A delicious dessert is the perfect ending to nearly every meal, but many people don’t think they have the time to prepare one from scratch. Relax! You can still have your cake and eat it, too, with one of these no-fuss suggestions that don’t require a whole lot of hands-on time. Dessert made easy? Sweet!

1. Serve a classic: A hunk of English Stilton with fresh pears and glasses of aged port wine.

2. Store-bought pound cake toasted and drizzled with some honey and served with fresh peaches or raspberries.

3. Ice cream sandwiches: Make quick ice cream sandwiches with a variety of purchased cookies from a bakery and complimentary ice creams and let each guest make their own.

4. Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans are a tasty treat with after-dinner coffee or espressos. I like to serve mine in my antique coffee grinder for a huge wow factor.

Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans
Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans

5. Grilled Stone Fruit: Halve and pit nectarines or peaches and brush with a little honey and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Grill until browned and caramelized. Serve with a dollop of crème fråiche.

6. Sautéed Autumn Fruit: Sauté sliced pears and apples in a little butter and brown sugar until they begin to caramelize. Add in a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, a handful of toasted walnuts and some raisins. Serve with some whipped cream.

7. Bag a chocolate cake from your bakery and serve slices with melted vanilla bean ice cream as a sauce.

8. Strawberries macerated with some sugar and good balsamic vinegar.

9. Really good chocolates placed on a pretty plate served with glasses of champagne is about as elegant as it gets.

10. Make an Italian affogato (a blend of cold ice cream and hot espresso): Put a large scoop of gelato or ice cream in each serving bowl. Pour a little espresso over the top; sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve. Or, do like I do and serve mini affogatos in a glass votive (repurposing strikes again!) and nestle them in a glass bowl filled with whole coffee beans. Prepare to get oooh’s and aaaah’s.

See? Making a dessert doesn’t always have to take hours in the kitchen. Any one of these delights would be welcome on a weeknight menu or whenever you’re short on time. Not only will they most surely be a hit with your grateful guests, but these simple sweet endings will help you entertain with confidence.

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