Everyone can use a few no-brainer dessert recipes in their back pocket. You know: the kind of recipe that is ridiculously simple and quick. That you can whip together while making dinner. With kids helping. And not lose your marbles.
Friends, we have you covered: here are two quick, family-friendly recipes that are easy as pie. (And did we mention tasty?)
The buttercrunch is a recipe that has been in my family for a long time. My mom’s best friend gave her the recipe many, many years ago. It is one of my favorite Christmas treats – it tastes a lot like toffee, but involves little time or effort (and no candy thermometer).
The recipe for Pretzel M&M’s treats was printed in a grocery store ad a few years back. They’re festive and easy, a great combination, and Theresa’s family makes them every year at Christmas.
What you need:
- saltines or club crackers, about 1 sleeve
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. butter or margarine
- 12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
- 1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
- rimmed baking sheet/jelly roll pan
- aluminum foil
- saucepan (2 qt. is fine) and silicone spatula
Time: Prep – 15 minutes; Chill – 1 hour.
Serves: The size of the piece depends on how small you make them when you break it up. I usually get a few dozen pieces.
Multiplying the recipe: You’d have to use a new jelly roll pan for each batch. I would also be sure to make each batch of syrup separately. If there isn’t enough syrup on the pan, the crackers will burn.
Line the jelly roll pan with foil. Cover the bottom of the pan with crackers. Try to fit them fairly close to each other so the bottom is entirely covered. (Sometimes I break crackers into pieces to fill larger gaps.)
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the brown sugar and butter together. Bring to a boil and stir continuously for about a minute. Pour the syrup evenly over the crackers and spread it out with the spatula. Bake for 8 minutes at 375F, until evenly browned.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Wait a few minutes so the chips start to melt, and then spread them over the crackers with the spatula until evenly covered. Top with walnuts. Press walnuts slightly into melted chocolate.
Put the pan in the freezer to set up. After at least an hour, remove the pan from the oven and break the buttercrunch into pieces with your hands. Peel off the foil and discard.
Note: There are often little pieces of chocolate and nuts left over after breaking up the buttercrunch. I like to save these to use as an ice cream topping.
What you need:
- circle pretzels (other pretzels work, I’m just partial to the circles)
- Hershey kisses (I used dark chocolate Kisses)
- M&Ms (any variety; I used a Christmas bag to have the festive red and green colors, but you can use any color combination for your particular celebration, or even peanut or almond M&Ms)
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
Time: Prep – 10-15 minutes; Chill – 20 minutes
Freezeable: I don’t freeze them because it makes the pretzels less crunchy.
Serves: As many or as few as you prepare!
Multiplying the recipe: The beauty of this recipe is that you can make only a few if you’re making a quick snack or dessert for a small group, or several batches if you’re serving a crowd. For example, I had 31 Hershey kisses left in an open bag, so I simply made 31! You just need the same number of pretzels, kisses, and M&Ms.
Preheat the oven to 350. Line the pan with parchment paper. Lay the pretzels on the prepared pan in a single layer.
Unwrap the Hershey kisses. Place one in the center of each pretzel. Bake in the oven until the chocolate is starting to melt, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place an M&M on top of the Hershey kiss, pushing down lightly to make sure the chocolate reaches the inside edges of the pretzel.
Chill in the fridge until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes. Store in a sealed container. I like to cut up the parchment paper I used on the pan to place between layers in the container.