19 Nostalgic Dessert Recipes Perfect for Graduation Parties

Nicole Austin

Graduation is one of those times in a parent’s life when it’s natural and meaningful to reflect and look back on the little moments and milestones along the way.

We fondly remember when our child was a baby, then a toddler - preschool seemed so old to us! Suddenly the whirlwind of grades keeps you on your toes until suddenly, without warning, it's graduation season.

Our kids might not write on the walls or watch Dora the Explorer marathons anymore. We may no longer know every character on Sesame Street and we traded toys on the floor for dishes that never make it to the sink, but we can certainly celebrate by reminiscing about the good old days.

These 19 delicious and nostalgic dessert recipes feel like the essence of childhood, making them perfect for serving at your big kid's graduation party.

1. Nutella Pop Tarts Recipe

These Nutella Pop Tarts are going to be a perfect graduation party treat for my oldest daughter, who is solely responsible for introducing everyone in our family to the joy of Nutella. I may have a couple more years before I have to whip these up for her, but anyone can appreciate the child-like joy of Pop Tarts!

2. Homemade Twix Cookie Pops Recipe

Twix is a familiar flavor that brings me back to Halloween with my kids. We all ate ours a different way and debated over the best method. (Obviously you eat the bottom first so you’re left with caramel and chocolate, but I digress.) These homemade Twix cookie pops are a super easy and tasty way to serve up treats.

3. Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe

If your kids love those almost sickeningly sweet frosted sugar cookies as much as mine do, these sugar cookie bars are the way to go. Do you remember when the bakery at the grocery store would give cookies out to kids? Wow, throwback! You’ll both be reminded of those toddler years with these colorful dessert bars.

4. Potato Chip Cookies Recipe

I can’t be the only parent whose children tried putting chips in everything. Layered in sandwiches or burgers, or even as the outermost part of their own sandwich creation, chips have been used to create little childhood recipes at my table as long as I can remember. These potato chip cookies boast a unique flavor and texture that everyone loves.

5. Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe

Chocolate and peanut butter is a combo that I think everyone can appreciate even if it isn’t their go-to. This peanut butter brownies recipe will give an extra kick to your brownies that will have you all coming back to the party table for more - the addition of peanut butter cups adds the perfect unexpected texture.

6. Banana Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe

This banana sheet cake topped with peanut butter frosting takes me back to the days of serving my kids peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Or to the current days of banana bread mysteriously disappearing overnight. I also love how easy sheet cakes are to prepare, bake, decorate and serve for parties.

7. No Bake Nutella Cheesecake Recipe

I love no-bake cheesecakes and this one is even better because it’s loaded with Nutella spread and topped with crumbled Ferrero Rocher candy and chocolate whipped cream. Show your grad that you remember their Nutella toast days with this super sweet cheesecake. Our no bake Nutella cheesecake recipe is a hit.

8. Gluten Free Cake Batter Fudge Recipe

“Birthday cake” flavored ice cream and candy, or similarly scented bath bombs and body sprays have been in my life for almost two decades now. This simple but adorable gluten free cake batter fudge receipe will add a splash of color to your dessert table and make you fondly reflect on that childhood gone by.

9. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars Recipe

Is there a mother alive out there that hasn’t made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich more times than they can count? Never mind cutting the crust off and deciding which direction to cut the bread - two triangles is my personal favorite. Memories! These peanut butter and jelly bars capture the magic in dessert form.

10. Cherry Chocolate Chip Poke Cake Recipe

The cherry on top of everything was my always my go-to. I remember getting adults at the table to hand over their bright red cherries to me. Then, suddenly, I was the adult, handing over my cherry. This “cherry on top” cherry chocolate chip poke cake recipe is refreshingly new while being comfortingly familiar.

11. Cookie Monster Brownies Recipe

The name says it all! Sesame Street has been part of just about every household for at least two generations now, and these Cookie Monster brownies are bound to take many of your guests back to a simpler time of counting, tying shoes, learning rhymes, and all those to die for snuggles we sorely miss.

12. Rocky Road Bars Recipe

Rocky Road ice cream is one of the first “sophisticated” flavors of ice cream that my kids ended up trying. We go through the standard strawberry, vanilla, chocolate phase and then suddenly they’re ready to try something new. In comes these Rocky Road bars, a flavor blend that just reminds you of childhood.

13. Mint Chocolate Brownie Cups Recipe

I have a son who loves anything mint chocolate, so these mint chocolate brownie cups will be perfect for his grauation celebration in just two more years! Is there a current or former Girl Scout in your life? I’ll forever be reminded of Thin Mints anytime I enjoy something mint-chocolate including this nostalgic dessert!

14. Oreo Brookie Mousse Cake Recipe

Oreos are a go-to treat in my home, simply because everyone loves them so much. Whether you double stuff, dunk, or just straight up devour a row before you know what hit you, Oreos are a much loved treat from childhood and beyond. This Oreo brookie mousse cake is a fancier, more adult way to bring them back to their days of cookies and cream treats.

15. Fruity Pebble Marshmallow Cookies Recipe

When I was a child, it became a camping tradition in my family to bring along Fruity Pebbles. I remember my younger cousin coming up to our pop up camper’s door early in the morning to knock and ask for her bowl of Pebbles! With these fond memories of my own, my kids have also learned to love this sweet, fruity breakfast cereal that tastes great mixed into these sweet, ooey gooey Fruity Pebble marshmallow cookies.

16. No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Pie Recipe

Peanut butter is such a childhood staple that there’s no doubt most everyone loves it! From sandwiches to dipping apple slices, peanut butter is one thing that’s on just about every child’s “yes” list. Now you can add it to your guest list with this no-bake peanut butter pie that will delight a crowd and save you time.

17. Banana Pudding Poke Cake Recipe

If banana pudding wasn’t the childhood star of any buffet you went to, what was? This easy to love dessert is transformed into a tasty, flavorful banana pudding poke cake topped with Nila wafers and it's sure to please a crowd. If you love banana cream pie or pudding, this cake is going to be perfect for you!

18. Drumstick Cake Recipe

Ice cream trucks, special trips to the store during summertime, riding your bike with one hand to devour your Drumstick cone - all of these delightful memories come to mind when you taste this replica cake with unique waffle cone frosting. Our Drumstick cake recipe is the perfect addition to any graduation party.

19. Skillet Brownies Recipe

Brownie sundaes have been a favorite dessert in my home for years - nothing compliments a hot brownie fresh from the oven, or in this case, skillet, more than a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. These skillet brownies are perfect for a nostalgic dessert that reminds them that finishing their dinner was well worth it!

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