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Everyday Desserts

Hi all,

I'm trying to come up with some new ideas for everyday desserts. After dinner I want something sweet, something more dessert-y than plain fruit but that I won't feel too bad about eating every day. Of course the foodie in me wants it to be interesting, too.

What are your favorite not-TOO-unhealthy treats? It would be great if they're either simple to put together or can be made ahead in a batch of several servings.

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  1. My mother-in-law made this dessert--last for a few days in a sealed tupperware.
    Blend together yogurt and cottage cheese with some sugar (icing sugar works best), lemon rind, a few spoons of lemon juice, and a packet of gelatin (prepared with half the water). Chill and serve with fresh fruit.

    1. I suggest you watch the current Jacques Pepin series on PBS Create. Most of his desserts are fruit-based; all are easy and quick to prepare.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        I was just thinking that too. I saw Jacques make a very simple pear tart on TV last night. First he put some melted buter on a silpat and sprinkled some sugar over it. Then he dipped a flour tortilla in the mixture and turned it over. He peeled and sliced some pears and put those on top and sprinkled some sugar on them before baking in the oven. When the tart was done, he put some apricot jam on top as a glaze. Pretty simple and it looked very nice when it was done.

      2. Apple Brown Betty
        Blueberry or apple, peach,pear, strawberry-rhubarb) Crisps (or any combo thereof)
        Peach Cobbler
        Plum Clafouti
        Pears poached in red/white wine with cloves...
        Tapioca with strawberry coulis
        Chocolate pudding- to a mix add 'good' chocolate and heavy cream...almost mousse!)
        Marscapone or Ricotta Puddings (simple cheese custards) with fruit topping
        Cafe Gelee (leftover strong coffee, jelled-top with whipped cream/ chocolate shavings)
        Rice Pudding (add cinnamon, cumin, pepper and ground cloves to taste)

        1. I like a cream puff shell (they keep a while stored in the freezer) filled with gelato and drizzled with Hershey's syrup. Okay, what I really like is a cream puff filled with ice cream topped with whipped cream and homemade fudge sauce, but that doesn't quite fit the "not-too-unhealthy" bill.....

          1. apple or peach or berry crisp
            ricotta with good honey
            chocolate zucchini cake

            1. Easy, easy chocolate cups.
              Chocolate Cups

              serves 6


              1 1/3 cups milk (I actually used 1%, and it held together)
              2 eggs
              2 cups semi sweet chocolate morsels
              4 tablespoons sugar
              pinch salt
              whipped cream (optional)
              berries (optional)

              Place milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place chocolate, eggs, sugar and salt in a blender and blend until mixed well. With the blender on low, slowly and carefully, pour the boiled milk through the small hole in the top of the blender cover. Increase speed to high and blend thoroughly.

              Pour mixture into 6 serving cups and place the cups on a baking sheet. Refrigerate to cool and set, at least 3 hours. If making a day ahead, cover each serving with plastic wrap to preserve freshness and avoid picking up odors.

              Serve with whipped cream and sweetened berries.

              1. Take 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water. Heat just to boiling to dissolve sugar. Add shredded herbs like mint, anise hyssop or something like that. Or vanilla pods. Let steep. Then strain out the herbs (or not).

                Pour over fresh fruit like strawberries, peaches, nectarines . . . .

                I also just saw a variation somewhere, maybe epicurious, that used star anise, ginger and cardamom and was poured over clementines or oranges.

                Here's a link to that one.


                Seems like the variations are endless.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: karykat

                    I tried the epicurious one which was not bad but I actually like a version from Nick Malgeiri that uses just a simple syrup combined with orange zest with whole oranges which are lightly poached----very clean and fresh tasting compared to the spiced version.

                    Also I just had a great fruit salad from cooking light which was pineapple, mango, kiwi and strawberry combined with a simple syrup infused with basil and mint---very nice.

                  2. Chilled Fruit Soups with or without wine
                    Handmade 8-Minute Marmalades served hot over good French vanilla Ice Cream. I particularly like Limon - made with one lemon and one lime...

                    1. I know this is not foody, but I like eating Cocoa Crispys or any other sugary cereal that I don't let myself eat for breakfast. I get my chocolate fix and a crunchy fix, and a healthy dose of milk or soymilk. Also, chocolate chip cookies. Make a batch of cookie dough, scoop them by the tablespoon, then freeze them. You can pop however many you want in the oven whenever you want. Stick a glass in the freezer while the cookies are baking and then you will have a icy cold glass ready for milk once the cookies are done.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kristyn

                        Thats a really good idea (the one about the frozen individual cookies---semi on the Captain Crunch). So how long do you stick them in the oven for it they are frozen? same temperature as if they were thawed?

                        1. re: LJS

                          I do this too and put them frozen into the oven. I add a minute or two onto the baking time..

                      2. Ladyfingers with whipped cream & berries
                        Grilled pineapple slices
                        Grilled peaches with buttermilk ice cream
                        Jasmine rice made with coconut milk & served with mango
                        Jello ice cream
                        Pudding (chocolate, rice, butterscotch)
                        Sometimes the kids & I made chocolate lollipops for dessert

                        1. Everything in moderation...I make brownies with Ghiradelli chocolate and espresso

                          1. Fruit crisps and crumbles take 10 minutes max prep. Good, sweet as you like, and healthy.

                            1. Any stone fruits (peaches are my favorite), broiled with a bit of butter and brown sugar, are just delicious and not too heavy! Wonderful plain or with vanilla ice cream, or even just a splash of cream or half and half. Mmmmm...

