Sweet Tooth

To say these are trying times is more than just an understatement. It's nearly laughable. Between wondering where all the toilet paper went and attempting to work from home (if you're lucky) while getting your kids to do something beyond look at screens (again, if you're lucky), there's that ever-nagging question that somehow doesn't manage to take a break even during the throes of a global pandemic. How can I satisfy my sweet tooth?

Whether you are craving cake, bars, cookies, candies, or breakfast pastries, we've got you covered. Everything from fruit to nuts to chocolate can be found to tantalize your sweet tooth and help your home smell like your favorite bakery. Everything included in this guide falls into the comfort food category. Many of them are easy to freeze so you can enjoy some now and still have more around for later.

This guide includes 10 great recipes from our archives (and remember you can always search our decades of content too) that can help you find the perfect sweet treat to make with what you have on hand.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c. half and half
  • 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped and cut into quarters

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add the egg and milk and beat to combine. Put the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, and beat until the mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Press the dough into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and a little puffy. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips, half and half, and peanut butter in a large glass measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute on HIGH. Remove from the microwave and stir gently. Return to the microwave and cook in 30 second intervals, stirring after each session, until the mixture is entirely melted and stirred into a homogenous, creamy mixture. Carefully spread this evenly over the warm crust after you've removed it from the oven. Sprinkle the chopped peanut butter crusts over the melted chocolate mixture and allow the bars to cool completely before slicing into small servings. Store any remaining bars covered in the refrigerator.

  • Yields: 20-24 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Triple Chocolate Cookies

  • 12 teaspoons chocolate hazelnut spread (or 1 teaspoon per cookie)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop the spread by individual teaspoonfuls onto the waxed paper, making sure there is space between each spoonful. Form them into slightly flattened patties and place the sheet into the freezer for at least an hour and up to a day.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and sugars and blend with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the extract and egg and blend again. Add the flour, baking soda, corn starch, and cocoa powder and blend to form a dense, chocolatey dough. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to bake the cookies. Cover the dough with plastic wrap if it will be more than an hour before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

To assemble the cookies, take one frozen chocolate hazelnut spread patty and carefully wrap it in about 2 tablespoons of the chilled chocolate cookie dough. I like to form a ball with the dough and then flatten it into a disc and wrap that around the frozen chocolate hazelnut spread patty. Then roll it gently between your hands to close any seams and place on a baking sheet covered with a silicone baking mat. Since these cookies spread quite a bit while baking, limit yourself to six cookies per baking sheet. After the cookies are placed on the sheet, press 3-5 chocolate chips onto the top of each cookie, if desired. It is recommended that you put the unused dough and spread patties in the refrigerator and freezer, respectively, between assembling a batch of cookies and removing them to a wire rack to cool.

Place the cookies in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes before removing them and allowing them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to a week, though I doubt they will last that long!

  • Yields: 12 cookies
  • Preparation Time: At least 2 hours and up to 2 days, with much pausing for chilling involved

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

For Cookie Dough:
  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 2 oz. more for garnishing
For Cheesecake Filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with baking spray. Set aside.

To make the cookie dough, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool completely, about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale brownish-yellow, about 5 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and cooled brown butter to the egg mixture in the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined, with some dry flour still remaining, about 15 seconds. Add the 8 oz. chocolate chips (reserve the rest for the top of the bars) and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds longer.

Place a little more than half of the cookie dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan and press down firmly, creating an even crust layer. Set aside.

Using the stand mixer again, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and mix until combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the cheesecake filling over the top of the cookie dough crust layer in the prepared baking pan. Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top of the cheesecake filling and sprinkle with the remaining 2 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the pan to cool completely before cutting into bars.

  • Yields: 20 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Chocolate-Cherry Cake

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup cherry coke
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room-temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room-temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling
Ganache Drizzle:
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease and flour a bundt pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth (the mixture will be thick). Gently whisk in the cherry coke until just combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, canola oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

Slowly add the flour mixture in three batches to the creamed butter mixture, alternating and ending with the cherry coke mixture, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Whip the batter until it is smooth. Fold in the cherry pie filling.

Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 30 minutes; remove from the pan and allow to cool completely before drizzling on the ganache.

To make the ganache, combine the half & half and the dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute and stir well. If all of the chocolate is not melted, microwave an additional 30 seconds. Stir until the mixture is homogenous and thick. Drizzle generously over the cooled cake.

  • Yields: 12-16 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes

Microwave Peanut Brittle

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 13/4 cups dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Generously grease a baking sheet. In 2-quart microproof bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrup. Cook on high for 4 minutes.

Stir in the peanuts with a wooden spoon. Cook the mixture on high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture reaches 300 degrees F on a microproof candy thermometer (or a small amount separates into hard, brittle threads when dropped in cold water). Stir in the butter and vanilla. Blend in the baking soda; stir until the mixture is light and foamy.

Pour onto the prepared baking sheet; spread quickly. As the candy cools, stretch into a thin sheet. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

  • Yields: 1 pound
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Using a stand mixer, beat the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and egg until smooth.

Add 1 cup of the flour and the baking powder; beat until incorporated.

Using a spoon, stir in the last cup of flour until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half. Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll out the cookie dough to ¼" thick. Place the wax-paper lined cookie dough on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer until the dough is firm and chilled, about 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove one of the rolled dough sections out of the freezer and remove the top piece of the waxed paper. Dip your cookie cutters in flour and cut out the desired shapes. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet covered with a silicon baking mat. Reroll the scraps and cut out more shapes until you've used all of the dough.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until set and firm. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.

Repeat the process using the other rolled dough section from the freezer. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.

  • Yields: About 2 dozen cutout cookies or so - depending on the sizes and shapes of your cookie cutters
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cappuccino Pie

  • 5 egg yolks (save three whites for meringue)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant cappuccino mix (Nestle preferably)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients to form custard.

Pour into 9 inch pie shell.

Bake for thirty five to forty minutes.

Cappuccino Pie Meringue
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon brandy

Combine ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Spread over hot pie and place in oven until it becomes light gold in color.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation time: 1 hour thirty minutes

Mocha Cupcakes

  • 1-1/3 all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Set aside the coffee to cool to room temperature if it's not already cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the coffee and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners. Baking for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes. If desired, sprinkle with finely shaved dark chocolate.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Caramel Apple Bars

For the Filling & Topping:
  • 3 medium firm apples, peeled and thinly sliced - I used Honeycrisp
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ c. caramel sauce - divided
  • 3 T. slivered almonds - for topping
For the Crust & Crumble:
  • 1 ¼ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly mist an 8" square baking pan (or equivalent) with cooking spray. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, toss together the thinly sliced apples with the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl; drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce and toss to combine until well-coated; set these aside while you prep the dough for the crust and crumble.

To prepare the dough, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a bowl; set aside. Add the butter and brown and granulated sugars to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until well-combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate; add in the dry ingredients, mixing until combined, but crumbly. Reserve ¾ cup of the mixture for the crumble topping.

Press the remainder of the dough mixture gently into your prepared baking dish as evenly as possible, then add in the apple filling in as even a layer as possible. Sprinkle the reserved dough over the apples to create a crumble topping; sprinkle the almonds over the crumble topping.

Bake the bars for about 55 minutes (turning halfway through), until golden-brown; allow the bars to cool in the baking dish for 30 minutes before drizzling the top of the baked bars with the remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce. Cut them into 9-12 bars, depending on the size bars you prefer.

  • Yields: 9-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 75 minutes

Blueberry Crumb Pie

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Mix in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Gently stir in the blueberries. Pour into the pie crust.

In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon. Mix in butter using a fork until crumbly. Spread the crumb topping evenly over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until browned on top. Cool over a wire rack.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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