There are many perks of being an adult. But let’s be honest, being a kid is hard to beat. Recess, sleepovers, pizza Fridays, homework-free weekends… if only we could push rewind and kiss those bills buh-bye. Fortunately, there are many ways to bring the best of childhood to adulthood, especially when it comes to food.
Gummy bears are awesome, but wine gummy bears are where it’s at. And while mac and cheese from a box is certainly delightful, homemade mac and cheese with truffles is a million times better. So before you go yearning for the years of summer camp, give these recipes a go. They’re really and truly the best of both worlds.
Just when you thought grilled cheese couldn’t get any better, it joins forces with pizza to make all our comfort food dreams come true. First, the bread is coated with roasted garlic mascarpone and herbs, then it’s topped with a three-cheese blend (provolone, mozzarella, and Parmesan), pressed together, and melted with love. Say cheese!
Were you cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? Then you’ll certainly be crazy about these homemade mocha puffs. Making cereal may sound like a drag, but it’s as easy as whipping up dough, rolling it into grape-size balls, and baking for 15 minutes. Totally worth it and totally delicious.
A Cheez-It recipe without cheese? We were skeptics too, until we downed two batches. (It was just like old times—minus the gluten and myriad ingredients we can’t pronounce.) Nutritional yeast gives the chickpeas a potent cheesy flavor, and cayenne adds a subtle kick and touch of classic Cheez-It color. We can’t wait for the white cheddar version.
Giant humans deserve giant marshmallows. But the adult-size mallows are hardly the best part of this recipe. The goods are pressed together with none other than waffle cookies and get jazzed up with homemade fruit preserves. The recipe calls for milk chocolate, but we think it’s even better with dark.
Bite-size chicken tastes good at all ages. The secret to the perfect crunch in this recipe is the combination of panko and Parmesan cheese. The chopping, mixing, coating, and baking may sound like a lot of steps, but they take only 20 minutes to make from start to finish—and that includes whipping up the spicy ketchup, which is arguably the best part.
Can’t decide between pancakes and waffles? What about banana and chocolate chips? We say don’t choose. You’re an adult, and you deserve it all. These healthy waffles are made with whole-wheat flour, spices, a touch of sugar, mashed banana, dark chocolate chips, and protein-rich eggs. We love using almond milk instead of dairy milk and coconut oil in place of the butter.
We know: Truffles are expensive. But it’s actually pretty easy to find wallet-friendly truffle oils and butters, which are perfect for this fancy spin on mac and cheese. Mini gnocchi stand in for classic elbows, and cheddar and Swiss cheese combine for the ultimate sauce. We’ll never stop loving boxed mac and cheese, but there are few things better than the crispy topping you get from baking (and making!) it yourself.
Fruit by the Foot got a seriously healthy makeover. This recipe uses only real fruit and the tiniest bit of honey. Simply purée the fruit (separately), spread on a silicone mat (or dehydrator, if you have one), swirl, bake, cool, and cut into strips. Since baking can take up to eight hours, save this recipe for a rainy day.
Chips don’t have the healthiest reputation. But when you make them yourself, you can control exactly what goes in them—and on them. This recipe sticks to the basics: thinly sliced potato and some oil (we like olive). Simply bake and top with cooked garlic, thyme, and Parmesan. The result is a much healthier and more satisfying snack than store-bought.
What would you do for a Klondike bar? Sure, you could run to the store and grab one. (Oh, the effort!) But why do that when you can make a batch at home? This recipe uses homemade banana “ice cream” (it’s dairy-free and super simple to make) with almond butter swirls and a healthy dark chocolate shell whose sweetness comes from pure maple syrup. Next time someone asks what you’d do for Klondike bar, tell them you’ll make it yourself.
PB&Js are the quintessential childhood meal. While they’re certainly timeless as is—especially if you opt for sourdough bread and homemade jam—we love taking the best of its flavors and dumping them into our favorite adult breakfast: oatmeal. We love crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jam, or almond butter and blackberry or blueberry jam, but it tastes great with just about any combo.
This recipe definitely floats our boat. Earl grey tea, lemon, blackberries, and lavender simple syrup combine to make a foamy, decadent soda that pairs perfectly with vanilla ice cream. To make it even more adult, add a splash of whiskey.
Sugary cereal is now on the naughty list, but that doesn’t mean your favorite cereal memories shouldn’t be revisited. Yep, we’re talking about cereal milk. Instead of soaking Frosted Flakes, this recipe uses heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk to mimic the flavor. The ice cream is mixed and topped with cornflakes to stay true to its cereal name, and let us tell you: It’s everything (except healthyish, so make this when you want to treat yourself).
Topping pizza with burrata, arugula, and jalapeños make it adult, right? We think so too. This recipe couldn’t be simpler: Preheat the oven, roll the dough, divide the sauce, cover with cheese and pepperoni, bake, add the crushed red peppers and arugula, and eat your adult heart out. And just because it’s adult doesn’t mean you can’t use store-bought dough and sauce.
Do you remember mixing Hershey’s chocolate syrup in a cup of milk? Those were the days… Fortunately, chocolate milk is still totally awesome. And this recipe makes it healthy too. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is blended with raw cashews, cacao and maca powders, dates, cinnamon, and ginger to create a thick, rich, dairy-free milk that is super satisfying. We got milk.
There’s a reason bánh mì is popping up everywhere: The flavor is savory, the texture is crunchy, and the colors are out of this world. Oh, and it tastes pretty darn good too. Spiff up classic hot dogs with Sriracha, thinly sliced cucumber, do chua (pickled carrots and daikon), cilantro, jalapeños, and a touch of mayo. Mustard and ketchup are so last season.
So this is what popping champagne is all about. Make these refreshing pops by mixing extra dry brut champagne (#classy) with grapefruit juice, grapefruit vodka, and all-natural sweetener. They’re so delicious, you’ll want to slurp up the whole batch. But since we’re adults and oh so mature, try to stick to one.
We’ll be honest: This recipe requires a bit of dedication. But the end result is so darn good, it’s worth every chop, trim, and stir. First sauté leeks, spinach, and mushrooms, then layer the whole-wheat tortilla with goat cheese, veggies, and a squirt of Sriracha, and finally, cover with another tortilla. Your parents were right—sometimes being an adult requires a little patience.
Making homemade chocolate sauce means you get to clean your bowl. And no, we’re not referring to doing the dishes. This recipe also calls for homemade ice cream, but it's just as good with store-bought sorbet. The candied smoked almonds provide the perfect crunch and are an excellent stand-in for traditional chopped peanuts.
Wine in a glass is excellent. But wine gummy bears are quite possibly the best thing to happen to adulthood. Stick to fruity undertones and steer clear of full-bodied varieties, as they can be a bit overpowering in bear form. We also love using orange wine. Taste the (vino) rainbow.