6 indulgent dessert recipes

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these delicious treats.

Sometimes the best things really are saved for last. And that’s especially true when it comes to dessert. But don’t think you have to skimp on a delectable dish just because you’re making it yourself. 

Here are six indulgent dessert recipes you can easily make at home. Whether you’re planning a grand finish to a date-night meal, prepping for the office potluck or just in search of a midweek pick-me-up, these satisfying and simple-to-make desserts will blow away your guests—and your taste buds. 

Ultimate s’mores shake

While s’mores are typically enjoyed around a campfire, James Bailey, culinary director for Slater’s 50/50, puts a unique spin on the classic treat. He offers it in the form of a decadent, drinkable (and, if you choose, boozy) dessert that’s perfect year-round.

What you’ll need

For the shake

  • 18 ounces vanilla ice cream or soft serve
  • 1½ ounces toasted marshmallow syrup (store-bought, or follow the recipe below)
  • 2 ounces chocolate syrup
  • 4 ounces whipped cream
  • 1½ ounces marshmallow vodka (if desired)

For the garnish

  • ¼ cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1 finely crushed graham cracker
  • 5 toasted marshmallows, skewered
  • 1 prepared s’more

For the toasted marshmallow syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make it

For the syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. While the syrup is simmering, thread the marshmallows onto a metal skewer and use a kitchen torch or gas-burning stove to toast the marshmallows until golden brown. (Note: Slightly burning the marshmallows in some spots is OK.) Stir the marshmallows into the hot syrup, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the marshmallows have dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large glass. Let cool completely, and then stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the cooled syrup into glass bottles or jars with tight-fitting lids. The bottled syrup will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.

For the shake:

  1. To prep the glass, spread a 1-inch ring of marshmallow fluff around the outside rim. Roll the marshmallow-rimmed portion of the glass in finely crushed graham cracker dust. 
  2. S’more: Break one whole graham cracker in half, placing milk chocolate on one half. Toast one marshmallow and place it on the other half of the cracker; press the two halves together.
  3. In a blender, combine vanilla ice cream, toasted marshmallow syrup, 1 oz. chocolate syrup and marshmallow vodka—if you’re making an adult version. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour ice cream mixture into marshmallow and graham cracker-rimmed glass. Top with a generous portion of whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Garnish with 5 toasted marshmallows on a skewer and the prepared s’more. 
Key lime pie studded with whipped cream and a lime pinwheel

Key lime love

Bring a taste of Key West into your home. Dreamy, fresh, light and creamy—this Key lime pie recipe is the perfect way to finish any meal. A simple graham cracker crust is filled with tangy filling and then garnished with fresh Key limes and clouds of whipped cream. 

What you’ll need

For the crust

  • 2½ cups graham crackers
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter

For the filling and garnish

  • 1¼ cups cream cheese
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 Key lime for wedges
  • Whipped cream

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Add graham crackers to food processor or blender and whiz until finely crushed.
  3. Add butter to crushed graham crackers and blend well.
  4. Dump mix into 9-inch pie tin or pan. Spread evenly and press with fingers until firm to form crust.
  5. Bake 10 minutes and remove from the oven to cool.
  6. Scoop cream cheese into a large bowl. Add condensed milk, lime juice and heavy cream.
  7. Beat mixture until thick and creamy. Pour into cooled crust.
  8. Refrigerate six hours to set.
  9. Garnish with fresh lime wedges and whipped cream.
Peanut butter pie with spoons

Peanut butter obsession

If your sweet tooth has a savory side, a little peanut butter may be just what your dessert needs. The peanut butter hits salty notes while the creamy chocolate counterpoint handles the sweet side. Try out this peanut butter pie to satisfy the PB lovers at your next get-together. 

