Leftover Desserts & Dessert Items

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This is probably a no-brainer category, but here are a few ideas (some from my kids) of what to do with just a smidge of leftover dessert, sauces, etc. Perhaps you have a favorite or two to add?

There is bound to be a little overlap in some of the Cookie, Brownie and Cake ideas, so I’ve tried to find some unique and delicious recipes for you.

Individual Dulce de Leche Apple Crisp

dessert sauces

You know what to do with dessert sauce, right? Then how come so many people have so many kinds littering their fridge?

Here are a few ideas for store-bought or home-made when you just have a bit or maybe too much!

Blackberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles
Blackberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles
1. toppings:

Use as a topping for just about anything. This is a pretty much no-brainer category, right? Drizzle over desserts, ice-cream, breakfast items like pancakes, waffles & French toast. Add to milk, blend if chunky.

2. add to beverages:

If the flavor’s appropriate, add to coffee or coffee type drinks like lattes, blend with milk and serve hot or cold, flavor smoothies. Depending on the sauce, sweeten a little tea. Raspberry tea, anyone?

3. dress a plate:

Use your sauces to drizzle or decorate any dessert plate…heat, thin or blend as necessary.

4. yogurt or overnight oats:

Use sauces, especially berry type, to flavor and sweeten yogurt or overnight oats.

5. combine with fruit:

Intensify flavor of fruit sauces by combining like to like. Add a little strawberry sauce to strawberries and serve over shortcakes, biscuits, ice-cream, etc.

6: dip:

Use a bit of sauce that’s just hanging out as a dip for fruit. Caramel and chocolate come to mind as a dip for strawberries, apples or bananas. Freeze, if desired, for a cool treat.

7. popsicles:

Layer your dessert sauces into yogurt popsicles. This is particularly great if you have a lot of sauces hanging out in the fridge – make a bunch of different kinds.

8. in bread pudding:

Drizzle into simple bread puddings like this Irish Bread & Butter Pudding, especially if you don’t have enough to put in a larger bread pudding.

9. in crisps and cobblers:

Layer your dessert over apple crisp or other desserts like cobblers before adding the streusel topping.

10. in soda:

Blend, if needed and add to clear soda water for your own home-made pop. Or soda, if you prefer. Make an old-fashioned “Egg Cream” by adding a scoop of ice-cream.

11. add to whipped cream:

Whip right into whipped cream to make a flavored dessert topping. A favorite is this Lemon Cream you’ll find on this recipe for Roasted Pears.

12. make it savory:

Depending on the sauce, add a few savory ingredients. Think Apricot Dipping Sauce, maybe a Blackberry or Cherry Sauce to accompany Salmon or Chicken. A few herbs, a touch of vinegar, wine or hooch and you’ll have a great sweet and sour concoction.

shell or magic shell

Of course, you’re gonna use it on ice-cream, but what if you run out of ice-cream, or don’t like it, or only have a little bit of magic shell to use and it’s been languishing.

Here are a few ideas. Keep in mind, magic shell has to be cooled or put in something cold to harden:

Magic Pop Marshmallow pops from the Decorated Cookie.
1. designs:

Gently heat and toss in a Ziploc, cut the corner and pipe amazing designs on plates or dessert items, or pipe designs on waxed or parchment paper, let cool and use stick them in any dessert you’d like.

2. pretzels:

Dip pretzels in the warm topping. Roll in fun confetti or other items if you’d like to be fancy.

3. dip fruit:

Dip just about any fruit you’d like to, fresh or dried. Try candied fruit, too, like candied orange or lemon peel. Sprinkle with sea salt before it’s fully cool if you’d like.

4. fruit salad:

Drizzle over a simple fruit salad in a bowl, even better if it’s one of those salads with marshmallows! I might even eat it, then!

5. nuts:

Drizzle or toss nuts in the warm sauce and let harden.

6. popcorn:

Drizzle over your popcorn or caramel corn concoctions. Place the tray in the fridge to harden just a bit.

7. shakes and malts:

When your home-made shake or malt is finished, drizzle in the topping while stirring. Yum!

8. ice-cream pies:

Slightly soften whatever ice-cream you have in the freezer, line small custard cups with plastic wrap and use the Magic Shell in between layers.

