HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Happy Little Kid Desserts

Remember when you were a kid, and dessert time was the best time? What did your parents make that you still make today?? Whether it's a family recipe, or from a box or the freezer doesn't matter, what matters is that it's part of your past! Mine are Pepperidge Farms apple turnovers, strawberry shortcake made with store-bought shortcakes, cut up strawberries sprinkled with sugar, so they made a syrup, and canned whipped cream, and brownies with dark bitter frosting made from Hershey Cocoa. Still eat all three. What are yours?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My mom and my uncle always made strawberry shortcakes with Bisquick biscuits. We still do this every strawberry season--and not just for dessert! In season, we might eat this as breakfast, lunch or dinner. :)

    Going out for DQ has never lost its childhood appeal, either. We used to walk on "field trips" there from day camp (needed a permission slip to go) and to this day I order the same thing: small hot fudge sundae with caramel and whipped cream. Only difference, back in the 70s and 80s it was butterscotch sauce instead of caramel. And I just had one of these on Sunday afternoon! :)

    I also still make Nanny's Oatmeal Cookies (think her recipe was from the Quaker Oats canister)--with M&Ms, just as she did. I usually make them on holidays, but sometimes do just when the spirit moves me.

    Fun topic--I look forward to going down memory lane with everyone.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kattyeyes

      "Going out for DQ has never lost its childhood appeal, either. "
      it was a sad, sad day in my childhood when our local DQ closed. personally i preferred the butterscotch "shell" topping instead of sauce, and always in a cone :)

      i'm pretty sure my mother has never baked anything in her entire life (except perhaps refrigerated slice & bake cookies)...so any really good dessert memories for us involved things purchased at stores or restaurants. faves in addition to DQ were Carvel birthday cakes or flying saucers (or a Chipwich from the HS cafeteria when i was older), and ice cream cakes or pies from Friendly's.

      and of course, there was "chocolate soup" - a bowl of chocolate ice cream placed in the toaster oven to "cook" (though the heat was never turned on) until it melted a bit...then stirred until it felt like my little arm would fall off and the ice cream had been transformed into a smooth, soupy bowl of chocolaty deliciousness.

      clearly we're an ice cream family :)

      oh, and on the rare occasion when my mom would buy a canister of whipped cream (usually intended for topping Jell-O), my favorite thing was to make a sandwich of two Archway Dutch Cocoa cookies with Reddi-Wip as the filling.

      1. re: kattyeyes

        kattyeyes, the strawberry shortcake with Bisquick is my daughter's go-to birthday cake (of course she had to be born in a month when strawberries in my locale are most expensive!)

        And she insists I make enough (after whatever party gathering we have) for her to be able to have the strawberry shortcake for breakfast. And best of all, she shares!


        1. re: cayjohan

          What a great birthday cake! And strawberry season's not too far off. :)

      2. My fond memory of my Mother's dessert is pretty simple. Plain ole Jello. Well, not quite plain. She would make about 3 different colours and cut them into cubes and mix them together in a bowl. No phony whipped cream, just Jello. Oh, the childhood memories. :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: billieboy

          "Watch it wiggle...see it jiggle...smooth and fruity...Jell-O brand gelatin. Of all desserts you'll love the one that tastes so light and makes such fun. Make Jell-O gelatin and make some fun!"

        2. Oh, rhubarb pie! I rarely make it, not being a big sweets eater anymore, but man-oh-man, was that the ne plus ultra of desserts! My late Mom had a touch with it that topped all other sweets, and her meringue was perfect. I would love a piece of that pie again. Mine just never seems to hit all the high notes.


          1. Floating Island
            Baked Alaska (my preferred birthday cake)

            My mom used to make a cake in a jelly roll pan, kind of a dense yellow cake that she scooped blobs of cherry pie filling onto. When baked, the cake puffed up around the filling. We called it Cherry Squares (you cut it into squares after baking) and it was the favorite bake sale treat at my house.

            1. Strawberry Shortcake
              The store-bought yellow shortcakes soaked with non-fat milk, then some sliced strawberries (that I would choke down since I didn't like them, but didn't think I could have "strawberry shortcake" without them), then Reddi-Whip. -- chew and swallow strawberries quickly, then mash cake with whipped cream to make a soup of sorts... mmmm.

              I wasn't much of an eater, and no more than my mother was a cook. I do fondly remember tho rice krispie treats that my Mom made for a period of time, until we burned out.

