Just Desserts

Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. This week we are doing something new: desserts. Last Friday I asked if this was something that would interest you, and I have never gotten so many emails. (If you’re feeling cheated and want your dinner recipes, take a look at these suggestions for some superb weeknight options from my boss, Sam Sifton.)

Selecting this week’s recipes was both very easy and very hard — easy because I know precisely what I want to bake when I need something sweet on demand (these recipes can be made within two hours or less), hard because of all the choices to agonize over, such is my love for the baking recipes on NYT Cooking. Like Dorie Greenspan’s Swedish almond cake. Samantha Seneviratne’s double chocolate cookies. Susan Spungen’s brown sugar anise cookies. I could go on, and will below.

Do you love this? Do you just want that weeknight chicken? I’m [email protected] The lines are open.

Here are five desserts for the week:

1. Lemon Bars With Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Lemon bars: a perfect treat. The combination of silken, tangy curd and tender shortbread crust is perfection, as is this recipe from Melissa Clark. I once edited a story about lemon bars and became so preoccupied thinking about them that I went home and made them. I hope that reading this makes you feel the same way. For a more classic version, try this recipe.

View this recipe.

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2. Strawberry Spoon Cake

This gorgeous and very popular recipe by Jerrelle Guy checks two boxes for me: It’s a fruit dessert and an easy cake (as cake is so much easier than pie, and less labor-intensive than cookies). Commenters have tried it with all kinds of fruit, frozen and fresh, and experimented with the flours, too. Other options in this vein: blueberry, almond and lemon cake; berry buttermilk cake; lemon snacking cake with coconut glaze.

View this recipe.

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3. New Classic Brownies

I really debated whether to give you a cookie, cake or brownie to meet your chocolate needs. But I concluded that nothing beats a brownie, ideally served with a small, very cold glass of milk. I am unconflicted about whether that brownie should be fudgy or cakey: Obviously it should be fudgy. This recipe, from the cookbook author Alice Medrich, is my favorite. Other excellent brownies to consider: maximalist pecan pie brownies; vegan brownies with tahini and halvah; flourless beet brownies.

View this recipe.

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4. Nutella Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of my lifelong favorites, and I like it best studded heavily with chocolate chips. Yossy Arefi goes a step beyond that and adds swirls of Nutella. Picture yourself eating this on the couch while you watch “Call My Agent!” (OK, that’s me.) For a more classic and very delicious chocolate chip banana bread, try this recipe; and this banana bread is a spin on a more traditional spiced bread.

View this recipe.

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5. Salty-Sweet Peanut Butter Sandies

Julia Moskin reverse-engineered the recipe for these cookies from ones sold at the revered (and now closed) City Bakery in Manhattan. Unlike flat and chewy peanut butter cookies, these are crumbly and rich and melt in your mouth. It’s a must-try recipe for peanut butter lovers. Other fine options: peanut butter-miso cookies and pistachio shortbread.

View this recipe.

I’ll be back with your rice, pasta and other savory carbs next week. The five featured recipes above are free to all, but to see any of the additional links you’ll need a subscription to NYT Cooking, where you will find more than 20,000 very enticing, well-tested recipes from many of the best food writers in the land. You can also follow NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, or follow me on Instagram. If you have questions about your account, please email [email protected].

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