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Easy Desserts from Your Pantry

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You're expecting company, or maybe you just want to serve a nice dessert as a special treat for your family tonight. Trouble is that you're out of everything but basic staples. What can you do?

Fortunately, there are many easy desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth and can be made with just the basic pantry items you're likely to always have on hand. Here are some ideas. You can find various recipes for all of these online.

  1. Rice or bread pudding - If you have milk, eggs, sugar and some bread or rice, you can make these wholesome comfort food desserts. Make them simple and basic, or add extras like raisins to jazz them up if you have them on hand.
  2. Pudding or custard - You don't have to buy boxed puddings, especially when homemade is vastly better, and can be made with milk, sugar, cornstarch and flavorings like vanilla or cocoa powder. Just whisk the ingredients together while they simmer on the stove and thicken. Cool and serve. Custard is similar, but is usually baked.
  3. Cake - No, you don't need a boxed mix. It's easy to make it from scratch, especially if you have a stand mixer to do almost all the work for you. They're simple to make with flour, sugar, milk and butter, margarine or shortening. Frosting is nothing more than some powdered sugar and butter or margarine whipped together with vanilla and a little milk.
  4. Related: Make Your Own Baking Mixes

  5. Cookies - Many cookies don't require special ingredients like nuts or chocolate chips. Try simple sugar, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies.
  6. Cobblers and crisps - These can be made with whatever fresh or canned fruit you may have on hand.
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  8. Sweet breads or muffins - Whatever you have on hand, whether it's a can of pumpkin, some bananas just turning brown, applesauce, or some carrots or zucchini, can be turned into a homey loaf bread or a pan of warm muffins with just the addition of flour, sugar, eggs, oil and spices. If you have none of the mix-ins, simply make plain muffins and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before baking.
  9. Related: Delicious Zucchini Dessert

  10. Funnel cake - Kids will particularly love this festive fair treat. Mix up a basic pancake batter, and drizzle it into a skillet of hot oil in a circular pattern (use a funnel reserved just for food, a squeeze bottle, a piping bag with a star tip, or a resealable bag with a corner cut off). Fry on both sides, then remove, and dust with powdered sugar.

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