              We also occasionally got Cannolis from Viktor Benes'/Gelson's, but sadly they don't make these anymore.

              1. Both my mother and grandmother are/were pretty accomplished bakers and desserts were always around (although neither of them actually did eat them).
                * Cozonac - which is loosely the Romanian version of the panettone was a family project on Christmas and Easter
                * My sister's birthday cake - a fruit tart with different kind of berries and vanilla cream
                * Schumeke (sp?) was a neighbor's almost flourless cake - lots of cocoa, butter, walnuts
                * Coltunasi - loosely resembling ravioli, typically filled with sour cherries or sweet farmer's cheese
                My attempts to replicate any of these have failed miserably every time, but I persevere...

                And then there was the pistachio ice cream from the street corner in this dry, almost inedible cone that all the kids in the neighborhood, including myself absolutely loved....

                1. Chocolate pudding poured into little ramekinds lined with vanilla wafers...sigh. Mom wasn't much of a cook, but we could clean just about any dinner plate if we knew these were dessert.

                  1. Good topic :) Neither of my parents baked much...the only scratch dessert I can remember are chocolate pudding and baked (too dry for my liking these days) rice pudding. If there was whipping cream to be had it was from the carton not a can, but usually it was Dream Whip. I only ever remember Angel Food cake from the grocery store bakery...Otherwise my folks made minute tapioca, jello was a sweet as well as savory item (think jello salad)but then this was the 70s.

                    That being said I still like rice pudding...but my version isn't baked and these days I make my own angel food cakes and use real whipped cream. I still have a soft spot (and a spot in my cupboard) for Minute Tapioca :)

                    1. My mom made brownies a lot. Sometimes she'd scatter mini marshmallows and chocolate chips on top when they came out of the oven, cover with foil and let the topping melt. Heaven!

                      She also made cookies that my 33 year old self still calls "mudpie cookies". They were chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. Other people put coconut in theirs, but not my mom. I hated coconut.

                      Another favourite was brownie pudding. It was one of those self-saucing cakes: make the batter and put in a pan, then make a brown sugar sauce, pour over top and bake. The sauce would sink through the batter to form a puddingy goodness on the bottom. Oh, yum.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Blush

                        In our house, that was "baked chocolate pudding." That and fruit crisps were the only mid-week desserts my mom made - otherwise it was ice cream and Voortman's cookies after dinner. But when she would decide to whip up a baked chocolate pudding on a whim, I thought she was truly magical...I mean Real Dessert...ON A WEDNESDAY??? Seriously, that takes superpowers. None of my friends' moms did that.

                        She also made amazing pies on Sundays, but I wasn't big on fruit desserts as a kid. I missed out on a LOT of great pie growing up. But Grandma's house on the other hand...she was an old-school German who believed there was something morally wrong with ever being caught without cookies in the house. So when I didn't go for her (equally amazing) pies, she was always able to pull a couple of homemade chocolate-containing cookies out of the freezer for me. I still have a sentimental attachment to ice-cold cookies.

                        1. re: Wahooty

                          <<she was an old-school German who believed there was something morally wrong with ever being caught without cookies in the house.>>

                          I love--and abide by--this philosophy. Cheers/cookies to Grandma! ;)

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            I would like to think that when I have kids/grandkids I'll be just like her in this regard. I aspire to be one of those people who can say, "you never know when you'll have a child in the house, and you'd darned well better have a cookie for them." I have no doubt I'll be able to do it as a grandma...doing it as a mom will be tougher. :)

                      2. Dad would bring home an item from the local bakery, it was ran by an old man and his wife from Vienna, neighborhood place not real fancy or expensive. We would have that and Iced coffee for dessert. That place is long gone and so are those wonderful days.

                        1. my dad would stew apples for us i always thought it was sooo special and still do when he cooks them (im 17 so go home a lot) and also grilled bananas yum just split down the middle and grilled with no embelishments (ok ocassionally ice cream) when i feel out of sorts those always make me better.
                          and the only boxed dessert my mum would buy or sweet processed anything for that matter was nanna apple pies (who knows why?) so i will always have a soft spot for those too ;-)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: umbushi plum

                            your dad's stewed apples make me think of the pseudo-baked apples my mom would make for dessert whenever she was on a diet...place a few cored apples in a baking dish, pour in a couple of cans of Diet Coke, sprinkle with cinnamon, and microwave until soft. oy.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              ha, wow stewed in diet coke thats great and funny, my parents weren't on diets (i think) but my dad was a doctor and he was (is) overly health concious, but he added cinnamon too, he was old school though did it on the stove in a pot, ;-)

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I think it's an old Weight Watcher trick/recipe, because my Mom did it too. She would fill the cored out hallow with cinnamon but she preferred to use Diet Black Cherry soda. I never saw it microwaved. It smelled good but tasted kinda 'off' to me.

