The summer internship is a rite of passage for college students, but it’s one that comes with a unique set of challenges. Securing an internship (paid or unpaid) at any company can be competitive, let alone somewhere that aligns with your career goals and dreams. 

Once you actually snag that coveted position, you might find that your internship was everything you could have hoped for, or that you spent more time on coffee runs than you expected. Luckily, there’s a surefire way to make all your effort worth it: leaving a memorable impression on your way out. It's important to keep your professional relationships strong, and in my opinion, the best and easiest way to do so is with food.

By bringing in a plate of treats at the end of your internship, you'll remind your boss of how thoughtful and gracious you’ve been all summer, and make the rest of the office sad to see you go. This small gesture doesn’t have to be a big deal; focus on food that is simple, inexpensive to make, and easy to bring to the office.

Here are 12 recipes for work that will cement a place in your boss’ heart forever, or at least until you need a rec letter.

1. Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

goody, cake, candy, pastry, cookie, sweet, chocolate
Katherine Carroll

A can of pumpkin and a box of chocolate cake mix is the easiest way to leave your internship on a good note. While these vegan muffins couldn’t be simpler to make, they also travel well. Unlike cupcakes, there’s no need to worry about keeping them upright to avoid a frosting catastrophe. Also, who wouldn't appreciate a reminder that PSL season is quickly approaching? 

2. Blueberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

cookie, blueberry, chocolate
Spoon Csu

For those who like to show off their baking skills, these cookies are the way to go. They need more than two ingredients, but most of them are probably already in your pantry. Blueberries are always fitting for a summer treat and take this otherwise ordinary oatmeal cookie recipe from basic to something a bit more creative.  

3. Sweet and Salty Magic Bars with Brownie Crust

candy, chocolate, fruitcake, sweet, cake
Elizabeth Budd

So you tried your best to bake a pan of brownies, but life got in the way. Sh*t happens. Instead of throwing out that sad, overcooked block of chocolate, whip up some magic bars. This recipe turns your brownie mishap into a crust for pretzels, M&Ms, and other sweet things your coworkers are sure to love. 

4. Oatmeal Carmelitas

pastry, cake, cookie, chocolate, candy, meat, sweet
Maggie Rippeto

Oatmeal Carmelitas are so. Damn. Easy. Not to mention full of chocolate and caramel flavor. They're also a great way to use up the bottle of caramel ice cream topping that seemed like a great idea in the grocery store but you never actually put on ice cream. You know who you are. 

5. Vegan Chocolate Beet Cake

candy, mousse, dairy product, pastry, cake, cream, sweet, chocolate
Rael Hanus

If your boss is all about that vegan life or simply trying to be more health-conscious, this chocolate beet cake will make you an instant favorite in their book. The beet juice creates a super moist texture, but the cake still tastes like chocolate instead of veggies. I say win-win. 

6. Asian Chex Mix

chicken, rice, vegetable, meat
Elise Takahama

If your coworkers are constantly bombarding the break room with desserts, a savory snack will be a welcome change of pace. Try a chex mix recipe that brings to mind Asian fusion cuisine. The secret is half a jar of Nori Goma furikake, a Japanese rice seasoning. Trust me, it's delicious. 

7. Chocolate Covered Candy Pretzels

peanut, chocolate
Isabelle Langheim

With the prevalence of allergies, chocolate covered nuts are risky, but chocolate covered fruit doesn’t have a long shelf life. That's where chocolate covered candy pretzels save the day. If you use a variety of candy toppings, you’re bound to find your boss’ favorite. 

8. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

muffin, candy, goody, pastry, cake, chocolate, cookie, sweet
Kirby Barth

Banana bread is such a classic. Banana chocolate chip muffins are even better since they are already portioned and don’t require utensils. This recipe is also a bit healthier through the use of Splenda and whole wheat flour. 

9. Boozy Chocolate Rum Cake

chocolate cake, cake, goody, sweet, cream, milk, candy, chocolate
Hayden Carder

If you’re tryna prove how ~complex~ and ~mature~ your palate is by cooking with alcohol, try chocolate rum cake. But obviously, use your best judgement here. If your relationship with your boss is more on the formal side or you’re under 21, maybe pass these up for now. After all, you don’t want to make the wrong lasting impression. 

10. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Coffee Cake

goody, candy, pastry, cake, sweet, chocolate, cookie
Alejandra Fernandez

Dietary restrictions can be really rough if you don’t have some great alternatives. If you know your boss can’t eat gluten, dairy, or sugar, here’s a life-saver in the form of a coffee cake. Plus, imagine how you’ll make their day when you show up with the perfect addition to their morning cup of coffee or tea. 

11. Nutella Brownies

ice cream, ice, coffee, caramel, cream, chocolate
Steven Shaltiel

Three ingredients, three steps — baking might not be so hard after all, as long as you’re making Nutella brownies. Bringing these to the office are sure to win you some major brownie points. Pun fully intended. 

12. Caramel Popcorn

caramel, wheat, kettle corn, cereal, corn, popcorn
Stephanie Marchuk

I dare you to find me one person who doesn’t like popcorn. I’m convinced that these people don’t exist. Making your own caramel corn is as simple as making a bowl of microwaveable popcorn and adding a homemade caramel sauce. It's simple, but shows you can make a lot out of a little. What boss could resist?

No matter how your summer internship went, it’s always appropriate to thank your boss. Even if you give them something that doesn’t happen to be their favorite food, they won’t forget the effort you made. 

And yes, food is a great touch, but be sure to include a handwritten thank you note, too. Then, remember to update your LinkedIn profile and connect with your boss and coworkers. If you nail the gracious farewell, you just might be joining them later as a full-fledged employee.