9 Dessert Shortcuts To Try Tonight

If we're going to spend all of our free time outside soaking up every last drop of sun, something's got to give — and all too often that something is time in the kitchen. So, we prioritize. We get creative. We do anything but sacrifice our beloved dessert, and that means sticking to quick treats that require minimal effort. Besides, some of our favorite recipes also happen to be the simplest.
Whether we're upgrading ice cream with a few easy toppings, sneaking in a nutritious twist, or boozing up treats for next-level flavor, we're loving these easy recipes. We might just have to skip the main course to get to them even quicker.
1 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Turn fruit into granita.
When you don't have an ice-cream machine, granita is an easy alternative. Sweeten about 2 cups of fruit juice or puree to taste, and then pour the mixture into a shallow, freezer-safe container. Slide it into the freezer and scrape the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes or so until it has frozen into large flakes. Serve as is or with a spoonful of whipped cream.
2 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Upgrade your ice cream.
For a simple and delicious topping, make a three-ingredient Magic Shell. All you have to do is combine 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 6 ounces of chocolate, and a pinch of salt in a microwavable bowl. Cook the mixture in 30-second intervals until it is melted and smooth. Spoon on top of ice cream and wait a few seconds for the chocolate to harden. Now, dig in.
3 of 10

Try a no-bake recipe — it'll be our secret.

Swap the brownie batter and baking time for an easy-to-assemble treat, like this Peanut Buttery Brownie. Using a Fiber One Chocolate Fudge Brownie bar as your base, add a few enhancements to dress it up and sweeten the deal (click over here for the full recipe). Packed with 5 grams of fiber, this tasty confection has a surprisingly nutritious twist, and the quick prep time only makes it sweeter.
4 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Roast fruit to perfection.
This is quite possibly the easiest dessert ever, but you'd never guess. Just toss sliced stone fruit or berries with a bit of sugar (or honey) and a vanilla bean on a baking sheet. Bake at 375ºF until the fruit is juicy and caramelized. Cool slightly, and serve over vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt.
5 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Put your freezer to work.
Homemade popsicles can make you look like a dessert pro. But, all you really need is fruit, popsicle molds, and enough time for freezing. Fill molds with your favorite juice or pureed fruit, and freeze until firm. Mix flavors or add a few spoonfuls of yogurt to fruit puree for beautifully striped pops.
6 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Booze up your sorbet or ice cream.
Since alcohol doesn’t freeze, a few tablespoons of liquor will make your homemade ice cream or sorbet soft, scoopable, and extra tasty. Try bourbon in vanilla or Campari in strawberry sorbet. You could even make things easier by topping store-bought sorbet with a splash of Champagne or a shot of liqueur.
7 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Cheat at pie-making.
If you have pie crust and jam, you can make these delicious hand pies. Just roll out the crust, and cut it into circles about 6 inches wide. Add a dollop of jam (make sure to leave a 1/2-inch border around all edges) to each one, and fold over. Crimp the edges together with a fork, sprinkle with crunchy sugar, and bake at 400ºF until golden brown.
8 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Get your easy-bake on.
For the easiest strawberry tart ever, roll out a sheet of pie dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Dock it with a fork, and bake at 400ºF until deep golden brown. Top the cooled crust with lightly sweetened mascarpone or cream cheese, and then with sliced strawberries. Enjoy immediately.
9 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Let the farmers' market do the deciding.
You cannot go wrong with peak-season fruit. An easy upgrade for peaches is to chill them in wine. Slice firm, ripe peaches into 1/4-inch slices and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar and cover completely with white wine. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 48 hours. Serve in a short glass topped with wine and an extra sprinkle of sugar if you see fit.
10 of 10
Photographed by Yossy Arefi-Afsha.
Salt up your sweets.
Amp up the flavor of chocolate anything with a small sprinkle of flaky salt. Here, chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies were seasoned with a few grains of Maldon salt before they were baked — a little goes a long way.

More from Food & Drinks


R29 Original Series