Use Sugar Cookie Dough As The Base For Easy Mini Tart Cups

Like the quintessential little black dress (LBD) many of us keep in our closets, it's important to have an easy dessert you can whip up at a moment's notice. This mini tart "recipe" is not only adorable but also versatile to suit any filling you like. Gone are the days of rolling and cutting out sugar cookies. We used store-bought sugar cookie dough as the base for an easy mini tart cup that you'll make on repeat.

Mini tart cups come together in under an hour, with most of the time dedicated to letting them cool. All you need is a muffin tin (regular-sized or mini), a package of pre-made sugar cookie dough, a jar of your favorite jam or spread, and toppings to garnish. Simply divide the dough evenly, filling each muffin cavity with the same amount. Bake them until golden brown, and then let them cool in the pan until firm. Once they are cooled, pipe or spoon your favorite filling onto the center of each cup and top with your favorite garnish. You can keep the dessert simple by using a jar of lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut spread, or creamy peanut butter and garnishing with a few fresh berries. But that's just the beginning.

Additional mini tart cup ideas

You'll need a math wiz to figure out how many variations of this dessert there are. The tarts can be made in different sizes, using several methods, and in a variety of flavors. For reference, one 16.5-ounce package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough makes roughly 12 tarts using a regular muffin tin and 24 tarts using a mini muffin tin. Ready for some inspiration?

If you want to create a deeper tart to accommodate more filling, try this muffin tin cookie cup hack using the same ingredients. Invert a metal muffin tin and lightly spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Silicone is too flimsy and won't produce perfect-looking tarts, so save them for cupcakes. Form the cookie dough along the bottom and sides of every other muffin cup to ensure the tarts don't stick together. Bake until golden brown and allow them to cool before removing. 

To make the mini tart cups more festive, roll the sugar cookie dough in sprinkles before placing it on the tin. While sugar cookies are universally loved, the refrigerated and baking sections of most grocery stores have additional cookie flavors you can use. This dessert is equally delicious with chocolate chip, peanut butter, or molasses cookie dough. You may even find products with crushed cookies or cereal mixed into the dough. If not, check the pantry and make it yourself.

Tart filling suggestions

Decorating is definitely the best part of the "recipe." This dessert gives you the freedom to use another store-bought item to top the tarts or whip up a no-bake filling to suit your cravings. Scan the supermarket's refrigerated section for yogurt or pudding, then top each two-biter with a little whipped cream (homemade or directly from the can) before serving.

If you want a fruity dessert, use pie filling already sweetened and spiced. Depending on the season, you can customize the tarts using seasonal fruit by simply opening a can. Top them with whipped cream, or use a mini scoop to garnish the tart with a small spoon of vanilla ice cream.

This is also perfect for a party where you can create a self-serve dessert buffet. Guests who don't like fruit desserts can have an ice cream sundae using the tarts as edible bowls. Offer them different toppings like sprinkles, hot fudge, nuts, and, of course, a cherry.

For a semi-homemade dessert, beat room-temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract until smooth to create mini cheesecakes. Add cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate for a no-bake chocolate cheesecake tart. For a no-bake key lime pie, combine a can of sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and lime zest. Just don't forget the garnish to make them complete.