Fast, Single-Serving "Fake" Desserts
Frequently, my husband and I will be watching a movie, hours after dinner, and some weird dessert craving will hit me. After thirty years of marriage, he is used to it. It’s not like I have just seen an ad for an ice-cream sundae, or that I am thumbing through a magazine illustrating foolproof pie crust. I just get these crazy OMIGOD I WANT THIS NOW thoughts...and I usually don’t have whatever it is that I want in the house.
It gets more complicated. I don’t want an entire cake in my house, or two dozen chocolate chip cookies, or an apple pie. I have the attention span of a gnat, and once I eat the thing I was craving, I don’t usually want it again the next night or the night after that. I’m also frugal, and I don’t want to spend money the ingredients for a big apple pie or a cheesecake. I could make something and share it, but I was an only child and honestly never learned to share well.
So I had this crazy idea. What if I stocked staples for “fake” desserts in my pantry? By “fake,” I mean small bites that would satisfy a craving, yet not make me spend lots of money or eat too many calories.
Once I had the idea, I started kitchen-testing and internet-surfing. Here are the goodies that I came up with. (See also: 15 Ultra-Quick Homemade Desserts)
Almost Apple Pie
This is technically more of a turnover, but if you serve it with a slice of cheddar cheese, it’s a good fake pie. Unroll a triangle of canned crescent roll dough. Add a heaping tablespoon of apple-pie filling. Add a second triangle on top, seal the sides with a fork, and vent the top with a knife. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
Pantry essentials: Canned crescent rolls and apple-pie filling.
Fake Cherry Cheesecake
I am not sure why I didn’t think of this one years ago. For two servings, you’ll need two whole graham crackers, 1/3 block of low-fat cream cheese, 1 tablespoon honey, and a can of cherry pie filling (you won’t use it all). Combine the cream cheese with a tablespoon of honey and stir to soften slightly. Spread on a graham cracker and top with some canned cherry filling. Close your eyes and eat. It really satisfied my cheesecake craving!
Pantry essentials: Graham crackers, cherry pie filling, honey, and cream cheese.
Fake Cake in a Cup
Honestly, this five minute chocolate cake reminds me a little more of a souffle when it is done. Be careful — it is very hot when you remove it from the microwave. I like it just fine without the chocolate chips, too.
Pantry essentials: Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, milk, vegetable oil, and nuts (optional).
Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Cup
In the same vein, have you heard of chocolate chip cookies in a cup? I hadn’t, and now I am so happy. I always have the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand, but I rarely feel motivated to make a big batch.
Pantry essentials: Brown and white sugars, eggs, vanilla, flour, salt, and chocolate chips.
Two-Ingredient Ice Cream
In my humble opinion, this is the greatest summer discovery ever — two-ingredient ice cream. It really works! The first time that I made this, we “checked” it after one and a half hours (quality control, you know). We had to stop ourselves from eating the entire batch. If you prefer a firmer-texture ice cream, you’ll need about four hours. I make it in half-recipes because I do get bored quickly with a flavor. This is so easy that you can have peach one night and candy-bar crunch the next. Genius!
Pantry essentials: Sweetened condensed milk, cream, vanilla, and flavorings of your choice.
Occasionally, the baking bug does bite me, and I’ll make some biscuits. With just two of us, though, the bulk of the leftovers will go into the freezer. If I also have frozen strawberries in the depths of the freezer, hello, strawberry fake-cake! Thaw some berries and add some sugar (and a little Grand Marnier, if you’re fancy). Defrost those biscuits in the microwave, split them, and add the defrosted strawberries. Hopefully you have a can of whipped cream in the refrigerator to top them off.
Pantry essentials: Biscuits (or Bisquick), frozen strawberries, sugar, and whipped cream.
Fake Angel Food Cake
My mother was a big fan of angel food cake, but she’d serve this fake-angel in a pinch. Believe it or not, it’s reminiscent of an angel food cake, probably due to the texture. For one serving, combine two tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of coconut, and one tablespoon of butter. Spread on white-bread toast and broil (keep a close eye on it, because it burns easily).
Pantry essentials: Brown sugar, coconut, butter, and white bread.
Readers, any dessert trickery to share?