Easy Classroom Treats

OMG. You thought your evening was free once you finished post-dinner cleanup when, sure enough, one of your kids reminded you about the bake sale at school. Tomorrow. You’re no Martha Stewart and can’t even bear the thought of spending three more hours in the kitchen to make personalized cupcakes in fancy little frilled holders. Here are three recipes that are quick, easy, and to die for. You got this!

Three-ingredient Nutella Bars

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

8.5 ounces Nutella (by weight, not measure)

¼ toasted pine nuts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

Spray an 8×8 square pan with nonstick spray then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Don’t skip this step because everything will be a sticky mess.

Beat the eggs on high speed (don’t do it by hand – they won’t become as aerated as you need) for about 6 minutes until they triple in volume. While they’re mixing, melt the Nutella in a large, microwave-safe bowl for 15 to 20 seconds to soften it.

Spoon 1/3 of the egg mixture into the Nutella and gently fold it in until combined. Don’t stir or beat the mixture! Repeat two more times.

Gently spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top. (As a side note: pine nuts aren’t actually nuts but seeds that come from pinecones. Still, children who are allergic to tree nuts could have an allergic reaction to them, so add a little note that this treat contains them or leave them out completely.) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Apricot Bars

Ingredients

3/4 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1-1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

12 ounces apricot preserves

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

Mix the sugar and softened butter in a mixing bowl and blend until the mixture is pale yellow, light and fluffy. Gently beat in the egg and vanilla and set the mixture aside. In a separate bowl, stir the flour and baking powder together then mix it in with the butter/egg/sugar mixture. Fold in the coconut.

Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan and press 2/3 of the dough onto the pan to create an even layer. Spread the apricot preserves evenly over this layer then crumble the remaining 1/3 of the dough mixture on top of the preserves. Bake for 35 minutes and cool completely before cutting into bars.

Chocolate Cake Surprise Bars

Ingredients

1 box chocolate cake mix

24 mini peanut butter cups

or chocolate-covered caramel drops

or 2 large crushed peppermint candy canes

Prepare cake mix as package directs and pour into a greased and floured 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake as directed on the package. If you’re using crushed candy canes, now’s the time to sprinkle them over the cake: before it goes in the oven. If you opt for the peanut butter cups or caramel candies, wait until you remove the cake from the oven to dot the top of the cake with them. Aim for 2-inch square servings and gently press the peanut butter cups or caramel chocolate drops into the warm cake. Cool then cut into squares. And if there are leftover candies, no one needs to know.

If you haven’t already noticed, a trick to easy bake sale or classroom treats is to keep them in bar form. No need to deal with individually gilded nuggets of special goodness. Keep your sanity and keep it rustic. With treats this good, looks don’t matter!