16 of Our Favorite Sweet Snacks

Chocolate-Buttermilk Snack Cakes
Photo: © David Malosh

Do sweet snacks like rich puddings and decadent cakes call your name in the middle of the night? Are crispy shortbread cookies on your mind for a midday snack attack? Level up your sweet snack game by making dessert treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. We rounded up our favorite sweet snacks for midnight feasters, afternoon snackers, and dessert-time lovers. Check out recipes like thick and velvety Ravo pudding, rich and creamy Chocolate-Buttermilk Snack Cakes, and buttery, nutty Salted Tahini-Chocolate Shortbread. Read on for these dessert snack recipes and more.

01 of 16

Banana-Chocolate Chip Snack Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana–Chocolate Chip Snack Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting
Antonis Achilleos

The fruity banana batter is bolstered by browned butter for caramel-like richness that's echoed by the butterscotch notes of brown sugar. Chocolate chips make an appearance, too, and even though their role is small, it's impactful — especially if you frost and cut the cake before it's completely cool and the chocolate is still a little gooey.

02 of 16

Birdseed Rice Crispy Treats

Birdseed Marshmallow Crispy Treats Recipe
Photo by Johnny Autry / Food and Prop Styling by Charlotte Autry

Kim Alter's original recipe featured a "birdseed" mixture of puffed grain and brown rice; we riffed on her idea and added some toasted and raw seeds and flaky sea salt to add even more layers of flavor to these updated classic treats.

03 of 16


Ravo Recipe
Eva Kolenko

This creamy semolina pudding, traditional to Parsi cuisine, gets its velvety texture from gentle, constant stirring and a careful eye on the heat; it should bubble when cooking over high heat but not come to a full boil. Sweetened condensed milk—writer Sabrina Medora's grandmother's riff—and a simple whole milk–and–egg mixture thicken the pudding and add a creamy, sweet flavor.

04 of 16

Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars

Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars
© Ryan Liebe

These honey-flavored cereal bars with puffed rice and toasted oats, from "Real Snacks" by Lara Ferroni, make a great substitute for store-bought energy bars. They can be made with almost any mix of nuts and dried fruit.

05 of 16

Air Fryer Brownies

Air Fryer Brownies
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

With the help of an air fryer, these gooey, fudgy brownies — baked in ramekins and reminiscent of a molten chocolate cake — are less than an hour away. Adding espresso powder to the batter helps bring out the chocolate flavor, as does the crunchy sea salt garnish at the end. Serve them on their own, or with your favorite ice cream. Better yet, top them with berries, whipped cream, chopped nuts or caramel sauce to make a brownie sundae.

06 of 16

Almond-and-Plum Snack Cake

Almond and Plum Snack Cake Recipe
Photo by Johnny Autry / Food and Prop Styling by Charlotte Autry

This snack cake catches the eye with its ripe red plums, toasted almonds, and glistening sugary crust, but the tender cake hidden underneath is the real star. The moist cake has a tight crumb, but a trio of butter, sour cream, and chunks of thick, sweet almond paste keep it exceptionally tender.

07 of 16

Salted Tahini-Chocolate Shortbread

Salted Tahini Shortbread with Chocolate Swirl
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

These buttery, nutty, salty shortbread cookies have enough structure to hold together when you pick them up, but when you take a bite, they are meltingly tender. The salt compliments the tanginess of the chocolate and brings out the nuttiness from the tahini.

08 of 16

Cannabis-Infused Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Cannabis-Infused Pretzel Cookies
Kitchen Toke Inc.

These chewy, malty chocolate cookies are ideal for chocolate-covered pretzel fans. Since the recipe calls for olive oil instead of butter, the dough will be quite soft when it's first mixed but will firm up to the perfect scoopable consistency after a couple of hours in the fridge. If you'd like to skip the Cannabis-Infused Olive Oil, just swap in an additional amount of regular olive oil. Note: Cannabis regulation continues to evolve across the United States and around the world; please consult your local laws before sourcing it.

09 of 16

Alfajores de Maizena (Sandwich Cookies Filled with Dulce de Leche)

Alfajores de Maizena (Sandwich Cookies Filled with Dulce de Leche)
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Extra-thick dulce de leche between two buttery cookies rolled in shredded coconut all add up to the perfect bite in these alfajores de maizena. Argentinian League of Kitchens instructor Mirta Rinaldi learned how to make these melt-in-your-mouth sandwich cookies from her mom. One of the most popular cookies in Argentina, they're found in all sizes at bakeries there and are picked up by the dozens for special occasions and celebrations year-round. Because of the generous amount of cornstarch in the dough, the cookies remain tender and soft after baking. Seek out dulce de leche repostero, which is made for pastry and baking, for this recipe; it's extra thick, with a firm body that won't squeeze out past the edges of the cookies in between bites.

10 of 16

Butterscotch Pudding Parfait with Gingersnap Crumble

Joanne Chang's Butterscotch Pudding Parfait
Tara Donne

Classic butterscotch pudding is enhanced with tangy whipped crème fraîche and warm, spicy gingersnap crumble to make a beautiful parfait.

11 of 16

Red Wine Chocolate Snack Cake

Red Wine Chocolate Snack Cake
Justin Walker

We all cook with red wine, adding a glug or two to enrich pan sauces and stews. Here, our culinary director at large Justin Chapple makes the case for baking with it as well. Cabernet Sauvignon adds fruity notes that brighten this chocolate cake, which is great for a midday snack or casual dessert.

12 of 16

Dried Apple Hand Pies

super flaky apple hand pies
Victor Protasio

As the dried apple slices in each of these delicate hand pies rehydrate and cook, they transform into a saucy, concentrated filling. To create a smoother, rather than chunky, apple filling, smash apples with the side of a spoon while stirring.

13 of 16

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug
© Abby Hocking

Are you craving a warm chocolate chip cookie? The fastest way to feed that hunger might just be this microwavable chocolate chip cookie in a mug. In less than ten minutes, you go from raw ingredients to warm, snack-filled bliss for one.

14 of 16

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

three strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

These sweet and tangy Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting pair juicy, fresh berries with vibrantly colored and concentrated freeze-dried strawberries for the ultimate summer treat. Processing the dried strawberries with a touch of sugar helps to keep them from clumping together so they evenly disperse in the batter. A simple, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting keeps these moist and tender cakes well-balanced and beautifully decorated.

15 of 16

Sweet Corn and Bourbon Bread Pudding

Sweet Corn and Bourbon Bread Pudding
Victor Protasio

For this fun, Southern-inspired dessert, Top Chef Season 16 winner Kelsey Barnard Clark uses entire ears of corn — broiling corn kernels and using corn milk from the cobs — to give her bread pudding recipe a summery, fresh-corn flavor. A topping of caramel popcorn adds a sweet crunch and whimsy. Lime zest in the crème anglaise and a splash of bourbon keep it from leaning too sweet.

16 of 16

Chocolate-Buttermilk Snack Cakes

Chocolate-Buttermilk Snack Cakes
© David Malosh

In her update of the classic chocolate Hostess cupcake, Chicago pastry chef Mindy Segal uses mascarpone in the rich and creamy filling.

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