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Cooking For Highschoolers?

Any suggestions? My high-school age sister is having a potluck-style banquet tomorrow night & has asked me to make a dessert for her to bring. There's no food "theme" (the event itself is the 80s).
The only problem is deciding what to make. She's told me "nothing fancy", but, when I asked her what was considered informal enough, she just said "none of your gourmet crap".

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  1. My mother often made a dessert called "Dirt Cake" back when I was in high school (early 90s) - it was VERY popular with my agemates, and absolutely NOT gourmet. Basically, it's crushed Oreos layered with pudding and Cool Whip. Here's a recipe - I think my mom used half chocolate pudding for more visual interest in the layers. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dirt-cak...

    5 Replies
      1. re: splatgirl

        LOL! There is just something about this dessert that screams 1980s to me!

      2. re: biondanonima

        I second the Dirt Cake. My daughter always took it to school parties. Kids and adults really enjoy it. Never any leftovers

        1. re: biondanonima

          Chocolaty with minimum effort - I like it. Thanks. :)

          1. re: biondanonima

            Forgot to mention in my pp that when my mother made dirt cake, she put Kahlua in it. No wonder the high schoolers loved it. Pretty sure she'd get arrested for that today....

          2. Something with some kitsch like dirt cake or that Robert Redford dessert?
            Wait...would they know who Robert Redford is?

            Ho ho cake? Cupcakes? Pretty hard to go wrong with teenagers and sugar.

            1 Reply
            1. re: splatgirl

              Change the name to better than "Brad Pitt" or better than Robert Pattinson (the guy from Twilight). They'll get it. But a very good suggestion.

            2. Try Dorie Greenspan's chipster topped brownies (chocolate chip cookie dough baked over brownie batter. Huge hit w/ that crowd.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowser

                How could it not be? That sounds delicious (and I'm not even a dessert fiend).

              2. How about a make-your-own-ice-cream-sundae bar? You could provide homemade hot fudge sauce, wet walnuts, brownies, whipped cream, and a few great ice creams.

                1. When my son's HS friends come for dinner, ice cream sandwiches made with homemade chocolate chip cookies are a huge hit. I put a scoop of softened vanilla Hagan Dazs vanilla ice cream on one cookie, and then press the other one on top. If you press a little harder, you can roll the edges in mini chocolate chips. Wrap the ice cream sandwiches in plastic wrap, and freeze until hard.

                  1. How about a Dump Cake?

                    EASY DUMP CAKE

                    1 (20 ounces) can crushed pineapple, undrained
                    1 (21 ounces) can prepared more fruit cherry pie filling
                    1 (18.25 ounces) box yellow cake mix
                    2 sticks (1 cup or 16 Tablespoons) of butter or margarine, each cut into 12 slices
                    1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts pistachios, cashews, peanuts, etc., your choice)
                    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for glass baking dish). Have a 9 by 13-inch baking pan ready.

                    Dump undrained pineapple baking dish or pan and spread it out evenly.

                    Using a spoon, dump globs of cherry pie filling evenly on top of the pineapple.

                    Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the cherry and pineapple layers.

                    Cut butter into slices with a butter knife and place slices evenly over cake mix.

                    Sprinkle nuts on top if you're using them.

                    Bake for one hour. Use heavy oven mitts to remove the dump cake from oven or let your older helper do it.

                    To serve, scoop cake out with a large spoon like a cobbler, and dump it on a nice plate. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is delicious with dump cake. Serve warm or cold.
                    If you have one of those big, oval, blue (black) enamale roasting pans you can

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: grampart

                      Oh my. I 'came of age' in the 60s and my mother made that frequently. IIRC, we loved it!

                      1. re: grampart

                        I was going to recommend that. Way to go!

                      2. Plate of cookies, her choice of flavor.

                        "I am making cookies, what kind do you want?"

                        1. Apple cobbler...just like in the Swanson Fried Chicken Dinners!

                          1. whoopie pies! Just made huge batch for some kids that age and they were devoured.

                            And can I say you are a bigger person than I would be if my neice ever asked me to do something for her (that she should be doing her self!) and then called my food "crap". Needless to say I would not be making anything....

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: foodieX2

                              That actually sounds like a good idea.

                              (Also, the child orders her steak well done - I never take offense when she offers her sentiments on food, as, good taste can hardly be accounted for. However, I don't think anything really fancy or flavor rich would go over well if her crowd is anything akin to her, which they are.)

                              Thanks. :)

                              1. re: foodieX2

                                That is what I thought then I saw it was her sister and realized Mine would speak similarly to me. Not sure why she isn't making it herself.

                              2. "None of your gourmet crap"???

                                How 'bout a big tub of Cool Whip and three dozen spoons?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ricepad

                                  Please, for her sake, don't tempt me.

                                2. These S'Mores Cookie Bars are great. I bring them to a super bowl party every year and people rave about them.


                                  1. My high school age daughter would love your gourmet "crap," I'm sure, but I think many of her peers would go for biondanonima's dirt cake. Also, consider brownies or lemon bars. Every time I bring those to a school function, they are gone in seconds. You can even use Nick's Supernatural Brownie recipe--it's the best.

                                    1. I love dirt cake! Fruit pizza is always good--sugar cookie crust, a swipe of frosting, topped with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis.

                                      1. Brownies. You absolutely cannot go wrong with brownies.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Querencia

                                          S'more brownies-once the brownies come out of the oven top with mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and fine ground graham crackers crumbs and place under the broiler until the marshmallows toast-keep the oven door open and watch the toasting action-it's quick!

                                          Rice Krispie Nut treats with a chocolate glaze. Prepare the batch cut into squares and top dip into melted chocolate then dip in crushed nuts.

                                          Or my recent favorite, Ferrero Rocher stuffed brownies: http://becca-bakes.com/home/ferrero-r...

                                        2. HS kid might even eat DIRT?? KISS! If kids have a taste for things or not... doubt you could go wrong with a bread pudding?? Easy, no frills and hard to mess up!?!

                                            1. My suggestion is No-Bake Cookies, here is a the basic recipe: http://dessert.food.com/recipe/no-bak...

                                              Loved these when I was growing up, sometimes they would sell them in school cafe, everyone went crazy for them!

                                              1. Fruit salad. My high school aged son would love the brownies but most of the girls and some boys I know that age are interested in more healthy food.

                                                1. if not brownies or those s'mores bars, honestly, Rice Krispie Treats would go over well... Make some with different cereals. Drizzle some with chocolate, some with white chocolate, etc. Heck, make s'mores ones with chocolate chips and graham cracker pieces.

                                                  or go really banal, make cupcakes. they're individual servings, and unfortunately, disgustingly in... still.

                                                  1. My vegetarian friend made an interesting desert one time with chopped green apples, whipped cream, chopped snikers bars and peanuts (I think that's all that was in it, there might have been cream cheese blended with the whipped cream too). It looked goofy but was surprisingly good.

                                                    This recipe uses pudding in it:


                                                    Buckeyes or truffles are easy to make and eat too:



                                                    1. Make sure they are serving Tater Tot Hot Dish.

                                                      Not a dessert but everytime i make this for a group it gets devoured.

                                                        1. re: LaLa

                                                          I ended up rummaging through my pantry & found I had everything to make cupcakes, so, I made white cupcakes with a peanut butter, chocolate chip icing (that included vanilla sandwich cookie "chunks"). It was a bigger hit than the Chipsters & Dirt Cake (which I also made), surprisingly enough.

                                                          Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! It really helped. :)