Think you're too busy for dessert during the week? Think again with these easy no-bake desserts.
There are days when a piece of fruit for dessert just isn't going to cut it. When you have a serious sweet tooth or it's just too hot to turn on the oven, keep a few foolproof recipes for easy no-bake desserts ready to go. They are quick to whip up and since there's no cooking involved, they are perfect for little hands to help prepare.
No-bake recipes are also a great way to get your kids involved without worrying about a hot stove or having to wait for the oven to preheat. Kids can still do all their usual helping tasks, though. Tina Chambers, the baker behind Sugar Bean Bakers says, "From the time my son was small, he loved rolling items for me. He helps me with cookie dough, cake balls, buckeyes and more." Nicole Ramage Whitfield, a baking school graduate, the author of "5 O'Clock Somewhere Cupcakes" and a blogger at I Heart Food, loves to whip up no-bake desserts with her preschooler. Ramage Whitfield says, "Easy no-bake desserts are great for busy families because you can make them and forget about them."
There are a variety of tasks for kids in the kitchen. Even 2- and 3-year-olds are able to squeeze citrus using a plastic juicer, roll balls of dough and stir ingredients. School-age children are able to crack eggs, grease pans, use a zester and chop fruit, though an adult should still supervise.
Here are eight easy no-bake desserts to satisfy last-minute cravings for sweets:
- Buckeye Bites
This Sugar Bean Bakers recipe for buckeye bites is the perfect combination of salty and sweet with peanut butter, pretzels and chocolate. "I love this recipe because the kids can get really hands on -- even little guys," says Chambers. "They can lay out the pretzels, roll the peanut butter filling and top with the second pretzel. Mom or Dad can handle the hot chocolate dipping. This can be done assembly line fashion with several people, too. It's family fun time!"
- No-Bake Cookies
Ramage Whitfield says no-bake cookies are her favorite, but warns they usually contain peanut butter, so they aren't a good option for families with nut allergies. These chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies from Food Network come together in 10 minutes, but you'll need to let them cool before digging in. For a nut-free version, try these chocolate oatmeal cookies from Sugar-Free Mom, which use coconut butter as the base.
- Cannoli Cones
Make a quick cannoli filling and pipe (or spoon!) it into ice cream cones instead of cannoli shells with cannoli cones recipe from Created by Diane.
- Frozen Bananas
What's simpler than tossing some fruit in the freezer? These frozen banana popsicles from Skinnytaste puts banana halves on sticks, dips them in chocolate and then adds sprinkles. Toss them in the freezer to harden before gobbling up this healthier frozen dessert. Shredded coconut, sprinkles or rice cereal are also kid-friendly toppings.
- Strawberries and Cream Parfaits
Chambers takes a few minutes to cook pudding for her strawberries and cream parfaits, but sticking with instant makes it a true no-bake dessert. "I really like this one because it can be made totally from scratch or you can make it all with mixes and premade items," she says.
- Lemon Cheesecake
You only need three ingredients to make the filling for this lemon cheesecake from Cookies or Biscuits?. It's easy enough for kids to whip up all on their own with supervision, and they'll have a blast smashing the cookies for the crust.
- Ice Cream Treasures
Ice cream is the classic when it comes to easy no-bake desserts! This Cooking Light recipe for ice cream bars elevates the classic cold dessert with a crunch topping made from a mixture of cereal, coconut and nuts.
- Chocolate Peppermints
Banish bad breath after a garlicky dinner with these cute chocolate peppermint bites from She Wears Many Hats. Four ingredients are all you need, and asking your kids help fill the cups with melted chocolate will speed up the process.
No-bake desserts are quick and simple enough to make on busy weeknights, but they are also a great family activity for those relaxing weekends at home. Either way, there's something yummy to eat at the end of it.
Want more delicious dessert ideas? Try these 7 Easy Dessert Recipes for Kids.
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a busy full-time working mom with a big sweet tooth. She loves no-bake cheesecakes and whipping up "ice cream" out of frozen bananas in the blender.