It’s not that easy to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies. We got resourceful (read desparate) late one night and figured out how to make do with three ingredients. It’s cheap and a little too quick. Mix one cup each of either smooth or chunky peanut butter and sugar with a single egg. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on a buttered cookie sheet (they spread a lot). Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. It’s hard to imagine eating cookies made without flour or butter, but these come out beautifully, with a crispy edge and gooey center.
I found a recipe for a cake so moist and tasty that I couldn’t believe it has no butter, milk or eggs. It’s called “Ann’s Crazy Cake,” and it happens to be vegan as well. Sift 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of cocoa, 1 tsp. of salt, and 2 tsp. of baking soda into a 9×13 in. pan. Make three wells in the sifted mixture. Place 3/4 cup of vegetable oil in one well, 2 tbsp. of white vinegar in the second well, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract in the last well. Pour 2 cups of cold water over everything, and mix together with a fork. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
Chocolate macaroon pudding sounds a tad time-consuming, not to mention expensive. This luxurious dessert is from my go-to manual for recession-proof sweets, The Settlement Cookbook. Dissolve 1 tbsp. of granulated gelatin in 2 tbsp. cold water, then dissolve in 1/4 cup boiling water. Once cooled, add it to a pint of cream, whipped. Separate the strengthened cream into two bowls. In one bowl, stir in a 1/4 pound of grated sweet chocolate. In the other bowl, stir in six stale, chopped coconut macaroons. Layer in a dish and chill for several hours.
Fruit cobblers have broad appeal at the table, but sometimes you don’t want to spend the money or time to buy, wash, and peel a couple pounds of fruit, or make a crust from scratch. I found a solution in the Joy of Cooking called the Canned Fruit Bake. It’s genius and it really doesn’t taste like canned fruit. Take 16 oz. of canned fruit cocktail and drain it well. Place it at the bottom of a baking dish, and cover with a cup of crushed macaroons, nuts or coconut, a splash of lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of fruit juice (the juice from the can works well) and a few dots of butter. Bake it in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until fragrant. What you end up with is beautifully roasted, warm fruit and an addictive crunch from the buttery topping. Serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Sure, homemade crumble with fresh fruit is much better, but this is a pretty good Plan B.