Instant dessert gratification has drawbacks

I don’t get the “instant” food phenomenom.

My friend, Sharon, who had a free coupon for a just-add-water-and-shake cupcake mix, posted her horror on Facebook after she read  – or tried to decipher  – the list of unidentifiable ingredients.

Sure, when you’re out camping or at the beach, instant food is OK. But, at home, really it’s just about being lazy, isn’t it? I admit to extreme laziness. Give me a rotisserie chicken from any grocery store and I can turn it into six meals. But, when it comes to dessert, well, a little kitchen magic is always worth the effort to dodge the chemical taste of water-only mixes.

Of course, ready-to-bake Toll House cookies are always an exception. Because, face it, how much of that dough actually makes it into the oven?

But, now I’m off-track. Oh yeah. I can think of a dozen desserts that take less than eight ingredients and 10 minutes to make. You probably can too. Why not just collect those recipes and have the ingredients on hand?

Rice Krispie treats are the mother of all quick and easy desserts that satisfy a broad range of ages. Add some chocolate covered mint patties while melting the marshmallows, and adults will like them even better. (Hint: one of those movie-sized boxes of Junior Mints is the perfect size.)

We’re all tired. We’re all busy. But, dessert is supposed to be a treat. Why stuff something in our faces that contains way too many ingredients, if we’re all a little better off when we can pronounce the stuff that goes into our sweets? You’ve still got to heat up the oven or turn on the stove to make these ersatz desserts. So, why not pop something you recognize in that pan instead, and save the chemicals for your hair products.

Here are a couple of quick fixes for your sweet tooth:

Flameless Bananas Foster

2 Tbsp. butter

2 small, firm bananas, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup brown sugar

dash of ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp. rum

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. When butter starts to bubble, add the bananas and cook until slightly brown on both sides. Push the bananas to the side of the pan, add brown sugar, cinnamon and rum. Cook and stir until sauce is syrupy – about three minutes. Serce immediately over vanilla ice cream.


Turtle Bars

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed into crumbs

12 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup pecan pieces

1 12-oz jar of caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter and crumbs in a 9X13 baking pan and press to form a crust. Sprinkle with morsels and pecans. Take off the lid of the topping and microwave the jar on high for 30 seconds. Stir and cook on high again for another 30 seconds. Pour topping over ingredients in pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.



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