I love to bake. I'll bake for birthdays, holidays, parties, and random Wednesdays — as long as I have time. Unfortunately, I don't always have 30 minutes to make from-scratch chocolate chip cookies or an afternoon to devote to making my famous pecan pie. But a gathering has to have a dessert, right?
There are plenty of times when things are just too crazy and I have to fall back on the store-bought stuff. And honestly, no one ever seems to mind. For one, it's not like my friends and family would demand that I pull an all-nighter to make them a three-layer cake. I also have a roster of really good (like, really good) store-bought treats that always impress. I'll pull out a fancy platter and call it a day. (Note: I never take credit for the baking, though — that would be unethical!)
Here are some of my go-to treats.
- Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets, $22 for 3 boxes: This may be the South Jersey girl in me talking, but there are few things better than a cellophane-wrapped pack of Butterscotch Krimpets. I've even tried some knock-off recipes and they paled in comparison to the real stuff. Sometimes I'll just pretend to be too busy so that I have an excuse to serve these fluffy, buttery treats.
- Chocolate Almond Butter Tart, $6 for a 11.28-ounce tart at Trader Joe's: Trader Joe's sells very few desserts that I do not like. This tart is rich and chocolatey without being too sweet. My mom once requested this instead of a homemade treat. (I pretended not to be totally insulted.)
- Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies, $3 for a 6-ounce bag: My grandmother always stocked her pantry with these cookies before I'd visit as a kid. I was told they were special cookies and to be savored. She was right. I still eat them slowly as an adult and my guests are always pumped to see them on the table.
- Original Plain NY Cheesecake, $40 at Junior's: I have made my own cheesecake plenty of times, and I usually end up wishing I had just ordered from this iconic New York institution. Randomly, the bakery outlet recently moved to my hometown, so it's super easy for me to get a cake (or three) when I visit my parents. Non-locals can order online, of course.
Talenti Gelato Mediterranean Mint, $4.50 for 1 pint: If you can, always make your own ice cream (see: How To Make Classic Ice Cream at Home), but also supplement with this creamy, minty gelato. Or really, any flavor from Talenti.
What are your favorite store-bought goodies?