comforting desserts

Can we be honest? 2020 hasn't been an easy year. Elections, COVID-19, working from home with little ones running around—this year has been quite the challenge. That's why we crafted dessert recipe inspiration to help you take your mind off what's going on in the world and focus on food that makes your taste buds shout with joy.

And since most of us still have a scary amount of leftover Halloween candy, we found a few cool recipes that transform those chocolate and peanut butter candies into easy, decadent desserts. Yum!

Here are our favorite feel-good dessert recipes the entire family will devour:


Apple pie bars

apple pie bars

Delish

Serves: 18

Total time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the crust

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the filling

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the topping

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • Caramel, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x-13 pan with parchment then grease with cooking spray. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined.
  2. Press into the prepared pan about ½ inch up sides. Bake until lightly golden, 20 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt together. Spread apples over the crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pecans, brown sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter until coarse clumps form.
  5. Sprinkle crumb topping over the apples and bake until top is golden and apples are soft, about 1 hour.
  6. Let cool at least 15 minutes then slice into squares and drizzle with caramel before serving.

Recipe from Delish

Nutella banana pudding

Nutella banana pudding

Delish

Serves: 10

Total time: 3 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package chocolate pudding
  • 2/3 cup Nutella, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 32 Oreos
  • 2 bananas, sliced into coins
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts or peanuts, roughly chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine milk and chocolate pudding mix and whisk to combine. Place Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on low until pourable, 20 to 30 seconds. Fold Nutella into chocolate pudding and refrigerate.
  2. In another large bowl, combine heavy cream and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside 1/3 of the mixture for topping the dish. Fold remaining whipped cream into the pudding mixture.
  3. Build the trifle: Spread half of the pudding mixture onto the bottom of the trifle dish. Cover with a layer of Oreo cookies—you may want to also stand up some cookies vertically, so you see the full circle along the edge of the trifle dish. Top with an even layer of banana slices. Add the remaining pudding, then add one more layer of Oreos and bananas.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or at most, overnight. When ready to serve, top with reserved whipped cream, a drizzle of melted Nutella and nuts.

Recipe from Delish

Autumn cheesecake

Autumn cheesecake

All Recipes

Serves: 12

Total time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 35 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, 3 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and melted butter; press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla; pour filling into the baked crust.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Toss the cinnamon-sugar with the apples to coat. Spoon apple mixture over cream cheese layer and sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped pecans.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. With a knife, loosen the cake from the rim of the pan. Let cool, then remove the rim of the pan. Chill cake before serving.

Recipe from All Recipes

Cookies and cream mousse

Cookies and cream mousse

Tasty

Serves: 2

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 chocolate sandwich cookies, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Separate the cream from the chocolate sandwich cookies. Place the cookies in a plastic bag and the cream in a small bowl.
  2. Using a rolling pin, crush the cookies until they are finely ground.
  3. Microwave the cream from the chocolate sandwich cookies for 2 minutes.
  4. In a chilled medium bowl, beat the heavy cream using a hand mixer until thick and frothy.
  5. Add the cream from the cookies and the powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold in the chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs, saving some as topping for later.
  7. Spoon into a piping bag or plastic bag with a piping tip. Pipe into serving bowls or glasses.
  8. Top with remaining chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs and half of a chocolate sandwich cookie, if desired.
  9. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Tasty

Leftover Halloween candy brownie bars

Halloween candy brownie bars

Simplemills

Serves: 12

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Garnishes:

  • Chocolate covered pretzels with Halloween sprinkles
  • Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
  • Coconut butter cups
  • Coconut clusters
  • Edible eyes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Add brownie mix, the eggs, butter, coconut sugar and vanilla extract to a bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Pour mixture into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately garnish with your chocolates and edible eyes.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
Recipe from Simplemills

Lemon pudding

Lemon pudding

Taste of Home

Serves: 16

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 3 cups cold whole milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant lemon pudding mix

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour until crumbly. Press into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake until light brown, 18-22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust.
  3. Beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Carefully spread over the cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Peanut butter cup stuffed chocolate cupcakes

Peanut butter cup stuffed chocolate cupcakes

Simplemills

Serves: 12

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tin.
  2. Make in a large mixing bowl simple Mills chocolate muffins according to the box.
  3. Add 2 tbsp batter to 10 lined muffin tin compartments.
  4. Place a peanut butter cup on top of the batter, then cover it with 1 1/2 tbsp additional batter.
  5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Apply desired amount of frosting to the tops of each cupcake or dust with as much of the cacao powder as you desire.

Recipe from Simplemills