Fancy Rice Krispie Treats and 18 More Ways to Dress Up Our Favorite Childhood Desserts
It's no fair. All those delicious, nostalgic desserts we loved as kids—Rice Krispie Treats, yummy puddings, bowls of ice cream—are off limits at the grown-up table? Time to revisit the classics, which, with some creative tweaks, will become brand-new desserts that are all easy to make. Here are 24 easy ways to transform kid desserts into adult pleasures!
Make grown-up Rice Krispie-Style Treats!
The classic Rice Krispie Treat is endlessly adaptable, and a surprisingly great vehicle for grown-up flavors. To bring them into the adult realm can be just a matter of some tweaks like the following:
- Use browned butter instead of melted plain butter
- Use other cereals instead of Rice Krispies for different textures and flavors
- Substitute crunchy carbs like fried Chinese noodles and wonton strips for the cereal portion
- Blend in more crunch and flavor with popcorn or pretzels
- Blend in texture and flavor with nuts, dried fruit, or even small candies
- Add a little flavor with nut butters, spice mixes, or even punchy things like white miso
- Sprinkle the tops with added flair, using things like crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans, chopped toffee, toasted nuts, and flaky sea salt
Make grown-up pudding!
Pudding might be one of the most kid-friendly desserts out there, from little snack cups and superfast instant mixes to classic stovetop cook and cool versions. And you don't need to go all crème brulée on pudding to make it special! Start with the main flavor and add a little bonus. Here are some easy upgrades to take pudding from nursery to nighttime:
- Add a pinch of a holiday spice or cinnamon to vanilla puddings
- Add spicy chilis to chocolate puddings
- Add golden milk seasoning or chai spice to rice and tapioca puddings
- Upgrade a whipped cream topping to bourbon whipped cream or matcha whipped cream
- Top with crème fraiche for an elegant touch
Serve bowls of grown-up ice cream!
Ice cream desserts are a go-to for the little folks, but a good pint or two can also be a treat for the adults. Here's how to serve simple ice cream from the grocery store in a whole new, grown-up way:
- Pour hot espresso over a scoop of ice cream for an affogato
- Pour sparkling wine over sorbet
- Drizzle a high-end vanilla ice cream with aged balsamic vinegar
- Drizzle that same vanilla ice cream with syrup from the Luxardo cherries jar
- Spoon candied strawberries in syrup (I love Fragola Fabbri) over vanilla ice cream
- Pour a precious bit of a heady flavorful liqueur like cassis or Chambord over vanilla ice cream
- Top any of the above with something crunchy: candied almonds or walnuts, toasted pine nuts or coconut, or a shower of grated chocolate
Make grown-up hot chocolate and s'mores!
Who says that hot chocolate and s'mores need to just be the domain of kids? You can make them super adult friendly without losing the fun with these fun updates:
- Try a caramelized white hot chocolate with marshmallows dusted in raspberry powder
- Make a bittersweet hot chocolate a bit boozy with spiced rum whipped cream
- For s'mores, swap out the graham crackers for thin gingersnaps and the traditional milk chocolate for a dark chocolate with candied ginger
- Or swap out the graham crackers for Nabisco Chocolate Wafers and the milk chocolate with new Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Thins
- Up your marshmallow game (for hot chocolate OR s'mores!) with products like Smashmallows, which come in a variety of flavors, or even make your own from scratch