What you’ll need

For the crust

  • 1½ cups (about 15-20) chocolate wafer cookies 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt 

For the filling

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter

For the topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 4 large chocolate peanut butter cups
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter 

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pulse cookies in food processor until crumbled.
  3. Add butter, sugar and salt and process until the mix has consistency of wet sand.
  4. Spread crust mix into 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10–15 minutes until firm. Remove from oven to cool.
  5. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Set aside.
  6. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy.
  7. Add peanut butter to cream cheese mix and beat until smooth.
  8. Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mix in three batches.
  9. Spread the filling onto the cooled crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
  10. Move to topping. Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks.
  11. Cut peanut butter cups into quarters.
  12. Melt cups, chocolate chips and peanut butter in a bowl. Stir until smooth and combined.
  13. Dollop whipped heavy cream on top, and drizzle with peanut butter chocolate mix.
Red velvet layer cake with two layers of frosting

Red velvet infatuation

Nothing denotes decadence like a slice of red velvet cake. Look no further than this recipe for a moist and creamy dessert option. Red velvet originally got its name—and signature color—from the type of cocoa used when making it. This cake gets its crimson coloring from the simple addition of food coloring.

What you’ll need

For the cake:

  • 2⅔ cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 ounce liquid red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1⅓ cups buttermilk at room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

How to make it

For the cake: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Cut parchment paper to fit pan bottoms. Line pans and set aside.
  4. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Sift dry ingredients to remove any lumps of cocoa powder and set aside.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes using a stand or hand mixer.
  7. Add eggs and mix until fully combined.
  8. Add oil, food coloring, vanilla extract and vinegar. Stop to scrape down the bowl sides a few times while you mix.
  9. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and buttermilk in three stages, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix batter.
  10. Divide cake batter evenly between pans. Gently tap the pans on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
  11. Bake cake 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean.
  12. Cool 15–20 minutes, then remove from pans to finish cooling.

For the frosting:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese using an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add butter and mix for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth.
  3. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix until fully combined, remembering to scrape the sides of the bowl as you go.

For serving:

  1. Level cake tops by slicing to form even tops. 
  2. Place one cake layer on cake stand or plate.
  3. Top with half of the frosting and smooth it into an even layer.
  4. Place second cake layer on top.
  5. Use remaining frosting for the top of the cake.
Strawberry granita garnished with mint

Strawberry granita greatness

Of course, everyone loves ice cream. But if you can’t swing sorbet, give your guests satisfying strawberry granita. This is a versatile and forgiving recipe. Play around by substituting for the strawberries. Go with whatever berries look best at the farmers market—or whatever is growing in your home garden. 

What you’ll need

  • 2 pounds ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Pinch salt
  • Mint or basil for garnish

How to make it

  1. Rinse and drain berries.
  2. Transfer berries to blender. Add sugar, water, salet, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar (if using).
  3. Pulse and blend until smooth—about 1 minute.
  4. Pour into large baking dish.
  5. Place dish uncovered in the freezer until edges start to freeze.
  6. Using a fork, stir crystals from the edge into the center.
  7. Chill until granita is nearly frozen—about 30 to 40 more minutes. 
  8. Mix lightly with a fork, scraping the crystals loose.
  9. Repeat freezing and stirring three or four more times until the granita is light and crystals are separated. Granita should look dry and fluffy.
  10. Add to serving bowls. Garnish with berries and basil or mint before serving.
Chocolate mousse garnished with berries and chocolate shavings

Chocolate indulgence

Chocolate lovers, rejoice. This chocolate mousse is the dessert you’ve been waiting for. The addition of fresh berries gives it a fruity finish. And shaved chocolate adds a textural counterpoint. It’ll be difficult for any chocolate enthusiast to say no to this light and dreamy recipe. 

What you’ll need

  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • Whipped cream
  • 1 cup berries—whatever is in season and available—including blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

How to make it

  1. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt slowly, stopping every 15 to 20 seconds to stir and prevent scorching. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler and stir until melted. 
  2. Beat heavy cream over ice until it forms peaks. Set aside at room temperature. 
  3. Separate egg whites—reserving yolks for another use—and whip in mixer with heavy cream. Slowly add sugar.
  4. Fold egg white mixture into chocolate.
  5. Transfer to serving dishes. 
  6. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Garnish with berries and chocolate shavings before serving.

No matter what you serve for dinner, don’t feel like you have to cut corners when it comes to the sweet stuff. These indulgent desserts can help take meals to new heights. And best of all, you don’t need to be a pastry chef to make them.

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