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42 Easy Desserts That Keep Life Simple and Sweet

Skip the long grocery list. You can make these easy desserts using five ingredients or less (plus staples like salt, pepper and oil). We've included cakes, bars, truffles and more that guarantee extra room in the pantry and happy smiles around the table.

Butterscotch Toffee Cookies

With its big butterscotch and chocolate flavor, my cookie stands out. I like to enjoy it with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. It’s my fallback recipe when I’m short on time and need something delicious fast. —Allie Blinder, Norcross, Georgia

5-Ingredient Fudge

You’re moments away from a pan of creamy fudge. Just microwave, stir and spread. —Sue Tucker, Edgemoor, South Carolina

Coconut Joys

If you like coconut, you’ll love these no-bake, no-fuss sweets. They’re cute as can be and would make a great after-school snack to keep in the fridge. —Flo Burtnett, North Gage, Oklahoma

Strawberry-Hazelnut Meringue Shortcakes

In summer the strawberry farms are open for picking. I serve strawberries with a crunchy hazelnut meringue cookie. —Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

Using just five ingredients makes this recipe so simple. You can add a little extra decoration with chocolate jimmies, too. —Chris Nelson, Decatur, Arkansas

Saltine Toffee Bark

These salty-sweet treasures make great gifts, and their flavor is simply irresistible. The bark is like brittle, but better. Get ready for a new family favorite! —Laura Cox, Brewster, Massachusetts

S'more-Dipped Cherries

Dress up any Christmas cookie tray with these cute bites. Dark chocolate chips plus four other ingredients are all you’ll need! —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Here’s the perfect dessert for chocoholics—like me! I bake the melt-in-your-mouth torte all the time for special occasions. For an elegant finish, dust it with confectioners’ sugar. —Kayla Albrecht, Freeport, Illinois

Orange Sorbet

Add a splash of color to the dinner table with this orange sorbet. The refreshing orange flavor of this frozen delight would be great as a dessert or a palate cleanser between courses. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Salted Soft Caramels

Velvety smooth homemade caramels have a sprinkling of kosher salt to create a sweet-salty sensation. Best of all, these caramels don't call for each to be wrapped in waxed paper or plastic wrap...a very tedious chore. The hot caramel is poured into miniature muffin liners instead. —Kathryn Conrad, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Rocky Road Grilled Banana Splits

There's no wrong turn when you travel down this rocky road. Toasty-warm bananas filled with gooey goodness and topped with heaping scoops of (pause for drool) creamy perfection are a new cookout must-have. —Loretta Ouellette, Pompano Beach, Florida

Strawberrry-Rosemary Yogurt Pops

We planted strawberries a few years ago and these tangy-sweet frozen yogurt pops are my very favorite treats to make with them! The options are endless. Try using other yogurt flavors like lemon, raspberry or blueberry. You may also substitute the rosemary with your favorite herb or simply omit it. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, Utah

Chocolate Peanut Drops

This is a recipe that I got from a friend, who got it from her sister, and between the three of us we've handed it out everywhere! The chocolaty candies couldn't be easier to make in the slow cooker and depending on the size of your spoon, you can get dozens of candies from one batch. So easy and great for gifts.—Anita Bell, Hermitage, Tennessee

Mint Brownies

With so few ingredients, these minty brownies are so decadent. —Kelly Ward-Hartman, Cape Coral, Florida

Rainbow Sherbet Angel Food Cake

Talk about a dessert that pops. Sometimes, I make this easy cake even more eye-catching by coloring the whipped cream, too. Use whatever sherbet flavor combination you like. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Chocolate Banana Bundles

Banana and chocolate is such a irresistible combination that I make this quick dessert often. I sometimes sprinkle on a dash of sea salt. You can also top with any leftover butter and brown sugar mixture.—Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

Coconut Creme Chocolates

I'm a proud wife, mom of three and grandma of many. I've cooked many things over the years, including these marshmallowy chocolates. —Dolores Wilder, Texas City, Texas

Easy Cake Mix Bars

I take these bars to work for Friday pick-me-ups. I love to share them because they're so easy to eat, easy to make and easy on the wallet. —Amy Rose, Ballwin, Missouri

Strawberry Pies

How do you remember how to spell dessert correctly? In this case, double the “S” for double the deliciousness in these fluffy, fruity pies. —Peggy Key, Grant, Alabama

Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

These are so easy to make and take no time at all. They’re great to package up for those college kids looking for something from home. Everyone will want this recipe. —Elaine Grimme, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Apple-Spice Angel Food Cake

