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Serve up some semi-homemade sweet treats

No time to bake? No problem. Pastry chef Debra Racicot shares her tips for fooling your dinner guests. Check out the recipes.
/ Source: TODAY

You don't have to be a cook to dish up tasty desserts. Debra Racicot, executive pastry chef at New York's Gotham Bar and Grill, visited “Weekend Today” to show how you can combine fresh ingredients with specially selected store-bought items to create delicious desserts that taste like they were made from scratch.

New York Style Cheesecake

plain frozen New York style cheesecake with graham cracker crust1 pint fresh blueberries and 1 bag frozen blueberries1 orange1 lemon1 limesugarmint for garnishsmall ice cream scoop

Buy a cheesecake from your local supermarket (even a frozen cheesecake will do!) As well as the cheesecake, you can find frozen berries that can be defrosted and marinated for a fruit topping for the cheesecake. Using a cookie cutter or cylinder can, place cylinder over the center of the cheesecake and press down. Then using fresh blueberries, kiwis, pineapples (whatever is in season) or even frozen blueberries and fruit, scoop a tablespoon of fruit on top of the cheesecake and call it your own!

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients2 pints fresh local strawberries or bag of frozen strawberries1 Sara Lee brand frozen pound cake1 box wafer cookieswhipped cream in a tub and in a canister

Strawberry shortcake can be easily made with store-bought pound cake, wafer cookies and fruit. Purchase a frozen pound cake in your grocery store, slice the cake into 1/2 inch slices and then using a round can cut thin, round wedges of the cake.Place the wedge on a plate and add a layer of fresh or frozen strawberries to the top of the round wedge. Continue by adding another wedge of pound cake to the top of the strawberries, add a layer of whipped cream, another wedge of pound cake and some strawberries on top. Finally crumble wafer cookies and sprinkle on top of strawberries to complete and serve!

Petit fours (Brownies)
Petit fours are big at restaurants — everyone loves something small at the end of the meal, even if they do not want a full dessert.

1 box brownie mixfrostingZiploc bag for piping

Instead of baking the brownie mix in the traditional pan, bake them in a larger pan so that you get a sheet of thinner brownies. Once they are baked chill them completely and cut them into small squares or rectangles 1/2 inch in diameter. You can even use cookie cutters, or mini round circles.  Then buy store-bought frosting in any flavor. Add the frosting to a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.Take each piece of small brownie and pipe the store-bought icing onto the brownie and serve!If you don't have time to frost them, you can bake the brownies with white chocolate chips, nuts and/or little candies. After you cut them, dust with powdered sugar and serve them on your favorite platter, or mini plates, along with coffee at the end of the meal.

Layered Cake with Fruit

Ingredients1 frozen Pepperidge Farms layered cake (preferably vanilla flavored)1 bunch of mint for garnish2 pints raspberries4 ripe yellow peacheshoneybalsamic vinegar

Buy any layered cake in your grocery's freezer (Sara Lee, Pepperidge Farms). Any variety and any flavor works. Cut the layered cake into a wedge and cut off the back end to allow it to stand up like a triangle. Cut peaches and raspberries and put them into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and marinate the fruit. Set aside for one hour. Once marinated, add the fruit and its juices to the top of the layered cake wedge and serve.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredientslarge and small pre-made cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, gingersnap, peanut butter)1 roll of uncooked cookie dough1 pint ice cream (preferably Häagen-Dazs, vanilla flavored)1 ice cream scoop2 bags of regular-sized, semi-sweet chocolate chips2 bags of mini chocolate chips1 bag of Oreos1 container of sprinkles1 large bag of M&M candies (not peanut)

In your grocery store, buy any brand and flavor of cookie. Take two cookies and add a scoop of your favorite ice cream to the center of one cookie, place second cookie on top. Decorate the sides of the ice cream by rolling in melted chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles or crushed Oreos. Kids love to do this! Then place in the freezer to harden until ready to serve.