Mini Desserts to Wow a Crowd

Author: Alecia Pirulis


Dessert (Photo credit: peter.clark)

The problem with baking a cake, pie, or casserole for a dinner party is you can’t really sample the result before it lands on the table, guests gathered around and the hostess at-the-ready with her serving knife. You hold your breath, hoping you added the right amount of cinnamon … that it baked long enough for the center to be done … that you didn’t accidentally add salt instead of sugar because the containers were sitting next to each other on the counter, you were in a hurry, and you just aren’t sure … it can be a tense, nervous moment waiting for the first bites to be taken.

That stress doesn’t occur when you prepare cookies, where you can sample one and no one is the wiser. But cookies aren’t exactly show-stopping meal-enders, so what do you do when you want to “wow” the crowd with a great dessert – but you also want to make sure that it really is a great dessert? Take a lesson from the “slider” craze and make your desserts mini!

For some reason, people love mini food. Perhaps it is because the bite-size morsels don’t pack a guilty punch or because they are more portable for those mix-and-mingle parties. Or maybe it’s just because they’re cute. As the cook, you can sample the results before you load them up on a tray and pass them around to friends and family, adding to their appeal.

Cupcakes are the most famous of the mini desserts. These tiny cakes have soared in popularity recently, even showing up at weddings. Cupcakes are cute and delicious – ideal for adults and kids alike. Even for those who don’t cook often, cupcakes are easy to prepare (you can even use a boxed mix … shhh!).

For a slightly challenging cupcake, try making these Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze. While these are a little more elegant than regular cupcakes, they aren’t as difficult as you may think – you still use a box of cake mix.

Cheesecake is something that can really be hit or miss – if the cream cheese is too cold, you could end up with a lumpy cheesecake, and you won’t know it until you or your hostess cuts into it. Don’t sweat through dinner, worrying about your dessert – make mini cheesecakes instead.

These adorable Mini Gingerbread Houses are sure to be a hit at your next get-together. If you are having friends and family over to your apartment on Christmas Eve, serve these on mugs of hot chocolate and get ready for the “oohs” and “aahs.”

If you can’t cook but still want to impress your friends and family, get some refrigerated crescent rolls and a bag of Granny Smith apples from the store. Roll out the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, brush the dough with melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Pull the dough apart along the perforations according to package directions. Core and slice the apples and place one apple slice on each triangle of dough. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and sugar and roll the triangles up. Lightly dust the tops with more cinnamon and sugar then pop them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 12-14 minutes (until they are golden brown). There — easy and fast Mini Apple Pies!

With the last weekend before Christmas fast approaching, you’re probably gearing up for a few holiday parties. Don’t be intimidated about bringing a dessert to share – just think mini!