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Your best advance-prep desserts

I'm hosting a bridal shower in early March in another city (within 2 hours). I would like to prep as much as possible before, freeze, and then reheat/defrost/cook day before / day of. I have a VERY active toddler so stuff I can do in the evenings now is ideal. For the rest of the menu: Fish platter / bagels; tossed salad w/ cranberries, nuts, goat cheese; eggplant parm for non-fish eaters (I'm making & freezing); asparagus. Apps - little purchased puff pastry items, crudites. Fruit tray with dessert. The shower is for a kosher / Orthodox girl so it is all dairy.

I am planning on making some brownies & pecan bars now & freezing. I am thinking about lemon bars but don't know if they freeze well. Other than a cake, which we might make or buy, I would prefer single-serve desserts.

Give me your best ideas! Thanks!

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  1. How about Butterscotch Brownies, those are the bars that always disapear the quickest.
    I think that in fact bars or brownies of anykind is a good bet. How about some type of ice cream cookies, you could make them bite size, and it only needs to be put together if you buy the cookies.
    Any type of tartlet would work really well also.
    Good luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Richelle

      I've never made butterscotch brownies - link to a recipe? Ice cream is a cute idea.

      1. re: doc_k55

        Ack, it's the recipe in Joy of Cooking...I do not have time to write it out now, maybe tomorrow if you can't find it.

        1. re: Richelle

          I've got that cookbook - don't bother - thanks for the reference.

    2. Can you bake the day before? The World Peace cookies dough can be made and frozen in logs. Slice and bake the day before.


      Cheesecake also freezes well--you can bake a tray of cheesecake bars, or dulce de leche cheesecake squares:


      1. Profiteroles can be made ahead and frozen. You can fill with ice cream.

        1 Reply
        1. re: marthadumptruck

          Except she has to transport them to a place two hours away. I'd do the profiteroles, but fill them with a gelatin fortified whipped cream, which is more stable and not subject to melting. But if spoilage is a concer, you can fill them with an angelfood batter and rebake them, then turn them all into a croquembouche! Fun to decorate and very appropriate for a bridal shower.

        2. mini tarts which you fill with lemon curd, pastry cream, fresh fruit, even chocolate sauce that sort of thing. you can be very creative if you use store bought shells. i even have chocolate shells which i will fill with different fillings.

          1. http://www.goodfortunes.com/
            I ordered cookies from Good Fortunes for my husband's birthday (we live in Los Angeles) and they are certified KSA Dairy and they were yummy and adorable.

            Ina Garten Brownies are great to make ahead. Also, almost any cake can be made in advance and frozen is well wrapped.

            1. i've made fruit crisps the day before...i just keep stuff separate...the prepped fruit in the baking dish, crumb topping in a ziploc bag....assemble just before baking. I've made this one this way

              many cheesecakes actually improve with age...so you could try individual servings of those? i make the cappuccino fudge cake from bon appetit which HAS to be made at least one day before for the flavors to blend, and can be made up to four days prior. this cake rocks !

              1. i recommend it sooo often, but it gets better w/ age and freezes wonderfully and just wows when served warmed under vanilla ice cream...

                Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread on epicurious.com - bake it in two loaf pans to maximize the gooey top crust surface area...

                you can also premake any type of cookie dough, portion in balls, then freeze wrapped in aluminum, then plastic, then aluminum for safe keeping; bake the day of.

                biscotti also keep very well and so many variations... you could make the basic crisps in several flavors in advance, then the day of, drizzle each with a variety of chocolate fudge, white chocolate, strawberry yogurt, etc. sauces and/or chips/nuts to decorate and classy them up.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Emme

                  Can you do a kosher panna cotta? I know there are vegan gelatin type options..

                2. So many good ideas! I like the baked goods options though the four-days-in-advance cheesecake sounds like a pretty tidy idea too. Thanks... I'll check back again.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: doc_k55

                    as another note to the cheesecake...i usually make the cake one night, and decorate it the next...here's the finished product, uncut (i use chocolate covered coffee beans instead of the regular variety....along with a few other changes)

                  2. what about couer a la creme with a raspberry coulis.

                    1. Souffles! You can make the base ahead of time, then just whip the egg whites, fold and bake after (or during) dinner. They make a great presentation.

                      1. Our experiece is that freezing and thawing Claudia Roden's Orange and Almond cake does not noticably hurt it, and it is a Jewish recipe too. It could thaw during the drive.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Since there were so many replies... here is my report back. I made brownies, blondies, pecan bars. Then I made the first refrigerator cookie dough in the Joy of Cooking (the one they say makes a good tart crust), punched little hearts in half the circles, froze the completed cookies, and day before made little "linzer tart"-like cookies. I also made the the buttery yellow cake (I can't recall the exact name) from the Cake Bible, but I was running short on eggs so I did it with whites+yolks, not just yolks. It was good, not great, but was fine made 4 days in advance and refrigerated. Everything went over smashingly and was able to sit out overnight - which was good since we prepped on Sat & served on Sun and the hostess had no fridge space! Thanks for the inputs though and I will certainly check back to see what other ideas are posted for other events I co-host.

                          1. Make some crepes ahead of time. Dish up some nuttela, a couple of different preserves, and some sweetened ricotta.

                            Crepes are a simple yet elegant sort of dessert that easy to set up self serve. The variety of simple fillings will please most palates.