Lemon Ginger Cookies

To make things more visually interesting and to carry on with the helo-yourself feel of the evening, keep the dessert course loose and carefree.  Set out the roasted pears, then place some drop cookies on a platter, with squared of store-bought dark chocolate, dried fruits, and toasted nuts.   1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, …

Texas Sheet Cake

This bake-sale and potluck staple is moist, dense, and ultra-chocolaty.  We lined the pan with parchment to make it easier to transfer the cake to a serving platter.       For Cake. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more (room temperature) for pan 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon …

Apple Tart

When you're craving a warm, buttery fruit dessert but can't spend all afternoon making a double-crust pie, this tart should hit the spot.  One tip to note; When brushing the pastry with egg wash, don't let it drip over the edges, since the dough will stick to the pan and won't rise properly.  You'll want …

Espresso Granita

If you can make coffee, you can master this simple but sophisticated dessert.  You just add sugar to espresso (decaf works, too) and chill it in a bowl, then freeze if for two hours until all the liquid turns into ice crystals.  As the granita freezes, remember to stir it with a fork every half …

Perfect Pound Cake

As long as you have the basic refrigerator and pantry staples on hand, you can whip up this buttery-sweet classic.  This recipe even skips leaveners like baking soda and baking powder; instead, you give the cake its requisite lift by beating the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy.  The endlessly adaptable cake is lovely …

Broiled Plums

Sometimes all you want after dinner is a bowl of fruit.  With a little brandy and a sprinkle of light-brown sugar, fresh plums can be transformed into a warm, juicy, caramelized dessert.  Whether you serve the broiled fruit as is or top it with mascarpone, whipped cream.ice cream or frozen yogurt, the plums cap of …

Double Chocolate Brownies

The best brownies need absolutely no special ingredients or decorations no chocolate chips, no M&Ms, no frosting, nothing.  Their magic lies in a subtly crispy crust and fudgy, moist (but not too gooey) middle.  To that end, this recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate as well as cocoa powder.  With just the seven ingredients here, you'll …

Peach Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake deserves its place in the dessert hall of fame, but you don't need berries to make a wonderful shortcake.  This one is made with a juicy peak of season peaches, sprinkled with fruit brandy, layered on easy buttermilk biscuits and topped with whipped cream.  You can substitute other fruits, but if you chose …