How I Plan a Dessert Party

I used to host a dessert party every year. Until I didn’t. In those years, I talked about having a dessert party. I thought about what I’d serve. And modify the dishes as we moved from winter to spring to summer to fall. Until I realized that I wouldn’t have a dessert party that year. I’d have it the next. It was always just around the corner.

This is the magic of the dessert party. It’s always just around the corner.

But this year, dear hearts, I’ve gotten closer than ever. I have a date and have sent invites out. And I have a few tips to make this fun for you as it is for your guests.

Tip #1. Whatever you can do ahead, do ahead.

Be good to future you. You can purchase desserts in advance, you can make things from scratch, but do as much as possible in the time leading up to the party. I like to make things that can keep or can be frozen, so as much as possible, the morning of the party I’m smugly and relaxedly sipping on an espresso thinking about my hair.

Here’s my menu:
Peanut Butter Truffles (Make ahead — even weeks in advance.)
Cherry Hand pies  (Make and freeze. And darlings, I’m using canned filling)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie  (Make and freeze.)
Cakelets! (These I make from scratch the week of. It shows. But I use this adorable pan)
Fresh Fruit

I’ll also serve some real food: Veggie and Meat empanadas I’ve also made ahead and frozen that I can have in the oven as guests arrive. I also make pigs in blanket and keep heat them up with the rest. I will likely also throw some chips in a bowl and serve bread with soft cheeses and this tumaca sauce which you should buy immediately because it is delicious.

You might hate baking. In this case, go to your grocer, and buy a range of everything they own and just make sure to slice it up before folks get to your house. You want a fork-only experience — something people don’t have to think too hard about as they are chatting each other up and having fun.

2. Have an entree dessert

This is a special dessert — something that adds a boost of energy after the party has long gotten started. For small groups, i’ve done molten chocolate cakes. But for a larger groups, I’ll need to go simpler. I’ll either do:

Skillet smores
Ice cream truffles 

3. Use up all that Champagne from New Year’s.

When you host at New Year’s, you’re bound to get many, many bottles of Champagne. The only responsible thing to do is to use these in Champagne cocktails. I’m rubbish at real mixology, so I depend on ready made syrups that are simple and make everyone confident enough to be their own bartender.

Grapefruit Hibiscus, from Morris Kitchen
Blueberry Finn, from American Juice Company

Anyway, this helps you streamline the spirits at your party, if you don’t know your rums from your whiskeys. And many of these mixers work with those spirits, too, so everyone can feel fancy.

4. Enjoy it.

Dessert parties are about fun. There’s no reason to have one. It’s just an excuse to have people over and get their feet under your table. The moment you’re stressing out is the moment you are doing this wrong. This isn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas. There are no expectations of what a dessert party is supposed to be. Just give yourself a chance to have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

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