I have a work dinner to attend on Thursday night, and I've promised to bring a dessert. What to bring? A weeknight baking project needs to be simple, involve ingredients that already exist in the fridge and pantry (or can be gotten with just the quickest of trips in and out of the store), and provide maximum results with minimum effort. A few ideas come to mind:
1) Rice Krispie Treats. Yes, my friends, an oldie but a goodie. I can't even remember the last time I made these, but doesn't the gooey, simple goodness sound so appealing? When we had friends over for dinner recently, talk turned to favorite and long-forgotten cereals, and I suddenly had a vision of that brilliant invention of the late 90s, Rice Krispie Treats Cereal. One of my favorite family vacation memories is of one of my sister's and me eating an entire box of these at midnight in Cape Cod, in front of the Saturday Night Live's Best of Chris Farley, laughing until we cried. Good stuff. Ever since that conversation, I've been itching to make these. And what could be easier?
2) Classic Brownies Cockaigne from the Joy of Cooking. These are made from scratch, but are still simple and make it from bowl to oven in about a half an hour; not too shabby or overly ambitious for a Wednesday. I like to take them out of the oven before they are completely cooked, as they retain an irresistible gooeyness this way. Only problem is, they may never make it out of the house. They are that good. I have been baking these brownies since high school and still am not sure how to pronounce that c-word, by the way.
3) Ina's Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars I've been wanting to try and make these for ever. How gorgeous are they? What's more, both the hostess of this shindig and I are confessed peanut butter addicts, so these are sure to be a hit, even if she and I just sit around and eat them ourselves. However, Ina can sometimes be a not-so-much-of-a-weeknight-chef kind of a recipe writer. The woman lives sans children in an East Hampton manse with no-doubt a boatload of hired help. It is her job to flit around her stunning, spotless, black and white kitchen crafting delicious yet complex baked bars. It is my job to work at my actual job, and to feed and play with my son, and converse with the husband in the evening, not break a sweat dropping globs of peanut butter on pre-made dough. These may have to wait for a Sunday.
4) Vermont Cookie Love Cookie Dough When is refrigerated cookie dough not a thing to be guilty about? When it is made with love by a local company with all natural ingredients. My work gals and I are obsessed with Vermont Cookie Love, and I don't think any of them would mind if I showed up with some of these beauties. And what could be better than slicing up some dough, popping it in the oven, putting my feet up with a magazine, having the house fill with that amazing baking cookie smell, and then having but one dish to wash... the baking sheet? Perhaps this one is a no brainer...
What is your go to bake sale/potluck dessert recipe? Any favorites I'm forgetting? And how much do you want one of these and a cold glass of milk right now?