                              Yesterday I made a really nice and not-too-sweet gingerbread that's equally good for breakfast or a snack or with tea. It's pretty rustic and made with half whole-wheat flour, so it has a spicy earthiness that's just the ticket in the evening IMO.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                I make brownies. Use brownie mix, substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil, egg beaters for eggs, brewed coffee for water (if called for) and add a handful or so of chocolate chips. Follow the directions on the mix for baking.

                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                  I was going to say broiled peaches too! With a splash of amaretto makes them even better.

                                  I also haven't tried, but have heard about "ambrosia" (Southern version, no marshmallows): just fresh grated coconut and orange slices.

                                2. Rice/Barley Pudding - mix cottage cheese, cooked brown rice/barley with drip of two of the cooking liquid, sweetener, cinnamon, and vanilla, then nuke in micro til gooey (i use fat free cottage cheese and stevia, but it's whatever you like)

                                  Stewed Rhubarb - cook in water with sweetener; i will toss in vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks depending what i have on hand; then serve with 0% total or, skim sour cream or plain yogurt or fro yo...

                                  Meringues - egg whites beaten to soft peaks with cream of tartar and salt, then beat in sweetener once til stiff peaks; dollop onto baking sheet and bake - can either do it at 350 and will produce a chewier inside or for longer at 200 to produce a dry crisp meringue

                                  Pavlova is another easy healthy one

                                  Fruit and cream cheese dip -- mix non or low fat cream cheese (softened) with a little Earth Balance, sweetener and vanilla, serve with graham crackers and fruit

                                  Whole Wheat Bunuelos - take whole wheat La Tortilla Factory tortillas, sprinkle with water, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and nuke in the micro until the tortilla bubbles up and gets crispy... or slice into wedges and bake instead of nuking.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Emme

                                    Great ideas.

                                    Sometimes I put a blob of greek yogurt on some fruit and then put some palm sugar over it (or brown sugar) or a little bit of honey.

                                  2. Are there any good wine sauce recipes to put with fruit? Or something like that? Seems like there must be some good ideas for that kind of thing. Would kind of dress up fruit a bit.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: karykat

                                      I have never tasted Sauternes,which are a type of dessert wine, but if I'm not mistaken they are made from over-ripe, botrytized grapes, as is Tokaji Aszu, which I do like. It is Hungarian, and the more stars ("puttonos") on the bottle, the more expensive it is.
                                      It tastes like golden raisins (I love golden, hate regular raisins). I use it as is, or mixed with honey and apple cider, as the stewing liquid for dried-and-fresh fruit compote. Most often this will be fresh, firm pears like Bosc, and firm apples (peel, core, slice) plus dried apricots and prunes. I do this in the microwave in a covered dish. Once the fresh fruit is tender, take it out and stir in some golden raisins (which would swell too much if cooked the whole time). The astringency of the wine counters the sweetness of the compote, giving it an elegant, adult flavor.

                                      Many liqueurs, with the alcohol cooked off, would be wonderful with fruit. Think amaretto, framboise, hazelnut liqueur.

                                    2. Dessert a la Jungmann: Take a glass. Pour in Porto. Serve at room temperature.

                                      If I want to get more involved, I'll do stovetop desserts like a quick cornstarch-based pudding (think haupia or chocolate) or an interestingly flavored panna cotta (like rose or cardamom).

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        Ha. Love this. This would be a good recipe for greygarious' Tokaji Aszu as well!

                                        1. re: JungMann


                                          Alternate, slightly less-classy version: after dinner, wonder if you might like something sweet. Pour a beer. Drink. Repeat. Realize you no longer care about dessert but finish off the packet of chocolate bikkies anyway.

                                        2. Full fat or low fat unflavored yogurt - add honey, cinnamon and a little vanilla. You can also add chopped nuts or chocolate chips or chopped apples. Very tasty and pretty much guilt free.

                                          1. Drunken Strawberries

                                            1-1/2 pints strawberries, hulled and halved
                                            1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
                                            1/4 cup bourbon or rum
                                            1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
                                            1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

                                            Stire together ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled on its own, or over ice cream or pound cake (especially good over toasted pound cake).


                                            Grandma Moses' Gingerbread

                                            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

                                            1 cup sugar
                                            2 T. molasses
                                            2 T. butter
                                            2 T. lard (I use 4T. butter and it comes out fine)
                                            1 t. baking soda
                                            1/2 t. ground ginger
                                            1/2 t. ground cloves
                                            pinch of salt
                                            2 cups flour
                                            1 egg
                                            1 cup sour cream

                                            Beat ingredients together and bake in 9-inch pans for 30 minutes at 350.

                                            REALLY good with fresh whipped cream!!

                                            1. I love a piece of (homemade) whole wheat bread with butter and (homemade) jam for dessert (so much I would be willing to skip the dinner, sometimes!)