Sweets Table, Dessert Buffet, Dessert Bar, they all mean the same thing. A bevy of sweet treats laid out for your enjoyment. There is so much emphasis today on living a healthy lifestyle (and rightly so). However, that doesn’t mean that you should shy away from desserts. We’ve all heard the phrase “Everything in moderation” and it couldn’t be truer when it comes to desserts. In recent years this trend has become very popular and it shows no sign of going away. Thank goodness because baking and creating a lovely dessert buffet is one of my favorite things to do.
A desert buffet can be a few offerings on a coffee table or an entire room at a platinum event. Can you imagine an entire room filled with every sweet treat imaginable!!
Depending on the scale of the offerings there are a few things to keep in mind. It goes without saying that the desserts should taste good. If not what’s the point. Please don’t feel that endless hours in the kitchen are required either. As much as I love baking from scratch sometimes a few time (and sanity saving) shortcuts are in order.
Boxed cake mixes can be enhanced to sometimes unimaginable levels. Use store bought or bakery cookies as a blank canvas to tie in to a theme or create take home favors. Gilded cookies can be readied in a snap! Melt chocolate or candy coating in the microwave and dip half or the whole cookie to create another layer of flavor. Decorate with sprinkles or sanding sugar.
Think of items that can be served and displayed with the least amount of fuss and are easy to handle. Cupcakes both large and small are easy to pick up with the protection of the papers they are baked in. For an extra level of sanitation, serving tongs can still be provided. Whole cakes are beautiful to display but can often be messy once those initial cuts are made. If the dessert bar is at a wedding reception more than likely there will be an attendant present to assist with serving.
Candy displayed in jars and bowls bring out the kid in all of us. A scoop and treat bag make serving a breeze. That being said, if you want to color coordinate the candy to the theme it can be expensive. Most bulk candy companies have minimum purchase requirements. So if you don’t want several pounds of neon green gumballs staring you in the face for the rest of the year, rethink that option.
With the popularity of rustic and shabby chic themes, pies are making a comeback. In keep with ease of serving and sanitation pies baked in mini tins or hand pies work best on buffets.
Do you know what else is bathing in dessert limelight these days? Doughnuts. Granted making these for a crowd could be a daunting task but a quick trip to the bakery or doughnut franchise can make short work of this. Once again, you can buy them plain and doll them up by making sandwiches from them. Doughnuts piled high in pyramid fashion on a tray or platter make an gorgeous presentation.
Beverages are equally important when serving dessert and it’s great to have options. No matter the variety of sweets being offered water is a great staple to have on hand. Big boxed stores offer discounts on large amounts. If your guest list is small a case or two from your local grocery store will do. With water, soda, and juice, individual bottles or cartons are the easiest to set out and replace. Patterned paper straws are still all the rage and give you another chance to coordinate the overall feel of the buffet. An alternative to single bottles are beverage dispensers. Coffee, tea and milk are the typical go-withs, but may require easy and reliable access to heat and refrigeration.
There are lots of delicious choices to be made. Once those decisions are made it’s time to think about how to display them. Stay tuned!!