04/05/2012 09:51 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Five Ways To Satisfy A Sweet Tooth In Under 15 Minutes


Photo Credit: Small Kitchen College

Even if dessert is not usually your jam, you know what it's like to have a sweets craving.  In the middle of the day between classes, at midnight when you're putting the finishing touches on an essay, 24/7 during finals week: the need for sweets is real and unavoidable, and it often hits when there isn't much time to be spent slaving over a soufflé.

Enter: speed-desserts.  Like speed-dating, only better because you get to eat everything.  With a maximum of 15 minutes on the clock, use one of the following tricks to satiate your need for sugar and get back to (let's be honest) procrastinating studying for your your midterm.  At least now you're on Pinterest with a full belly and a mess of Nutella to lick off your fingers, am I right?

**Tips and Tricks**

1. Mug Cakes. Try your hand at the newest fad in superfast desserts: mug cakes.  Individual-sized treats made in your microwave, these beauties are perfectly cooked on the outside, gooey in the middle, and can be whipped up in under five minutes in the same container you had your coffee in this morning (maybe wash it first).  There are literally hundreds of mug cake varieties, but this awesome salted caramel version is as delicious a place to start as any.

2. Dessert Panini. If you have the equipment for it, really nothing beats a dessert panini.  Peanut butter and apples and cinnamon?  Nutella and strawberries? Marshmallow fluff AND banana AND chocolate chips?  The dessert panini can literally do no wrong.  Spread your favorite toppings between two slices of good white bread, heat up your panini press, and tell all of your roommates you are making brussels sprouts so they stay out the kitchen. You are not going to want to share.

3. Fondue. The fastest fix for a sweets craving, this is a great way to use whatever you have in your fridge or pantry.  Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments, stirring between sets, until completely melted.  Dip banana or apple slices, pretzels, pieces of Rice Krispie treats, potato chips (don't knock it til you try it), marshmallows, strawberries, graham crackers... everything tastes better covered in chocolate.

4. Sandwich It. Store-bought cookies and ice cream make ice cream sandwiches a breeze.  Allow your ice cream to thaw a little before scooping it onto one cookie and smushing it down with another.  Return the sandwich to the freezer for a few minutes to solidify before eating. If you have time, the homemade route is awesome too.

5. Bananas Foster. Caramelized fruit is the base for a ton of great desserts, so for a slightly fancier way to satisfy a craving (licking a fondue bowl clean is maybe not the classiest... not that it has ever stopped me before), try bananas foster.  Heat one tablespoon of butter and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar  (and if you're into it, a few tablespoons of rum) over medium-low heat until smooth and bubbly.  Add two sliced bananas and swirl sauce, cooking for about two minutes.  Serve bananas and extra sauce on top of vanilla ice cream.

Kendra Vaculin is a junior at Northwestern University, and can keep absolutely no sweet things in her apartment or else she eats them all in the middle of the night. She maintains the food and fashion blog North South East Dressed and eats all of the freeze-dried strawberries out of her boxes of Special K Red Berries.

—Kendra Vaculin for Small Kitchen College