9. marshmallow pops:

Put your marshmallows on a stick and dip in the magic shell. Add other fun candies and items before it starts to harden, then place in the freezer on a wax paper lined tray to harden. See this recipe at the Decorated Cookie.

10. donuts:

As if they aren’t bad enough – wait I mean good enough – on their own, drizzle donuts with magic shell and pop in the freezer for a minute to harden.

11. dip any baked goods or cookies:

What the heck, why not? Especially if the item isn’t crumbly. Magic Shell Oreos, anyone, lol!!

12. ice-box desserts:

Drizzle over any whipped cream topping on an ice-box dessert or pie. I’d love some, please, on my French Silk Pie.

Leftover Cake Bread Pudding, Photo from Babble


Well wrapped, cake may be frozen. If your cake is too dry, you can try to revive it by bagging it with bread or apple slices or sprinkling it with a little wine or liqueur, juice or simple syrup.

You might want to microwave it for about 30 seconds. And of course, there’s always ice-cream.

Cupcake Milkshake, photo from Sweet as a Cookie
1. cake pops:

Mix with frosting until it can be formed into small balls. Scoop balls out and roll. Dip or drizzle with icing or chocolate.

2. shakes:

Mix in shakes for your very own blizzards. Garnish as desired. If this Cupcake Milk Shake from Sweet as a Cookie doesn’t tempt you, I don’t know what will!

3. trifles:

Layer with pudding and fruit (if desired) and serve cold, topped with whipped cream. Here’s a glorious recipe for Lemon Raspberry Trifle from Suburbia Unwrapped.

4. toast or grill:

If your cake is sturdy, toast or grill it and serve with ice-cream, sauce, fruit or a fruit compote.

5. topping or mix in:

Crumble and use for an ice-cream topping. Dry out in the oven, then combine with ice-cream. Crumble over puddings.

6. serve with a sauce:

When cake is slightly stale, serve with a sauce. Chocolate sauce if appropriate, try creme anglaise with chocolate or vanilla, berry sauces with angel food or vanilla cakes.

7. cake brownies:

Crumble it up, frosting and all, and add it to a batch of brownies. There will be lots of texture and pockets of ooey, gooey frosting.

8. lamingtons:

Roll in a quick icing made of powdered sugar and orange juice. Toss in toasted coconut or nuts. Check out this recipe for Orange Infused Lamingtons by The Infatuated Foodie.

9. french toast:

If your cake is a pound cake and rather dry and firm, make the most decadent French Toast, ever. How about Birthday Cake French Toast from the Cake Spy? Yes, please!

8. bread pudding:

Cut in cubes and dry, then make bread pudding. Here’s a recipe from Babble for Leftover Cake Bread Pudding.

9. cake crumb cookies:

Remove the frosting, dry it out a little and make Cake Crumb Cookies, like these from the Daily Meal. Yes, Virginia, there is a such a thing!

10. whipped cream:

Crumble your cake and add to whipped cream to top another dessert. Harmonize your flavors, though.

11. tiramisu:

Do a “riff” off this Martha Stewart recipe for Pound Cake Tiramisu. Even if you don’t have pound cake, I just don’t think you could go wrong.

12. cheesecake crust:

Line the bottom of your spring form pan with the cake, then pour the cream cheese filling in. Bake as usual.

Brownie Mosiac Cheesecake from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


Brownies can be tricky. I’ll eat them ooey gooey or hard as a rock, but sometimes you’re faced with a batch that just doesn’t go over.

If they’re hard, you can maybe microwave them in a damp towel, but here are a few creative ideas that will totally transform them!

Laura’s Leftover Brownie Truffles, photo from the Cooking Channel
1. truffles:

Try this easy recipe that uses just a few brownies and turns them into sophisticated dessert truffles, Laura’s Leftover Brownie Truffles from the Cooking Channel.

2. pie:

Press brownie crumbs and pieces into a pie pan, layer with anything else you’d like such as candy, marshmallows, etc. Drizzle with enough melted and slightly cooled chocolate to bind everything and cool.

3. ice-cream pie:

Press brownie crumbs and pieces into a pie pan, layer with ice-cream and other goodies. Freeze until firm. Maybe you’d like to look at this Brownie Bottomed Ice Cream Pie for inspiration?

