When you’re in the mood for something sweet, want to bring a dessert to a friends house or dinner party, or want to impress your guests but don’t have a ton of time to spare, there’s still hope. There are actually some quite impressive desserts out there that are big on taste but that – believe it or not – don’t take much time to prepare. I’m sharing some of my go-to dessert recipes that can be prepped and ready in 15 minutes or less – all while leaving your taste testers wanting seconds!
Illustration by Luna
Strawberry shortcake – this is especially great in the spring and summer, but really, you can make this all year round. All you need to do is chop up some fresh strawberries, then use a pastry cutter to mash them up until they are pretty mostly liquid with a few “chunkier” pieces mixed in. If the consistency is too thick, you can mix in a few drops of water, and for extra sweetness, a tablespoon or so of sugar. Then, I like to use heavy whipping cream to make some homemade whipped cream. I usually buy the pre-made pound cake dessert shells at the grocery store – but if they don’t have them, just I just use a regular pound cake that I slice up before serving. Then, you can create your own little “strawberry shortcake” bar and put out the berries, cream, and pound cake separately, and even some sprinkles if you so wish! Always a hit!
Mini banana cream pies – I love making these when I have extra banana cream from a cake, but they’re great to make on their own too. And super easy. Simply whip up your favorite banana cream recipe and use the mini graham cracker crust pies (I use the Keebler ones) to assemble personal banana cream pies. You can top them off with whipped cream and a banana slice, too!
Mini fruit tarts – I love these because they use pre-made sugar cookie dough, which is perfect if you have some in the freezer that you made or if you just buy one at the store. Using a mini muffin tin, put a ball of dough in each opening and bake in the oven, about 12 minutes. While the shells are baking, whip up cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Once the shells are baked, cooled, and taken out of the muffin pan, fill each with cream and top with fruit – such as chopped strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, or blueberries. This recipe lays it all out perfectly and these are a great bite-sized treat!
Popcorn cake – I think this counts as dessert, right? It goes into a cake pan, so I’m going to go with yes on this one. The sweet and salty combination of this makes it irresistible and an instant hit. Pop up two bags of microwave popcorn and mix it with M&Ms and broken up pretzel sticks. Then, melt a stick of butter and mix in mini marshmallows until they are melted and smooth, completely mixed with the butter. Let this mixture cool for a couple minutes, then pour it over the popcorn mixture. Press the popcorn into a lightly greased bundt pan, cover, and allow to cool and set for an hour. When you’re ready to serve it, simply invert the pan onto a platter and it’s ready to be devoured!
Parfaits – so many parfaits, so little time! Luckily, you only need to choose one to make for your next get together, and they’re all beyond simple. From an oreo parfait – consisting of strawberries, cool whip, and chopped Oreos all layered on top of each other – to one that features strawberries, pretzels, sugar, and cinnamon, these are easy as pie and even look pretty fancy! Talk about delicious.
Who says you need to spend all day in the kitchen to go gourmet? These recipes prove that even when you’re pressed for time, you can deliver something sweet and satisfying to your friends and family.