How to Host a Dessert Party

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Invite friends and family members over for a sweet treat or two by hosting a dessert party. This theme lends itself well to a short evening affair, full of mingling, nibbles and good company -- and it doesn't require you to cook a full meal. Prepare the desserts in advance to ensure that you're ready to host a full house of guests with a sweet tooth.

Figure Out the Details

  • Before you start baking, determine the specifics for your party. Because it's a dessert party, invite guests to come by after dinner -- around 7 p.m. is ideal because it gives you time to taste and visit before it gets too late. Spread the word via electronic invitation or, if you're celebrating a special occasion, through a formal paper invitation issued three to four weeks in advance. Ask guests to RSVP at least a week in advance so you know how many desserts to prepare. Miniature desserts will look puny on your full-sized dinner plates, so invest in dessert-sized disposable serving ware, as well as plenty of toothpicks and cocktail napkins.

Pick a Theme

  • While a theme isn't completely necessary, it helps you narrow down recipes from a abundance of dessert choices. You might be throwing a dessert party for your child's birthday, a holiday get-together or an adults-only housewarming party. In each case, it can give you a direction to go when it comes to picking treats. If you don't want to do all the baking yourself, host a potluck dessert party. Each guest brings their favorite confection; assign them categories such as chocolate, fruit and pies so they don't all bring the same dessert. Turn it into a contest by having guests vote on their favorite treat.

Preparing the Desserts

  • Aim to prepare at least three pieces of dessert -- whether it's one cookie, a bite of brownie or a slice of cake -- per person, recommends "Top Chef: Just Desserts" winner Yigit Pura on Sunset.com. It might seem like a lot, but it's better to have too much than not enough. Do plenty of advanced prep work, freezing dough or baked goods when necessary. Many dessert recipes can be prepared in advance, such as cookies, which can be frozen for up to one month. Rather than offering full-sized treats, bake miniature desserts such as mini cupcakes, small cookies and bite-sized brownies. If you serve a pie or cake, portion the slices out onto individual plates. Offer just a few savory snacks among all the sugar so the guests can refresh their palate. Options include pretzels, cheese and popcorn; simply tuck a plate or bowl or two among the desserts.

Beverage Pairings

  • Offer both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages -- if it's an adult fete -- at your dessert party. Non-alcoholic options include lemonade, iced tea and, of course, milk for those cookies. Offer dessert-inspired beers, such as chocolate stouts and pumpkin ales, as well as wines that pair well with sweets. Williams-Sonoma recommends pairing chocolate with port or cabernet sauvignon, a sparkling dry rose with fresh fruit, an off-dry riesling with fruit pies and a cream sherry with creme brulee.

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