Hannah Klinger
February 25, 2015

If a friend asked you to make something for a bake sale the next day, what would immediately pop into your head? It wouldn't be a passion fruit pavlova or hibiscus flan, most likely, but something easy and reliable, ready to make with what’s already in your pantry.

These are recipes that are beloved in their truest form. A browned-butter flake-salted chocolate chip cookie is great, but so is the classic, simple-as-can-be version. You can gussy up your quick bread with a rum caramel glaze and four kinds of nuts, or you can stick to good ol’ banana and still impress. Think your apple pie needs a Moroccan-spiced filling and a tea-smoked crust? It probably doesn't. Old school, unfussy desserts satisfy that kid-in-you craving, no matter when you grew up.

Tried and true dessert recipes should still be the best versions of themselves. As Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame might say, “a little black dress is great, but it better be the best little black dress out there!” For this, I head back to the Cooking Light archives. 2010 doesn't seem like that long ago, but in the life of a food magazine, it’s almost ancient history. This weekend I made two recipes from that year: my favorite banana bread (to use up some overripe fruit) and reader favorite chocolate cherry cookies (to use up the last dregs of my flour store—this uses just 2/3 cup!) for tea with friends.

What are the not-so-recent Cooking Light dishes you make again and again, and why do you love them? Let us know in the comments.

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