Five Fancy Foods Anyone Can Make

It’s no secret that I make people like me by bribing them with food. Want to impress the people at your next potluck? Here are five seemingly-complicated foods that nearly anyone can make.

1. Ice cream cake

One of my biggest life accomplishments was making this cake.

I used to make things for Ben & Jerry’s, and all you really need is time and some freezer space. You literally just spoon and smooth slightly softened ice cream into a cake pan. Once frozen solid, it pops out easily after you run some warm water along the pan, and you can frost it with homemade whipped cream (also very easy: heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, hand-mixer, done).

Here’s a recipe, but you don’t have to add brownie between layers! A solid ice cream cake, maybe with a cookie or a brownie base, is both easy and decadent.

2. Acai / smoothie bowls

I’ve never actually photographed one of mine yet so here’s a picture from Brenda Godinez of unsplash

Admittedly, these aren’t really a potluck food, but they are pretty, quick to make, impressive on your instagram feed, and honestly really nourishing after a long day. The gist of it is simple: acai packet, frozen fruit, banana, liquid of some kind (almond milk, water, etc.) — blend and top with fun things. You can add protein powder if you want to make it a little more filling/nutritious, but they’re excellent on their own. I’d recommend a drizzle of honey and, if you can get them, using the frozen acai packets from Trader Joe’s.

Here’s a recipe, but honestly, you can get very creative with it.

3. Roll cakes

See! I’ve actually done it, so seriously, anyone can.

This is definitely the most time-consuming and messy recipe on the list, but the result is beautiful and absolutely worth it. It’s a little more challenging than the others – roll cake gets its airiness from whipped egg whites, and over-mixing can make it flat. But it’s also not nearly as hard as it seems.

Here’s a recipe, though I’d recommend adding some fresh fruit on top of the whipped cream before rolling it up for something both extra delicious and extremely cute.

4. Bagels

You can do this! Kind of!

The real inspirations for this post are the beautiful and shockingly easy bagels I made with my roommate this weekend. Despite the fact that it involves yeast and kneading and boiling as well as baking, the steps are easy to follow and the results are delicious. I plan on experimenting in the future with different additions (and food coloring!).

Here’s the recipe I tried this weekend, and here’s one for rainbow bagels. I’d recommend using gel food coloring if you have it.

5. Cream puffs

Isn’t it cute! I brought these to a dinner party and was showered in compliments. The whipped cream filling is coffee flavored.

The outer shell of a creampuff is made from choux pastry, which sounds fancy and involves partially cooking the dough in a pot but, like all things on this list, really isn’t as complicated as it seems. The inner part of a cream puff can be more difficult. You usually see them filled with pastry cream, which is made by adding warm milk to egg yolks and can too easily turn into scalded milk or gross scrambled eggs. For an easier version, fill your cream puffs with fresh whipped cream instead (which is also easily flavored) or turn them into profiteroles by filling with ice cream. For extra fanciness, dip the outer shells into melted chocolate and top with sprinkles.

Here’s a recipe, and here’s one for whipped cream.

And there you have it! Five easy-ish foods that will definitely impress your friends and relatives. If you make any of these things you should a) absolutely Instagram it and b) absolutely tag us – @howtolearnyourtwenties – so that I can see!

Have fun!

xoxo, Kim

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image courtesy of calum

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