If your life is anything like mine, the coming of spring means the family calendar gets crazy.
Little League, school concerts, fundraisers, classroom celebrations. Suddenly your inbox is flooded with requests for baked goods. Don’t panic. Even if you don’t bake, you can get through this season in style, with your kitchen and sanity intact.
Here are five VIP treats that look impressive and will have kids and adults coming back for more. You’re on gluten-free duty? School has a “healthy stuff only” rule? No time to get to the grocery store? I’ve got you covered.
If you want to: Be Your Kid’s Hero
Fruity Pebble Krispie Treats
Follow the traditional recipe on the Rice Krispie box http://www.ricekrispies.com/recipes/the-original-treats but use those multi-colored and flavored fruity pebbles instead of the plain ones.
If all that artificial color freaks you out, this also works well with cocoa krispies, but has less of a wow visual factor.
Obviously, either way these are straight up sugar bombs, so cut small pieces accordingly.
Provide Something Healthy(ish)
Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Coconut
Ok, there’s still the dark chocolate. But everyone says it’s basically health food these days, so let’s roll with it.
- Melt a bag of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat with a teaspoon of coconut oil, whisking until it’ smooth.
- Remove from the heat.
- Lay a sheet of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet.
- Wash and dry the berries – you’ll have enough chocolate to dip about 30.
- Holding by the leaves, dip and swirl berries one at a time in the chocolate, so they’re coated about halfway up.
- Lay them on the paper and sprinkle with unsweetened shredded coconut.
You can keep them at room temp until the chocolate solidifies, or put them in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to speed up the process. To transport, make sure the chocolate is no longer gooey, then cover loosely with plastic wrap.
If You Need To: Get All Your Supplies at the Corner Store
Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwiches
I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood that boasts several old-fashioned corner stores. When I’m in a pinch, which is often, I rely on them for all kinds of daily necessities that seem to disappear faster than I can replenish them in my house – mainly milk, toilet paper, and hot sauce.
But I’ve also discovered that one can pull decent last-minute treats together with only corner store loot. If you have one near you and you need snacks stat, you could buy a few boxes of those weird chocolate covered donuts, or you could grab ritz crackers, peanut butter, and chocolate chips (three or four Hershey bars will work too) and make these.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring gently, until they’re smooth.
- Turn off the heat and set aside. Make 12-15 sandwiches with crackers and peanut butter, then use a fork to lower those babies one at a time into the melted chocolate until they’re coated.
- Let the excess drip off, then lay them on a piece of parchment or wax paper to firm up. You can put them in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to speed up the process.
Warning: these are highly addictive, especially to lovers of peanut butter cups.
If You Need to: Give Parents a Reason to Make it Through the 2-Hour Band Concert
The band AND the orchestra are playing? HOW many songs? Better bring some rations for the parents.
There are a million recipes for these on the internet and they’re all ridiculously easy. Here’s my version:
- Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with cooking spray.
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Whisk the following ingredients together until smooth:
- 2 cups of Nutella
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pour into the greased pan and bake for 20-24 minutes until the top has a shiny look and the edges are firm.
- Let cool in the pan completely before cutting.
These are SUPER rich so cut small squares, and don’t forget to stash a few in your bag.
If You Need to: Wow the Gluten and/or Dairy-free Crowd
Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes
Admittedly, I don’t do much gluten or dairy-free baking, but I do like having a few kick ass recipes in my pocket for when the need arises. It always makes me sad to see a gluten free or vegan kid at the bake sale table with no options. And folks with diet sensitivities simply should not to have to eat crappy baked goods.
I found this recipe on the excellent Food52 site and I looooooove it. Recipe is vegan as-is, to go gluten-free just omit the regular flour and substitute a gluten free mix.