Photo: Alison Gootee/ Studio D
1. A Decorated Cake for People Who Don't Do Decorations
Even if you can't work a pastry bag and won't touch fondant with a 10-foot pole, you can make this design: You just dot raspberry sauce in the shape of a circle on top of a cheesecake (homemade or store-bought), and then run a toothpick through each dot, thus turning them into hearts.
Get the recipe: Raspberry Sauce
2. An Italian Dessert That Could Become Your New Go-To
Panna cotta sounds sophisticated but it's actually not complicated in the least: It's just a not-too-sweet dessert made from cream, buttermilk, sugar and gelatin. Our recipe also has you marinate strawberries in balsamic vinegar; when you pour them over the custard, the syrupy fruit juices add a zippy, tangy edge.
Get the recipe: Buttermilk Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries
3. Pie Without That Whole Make-Homemade-Dough Step
Frozen puff pastry is the secret to making these mini peach pies (and if you can't find good peaches, frozen are fine). Adding the scraped-out seeds from a vanilla bean pod to the fruit before piling it into the pastry dough and baking results in a dessert with an unexpectedly rich flavor.
Get the recipe: Peach and Vanilla Puff Pastry Pie
4. The Unfussy Chocolate Dessert That Fits Every Bill
If you're torn between making chocolate chip cookies or fudgy brownies, these easy-to-make treats (with a blessedly short ingredients list) let you have both. They're drop cookies that closely resemble brownies because of their moist, slightly gooey taste—but instead of spreading the batter into a pan, you place spoonfuls of it onto a cookie sheet.
Get the recipe: Bittersweet Brownie Drops
5. An Impressive-Looking Cure for the Winter Blahs
A mousse made with cream cheese, topped with a blood-orange "gelee" may seem like something only an experienced dessert chef could make, but it's actually a breeze—and a stunning way to incorporate the sweet-tart citrus fruit, which is in season now. You just fill small ramekins with creamy cheesecake, an orange slice and orange gelatin.
Get the recipe: Cheesecake Mousse with Blood Orange Gelee
Next: 26 more desserts that say, "I love you"