4. deep fry:

Yeah, I went there: see this recipe from the Cookie Rookie for Fried Brownie Truffle Bites. These might be a sin.

5. use in cookies:

Cut them up and add to cookie dough batter along with chocolate chips in this recipe from the Picky Palate. Oh my gosh…

6. cheesecake:

Toss your brownie chunks in cheesecake. Heck, don’t stop there~see this recipe for Decadent Brownie Mosiac Cheesecake from Mel’s Kitchen.

7. ice cream & coffee:

Hit those dry brownies with a shot of coffee or espresso and top with a little ice-cream.

8. ice-cream sandwich:

Layer your dry brownies with slabs of ice-cream and freeze. The ice cream will slightly soften the brownies and the brownies are firm enough to stand up to the sandwich method.

9. rum balls:

Traditionally, vanilla wafers are used in Rum Balls, but this recipe from Feed Your Temptations takes the idea to a new level.

10. twice bake them:

Bake your brownies again to make Brownie Biscotti. Just follow the instructions on my Black & White Biscotti recipe. This works well with leftover Sweet Breads or Quick Breads, too.

11. baked alaska:

Brownie Baked Alaska. Amazing idea. Ya gotta love a recipe that’s easy to scale up or down depending on how many brownies you might have. These are pistachio, but any flavor you like will work.

12. brownie butter:

Crumble and add to a food processor, drizzle in a little water while pulsing until the mixture is pasty. Add a little melted butter or coconut oil and whir until the texture of peanut butter.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice-Box Cake from Nancy Fuller & the Food Network


If your cookies are too dry, they can usually be softened by bagging them with some bread, and if they’re too soft, they can be crisped back up in the oven.

A few seconds in the microwave usually does wonders for any hard cookie, or any cookie for that matter!! Cookies can always be frozen to keep them fresh, but after seeing this list, you may never have to freeze them, ever.

How to turn stale cookies into an epic pie from the Huffpost
1. icebox cake:

Layer your crisp or dry cookies with whipping cream, cover and serve the next day as icebox cake. This recipe for Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake is on the FoodNetwork from Nancy Fuller of Farmhouse Rules.

2. pie or cheesecake crust:

Take a peek at this Huffpost recipe for How to Turn Stale Cookies into an Epic Pie.

3. ice-cream pie:

Press cookie crumbs and pieces into a pie pan, layer with ice-cream and other goodies. Freeze until firm.

4. magic or 7 layer bars:

Crumble your cookies and add them right into Magic or Seven Layer Bars for yet one more layer of deliciousness.

5. fill them:

Just fill your cookies with something wonderful. Dulce de Leche, Caramel, Ganache. Maybe leftover frosting with your leftover cookies?

6. ice-cream:

Layer your old cookies into your ice-cream, maybe a no-churn ice cream? Or just crumble them on top of your ice cream. Here is a recipe for a No Churn Cookie & Cream Ice Cream from Life Made Sweeter.

7. cookie bark:

You’ll want this Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark more than you’ll want the cookies! You’ll be hoarding your cookies for this! Recipe from Love & Olive Oil.

8. ice-cream sandwich:

Layer your dried out cookies with slabs of ice-cream and freeze. The ice cream will slightly soften the cookies and the cookies are firm enough to stand up to the sandwich method.

9. cookie butter:

Home-made Cookie Butter from Any Cookie! Be still my heart. And check out the marvelousness from A Beautiful Mess.

10. line a cocktail glass:

Just about any cookie, and just about any sweet or milky cocktail. Just crush finely. See this Gingerbread Cookie Cocktail from Betty Crocker for inspiration. Not a boozer? Try it with hot chocolate.

11. chocolate salami:

I’ve been hearing about Chocolate Salami lately, and imagine my surprise to find out it’s crushed up cookies and other items, all rolled up into a log, bound with chocolate? When sliced, all the bits and pieces show. Check out this recipe from PBS food.

12. streusel:

Toss & smash your cookie crumbs with butter and use as a topping for cupcakes. Maybe for muffins, if you dare!



I’m sure there are dozens and dozens of other uses for leftover desserts  – anyone out there have a go-to idea they’d like to share?

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