Panna Cotta with Red Fruit Sauce

Photo: Anna Williams

The 5-Ingredient Wonder
Made with half-and-half, vanilla, sugar and not much else, this panna cotta gets a jolt of color from a splash of blackberry sauce.

Get the recipe: Panna Cotta with Red Fruit Sauce
French Vanilla Coffee Cake with Creme Anglaise

Photo: Anna Williams

The Triple Vanilla Coffee Cake
Adding a few spoonfuls of ground coffee or instant espresso powder is a trick you see in chocolate desserts to amp up flavor, but this breakfast-or-dessert coffee cake takes the maneuver a step further, calling for two tablespoons of French vanilla coffee. The cake also includes vanilla extract and the seeds of a vanilla bean.

Get the recipe: French Vanilla Coffee Cake with Crème Anglaise
Chocolate Nests with White Chocolate-Vanilla Candies

Photo: Anna Williams

A "You Made That?" Dessert
This is one of those desserts that looks way more complicated than it really is (not that anyone aside from you needs to know that). It's a cluster of white chocolate–vanilla candies tucked into a nest of dark chocolate curls.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Nests with White Chocolate–Vanilla Candies
Peach and Vanilla Puff Pastry Pie

Photo: Gentl & Hyers

The New Spin on Classic Peach Pie
Even if you have a favorite peach pie recipe, this one is worth trying. 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 almost smoky flavor.

Get the recipe: Peach and Vanilla Puff Pastry Pie
Dessert toppings in ornamental jars

Photo: Johnny Miller

One Good Reason to Ditch the Hot Fudge
A sprig of rosemary, cubes of pineapple and a vanilla bean may not seem like bedfellows, but the combination is magical. When you simmer the ingredients, plus some sugar and lemon juice, for the better part of an hour, they turn into a light but indulgent topping for ice cream (pictured bottom left).

Get the recipe: Pineapple Topping with Vanilla and Rosemary
Vanilla-Fig Pavlova

Photo: Anna Williams

A Russian-Inspired Masterpiece
This dreamy treat, named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, piles scoops of vanilla ice cream with a brown-sugar-and-fig swirl into an airy meringue shell. To top it off: a scattering of sliced fresh figs.

Get the recipe: Vanilla-Fig Pavlova
Cocoa, Chili and Vanilla Spiced Nuts

Photo: Anna Williams

Cocoa, Chili and Vanilla Spiced Nuts
Though not technically a dessert, nuts can be a lovely way to end a meal, especially with cheese and an espresso or dessert wine. A dusting of cocoa, cayenne and vanilla powder (or vanilla sugar) gives this mix of pecans, cashews, peanuts and almonds a delicate balance of sweetness and spice.

Get the recipe: Cocoa, Chili and Vanilla Spiced Nuts

Next: 20 favorite childhood desserts (with adult twists)