I dressed up an angel food cake mix with some nuts, spice and applesauce to make an easy and light dessert. I serve it with a dollop of whipped topping mixed with a half cup of sour cream. —Joan Buehnerkemper, Teutopolis, Illinois

Crunchy Chocolate Mint Balls

Get a jump on the holidays by making these four-ingredient truffles and tucking them away in the freezer to save for gift-giving. Present them in mini cupcake holders for an extra-special touch. —Amanda Triff, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Country Fair Cherry Pie

A homemade cherry filling peeks out from a star-shaped pastry top. You can try different shapes for other occasions and also add almond extract for another flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Maple Ricotta Mousse with Candied Pecans

Try not to sneak too many of the maple-y nuts while you make dessert. With the mousse, they're even better. —Kathleen Gill, Pahrump, Nevada

Strawberry Chocolate Truffles

The ever-popular combination of strawberries and chocolate shines in these rich, decadent truffles. I often double the recipe to give as gifts. —Pat Habiger, Spearville, Kansas

Graham Cranberry Parfaits

Dessert doesn't get much easier or tastier when these parfaits on the menu. Just a few ingredients make them so simple to fix. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Pistachio Meringue Sundaes

Meringue sundaes can be filled with any flavor of gelato or ice cream, and different sauces, nuts or fresh fruit. —Lisa Speer, Palm Beach, Florida

Macadamia-Coffee Bean Cookies

Nearly anyone who loves coffee will perk up for this java-infused cookie. What hot beverage would you pair these treats with? There’s only one answer! —Kathleen Specht, Clinton, Montana

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie

I got the recipe for this pie from my mom, but I changed the crust to cookie dough. Because the crust will harden after being frozen, dip a knife in hot water first, wipe the knife off and then cut. Repeat the process if needed. —Letitia Landis, Rochester, Indiana

Peanut Butter Cup Napoleons

Top layers of puff pastry and peanut butter ice cream with a warm, sweet drizzle the whole family will love! It’s a terrific last-minute dessert, or you can freeze the cooled pastry and scooped ice cream separately in an airtight container the day before you serve it. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Macadamia-Coconut Candy Clusters

These are super easy to make. They are great to make for bake sales,teacher gifts or on candy platters. They are a nice change from milk or dark chocolate clusters. —Lori Bondurant, Paducah, Kentucky

Blackberry-Topped Sponge Cakes

The recipe for my blackberry cakes is easy to play with. You can replace the sponge cake with angel food, pound cake or ladyfingers. And any fruit that has liquor with the same flavor can be used. —Karen Robinson, Woodbury, Connecticut

Pine Nut Snowballs

My great aunt Commie’s Russian tea cakes, along with pine nuts and amaretto, inspired this recipe. —Christianna Gozzi, Astoria, New York

Grilled Pineapple & Maple Sundaes

This is one of our all-time favorite summer desserts. It’s easy, elegant and makes a nice light treat after a big meal. You’ve gotta try it at your next barbecue! —Sheralyn Friesen, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Raspberry-Mocha Chocolate Bark

Give classic candy bark a bit of coffee-shop sophistication with crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans. Swirls of raspberry preserves and white baking chips make it even more special. —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Meringue Roses

Eat these kid-friendly treats as is, or crush them into a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream. Readers of my blog, utry.it, went nuts when I posted that idea! —Amy Tong, Anaheim, California

Grilled Stone Fruits with Balsamic Syrup

Get ready to experience another side of stone fruits. Hot off the grill, this late-summer dessert practically melts in your mouth. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California

Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Sweet and simple, this creamy arroz con leche recipe is real comfort food in any language. You’ll love the warm raisin and cinnamon flavors. It’s great served cold, too. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California

Apple & Pecan Goat Cheese Pastries

Guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen preparing gourmet pastries. Only you will know that this recipe requires just 20 minutes of prep time and five ingredients! —Heather Foky, Howland, Ohio

Chocolate Mint Apple Fondue

This recipe is so simple to make, and kids love it. You can dip just about any fruit, bread or cookie that would taste good with chocolate. —Deb Danner, Dayton, Ohio

Chocolate Amaretti

With a hint of almond, these chewy treats are similar to those sold in Italian bakeries. My husband and children are always excited when I include these in my holiday baking lineup. —Kathy Long, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

Lemon Creme Brulee

Here’s a refreshing, tangy twist on a classic. Don’t have the kitchen torch traditionally used for creme brulee? Simply pop the ramekins under the broiler.—Sara Scheler, Helenville, Wisconsin

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