Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars
These bars were inspired by the candy and cookies you’d mail to a homesick kid at summer camp.
Sweet Peach Olive Oil Cake
On Top Chef, Kristen Kish’s winning menu included fennel pollen olive oil cake. She makes the simplified version here with peach slices.
Almond, Elderflower and Lime Travel Cakes
Inspired by French travel cakes (small sweets meant for bringing to parties, picnics and other events), William Werner created these miniature desserts. He calls them “gussied-up pound cakes.”
Apple Pie Bars
Mary Odson's sister Cathy came up with these bars, which have a nutty, streusel-like topping and a crisp shortbread crust.
Zoe Nathan has the zany, freewheeling air of a person on a permanent sugar high. Her salted-caramel squares are just as bold, with tender caramel atop a dense, buttery crust.
Cream Cheese Cookies with Blueberries and Lime Glaze
For cream cheese lovers, these tangy cookies pack a double dose—in the cookie dough and in the puckery lime glaze. Dried blueberries add sweetness and chew. Cooking the cream cheese before adding it to the dough eliminates some of the moisture that could otherwise make these cookies too soft. If your blueberries are too dry, plump them in hot water for five minutes, then dry them well before adding to the dough.
“I snagged this dessert from my Scandinavian grandmother,” says Mehmet Gürs. “She used a wood-burning oven, a cast-iron skillet and fresh island berries.” Use additional raspberries when figs are not in season.
Daniel Orr loved the blondies his mother, Mary Lu Orr, baked when he was growing up in Columbus, Indiana. “She was always taking fun recipes and trying to make them healthy,” he recalls. Here, inspired by her, Orr folds in nutritious nuts and dried fruit along with sweet white-chocolate chips.
Use a spoon or your thumb to make a dent for the raspberry-jam filling.
Salted Fudge Brownies
Kate Krader has been making these fudgy, sweet-salty brownies since she was 10 years old. As a kid she used regular table salt; now she recommends a flaky sea salt like Maldon, because the flavor is less harsh and it melts so nicely into the batter, accentuating the chocolaty sweetness.
Chocolate-Almond Saltine Toffee
Pastry chef Nicole Plue was intrigued by a recipe she discovered for matzo covered in toffee and chocolate. But she knew she could improve it by using crackers instead of matzo for a hit of salt.
Summer Plum Crostata
This elegant free-form tart, filled with sliced plums seasoned with cinnamon and orange zest, is especially easy to make since it doesn't require a tart pan.
These cookies are unbelievably light, delicate and crisp. The secret is to let the cookie dough chill overnight before slicing and baking.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
One of Sera Pelle’s tricks for making these deep-chocolate vegan cupcakes so moist and rich: she mixes avocado and coconut oil into the batter in place of butter.
Sticky Oat-and-Pine-Nut Bars
These chewy, nutty, white-chocolate-dipped sweets are a little bit granola bar, a little bit trail mix. Pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez wanted to put his own imprint on the portable snacks, so he added a twist: a good dose of spicy black pepper.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream and Raspberries
Bill Yosses doubles the butter in the delectable lemon curd that tops these cupcakes.
Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans
Kat Kinsman tops her rich brownies with bacon and pecans. To enhance the smoky flavor, she mixes some of the bacon fat into the batter.
Creamy Peach Tart with Smoky Almond Crust
An almost-instant crust, made with vanilla wafer cookies and smoked almonds, is the secret to this simple and unusual tart.