Day…not only are they the perfect over the top dessert for a summer party, they are a festive red, white and blue.