                                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                  "It smelled good but tasted kinda 'off' to me."
                                  ditto. i could never get excited about it. i'd say maybe certain kinds of soda worked better than others, but IIRC she tried it with everything from Tab to Diet Dr. Pepper, and they were all a little funky to me.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    i have a friend who does this, except she uses Ginger Ale (yech - but i can see how someone who likes ginger might like this), Diet Shasta (grapefruit flavor), or Diet Sprite. She cores and fills the core with raisins or dates and/or nuts, along with cinnamon and vanilla.

                            2. Jello pistachio pudding! My mom had fancy little dessert cups to serve it in. I thought it was the greatest thing ever.

                              1. Ditto on chocolate and/or rice pudding.
                                Baked apples with loads of cinnamon & maple syrup
                                Homemade applesauce
                                Icebox cake (vanilla & choc pudding with graham crackers between the layers)
                                Jello Ice Cream mold (usually black raspberry)
                                Coffee ice cream floats
                                Frozen rootbeer ices
                                Homemade candied apples
                                and if we were really good Mom would set up a ice cream bar with various toppings, whipped cream and let us build our own sundae's.

                                Thanks for those memories, Mom!!

                                1. Jello ~~ loved it with sliced bananas in it, but Mom would sometimes put canned fruit cocktail in, and not my favorite. I loved it with canned reddi whip on top, still do.

                                  Mom made chocolate pudding, and to this day I love it, but not the instant kind, must be jello cooked pudding.

                                  We had a Dairy Queen too, mmmmmm.
                                  And a Twin Kiss (1/2 and 1/2 vanilla/chocolate)

                                  Mom did not bake, neither did Dad ~~ but Aunt Esther did. Apple pie.

                                  My BFF mother made (OMG) RED VELVET CAKE.

                                  We had neopolitan (strawberry/chocolate/vanilla) ice cream.

                                  We'd go to a family reunion on the 4th of July and someone would always make this cherry /cream cheese/graham cracker fantasy.

                                  But most of all, we would go to diners on our Sunday Drives and I would always always order Boston Cream Pie.

                                  1. a mention of Neapolitan ice cream reminded me of another, very situation-specific one. Mom would buy us a carton of frozen rainbow sherbet whenever we were sick or had a sore throat.

                                    and there were *always* boxes of Fudgesicles & Creamsicles in the freezer.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      goodh, you gave me a big smile. I've been nursing a cold all week and my go to for sore throat symptoms has been frozen raspberry sherbert. Still works great!

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        my favorite flavors were lime & orange (i used to combine the orange with vanilla ice cream to create my own creamsicle flavor). enjoy, have a scoop for me too, and feel better!

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          thanks, goodh! Food heal thy self this week!

                                    2. angel food cake with strawberries
                                      berry pie
                                      pineapple upside-down cake
                                      sugar cookies
                                      this frozen strawberry dessert thing my mom made in a brownie pan that had a crushed nut topping-- loved it, never seen it outside my house-- i don't make this because i don't know how
                                      swedish cream
                                      root beer floats
                                      apple pies, crisps, & crumbles
                                      chocolate mousse (okay i don't make that anymore either)

                                      1. Stopping at Dairy Queen was the best - we could either have a Mr Misty (Raspberry for me, Lime for my sister) or an ice cream cone.

                                        Strawberry shortcakes with Bisquick biscuits - I still make them this way but with real whipped cream and LOTS of it.

                                        Mr CF's grandmother used to make a German Chocolate Cake for his birthday using the recipe from the Baker's German Chocolate wrapper. I make it for him now since she passed away in 1988.

                                        1. Friendly's watermelon roll

                                          My nana would always have ice cream that was a vanilla/coffee/orange sherbet combo...yummy.

                                          My neighbor made the best snickerdoodles.

                                          Monkey bread.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: rizzo0904

                                            Oh monkey bread is a big fav with my children! They get credit for turning their Mom (me) onto this sugary snack. My daughter's version includes sliced bananas inbetween the layers of dough and sweetness. Very comforting and quick when they have friends over.