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Picnic Dessert

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Our company will be hosting a smallish (about 25 adults/kids) picnic next month and we are looking for some dessert options. We will not have access to a kitchen but will have coolers available. I want something a little different, I know that I can run to the market to purchase ice cream and or cookies but don't really want to. Looking for a recipe that will appeal to kids and adults that while simple to prepare will be yummy and memorable. Thanks for any ideas.

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  1. In my mind, picnic desserts = cookies or the ubiquitous fruit salad. I would suggest some fruit salad for the folks who don't want processed sugar, and some cookies for those who want a treat. You can do platters of assorted cookies (lemon bars, brownies, blondies, etc). There are many different levels of cookies, procure some from a gourmet bakery and they won't resemble the pedestrian kind at all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      Agree on the fruit salad. Perhaps with minted grapes as a "topper". Mix up some lime juice, honey, and dried (or fresh) mint to taste, and marinate green grapes in them until ready to serve. Spoon a bit over the top of small bowls of fruit. The lime and mint add a nice fresh flavor to "just fruit salad", IMO.

    2. Cobblers and crisps are easy to store and transport, easy to make, and are amazing when you find a really good recipe. I'm also really fond of this recipe for chocolate sheet cake with a chocolate/pecan glaze/frosting on top:
      http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...
      She also has other really good and usually pretty easy recipes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: spellweaver16

        I love the cobblers too, great idea.

        I did one picnic with a custard and fresh fruit. The best was I found these great little cups with lids. Single servings. Just at a party store. Cheap and so easy to fill with individual fruit and custard. They can stack in a cooler and completely disposable. Just take plastic spoons.

        I also love my brownie cups. I used the same little cups and cut up brownies, mixed with nuts (you can make some with and some without), some fresh strawberries and mascarpone flavored with just honey. Layer like a parfait. It holds up well, tasty and you can take some extra chocolate syrup to drizzle over the top and a ziploc of cherries for the kids ... adults too.

        Just fruit salad is always good, but to me more to go with the main course rather than desert if possible. But I do love it.

        Grilled peaches or pineapple and pears or papaya are all great. On small skewers, quick serve with a quick raspberry sauce or yogurt or honey sauce. 2-3 piece of fruit on the skewer. Grill a couple of minutes and serve. They are a lot of fun and can all be made ahead. Grilled pound cake cubes on a skewer of great served with a fruit dipping sauce. The sauce can be warm or cold. Just heated in a simple disposable aluminum pan for just a minute if you want. You can also do a chocolate sauce. Make it ahead heat it if you want or not. Also fun for kids and adults. And nothing melts in the sun or get gooey.

      2. Strawberry shortcake can't be beat. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: KayceeK

          Along the same line (berry + biscuit), I was thinking berry trifle or a summer berry pudding (Ina Garten's recipe is good, though you might want to leave out the booze for the kiddles: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...)

        2. How about do a variety of dessert bars: lemon bars, cheesecake brownie bars, raspberry bars, rocky rod bars or blondies (for those who want a twist on cookies)

          1. if you bring fruit salad, you could also bring some crepes (home-made or store-bought) along with some nutella or chocolate or caramel sauce

            gramercy tavern gingerbread does well at every temperature and every affair...

            will echo the suggestion of bars -- brownies or nonaimo or seven layer bars...

            1. was at a picnic a couple of months ago, the cookies got left on the table in the sun, they were all warm and gooey, like they had just come out of the oven.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Homemade cookies and/or bars would be great and not difficult to prepare and carry but I think homemade pies or cobblers would be very memorable. My favorite would be strawberry rhubarb but it's not the most popular. To be easier to serve, maybe small tarts or turnovers.

              2. If you can store ice cream, I think that nothing says summer and picnic quite like various ice cream bars. I went to a very swanky outdoor party a few years ago, hired linens, candles, etc, and after the very nice dinner, the hostess brought out these big tin pails of assorted ice cream bars--Good Humor, Dove, etc. It was a huge hit.

                1. The rhubarb squares that were posted for Mother's Day are great. My rhubarb was alittle mushy so I threw in a bag of frozen mixed berries (a la Trader's Joes) and it was a hit. Should be easy enough to double or provde a variety of goodies like Jacey suggested

                  1. A personal love on a summer day is a tropical fruit salad of mango, papaya, bananas, etc dressed with sugar, zest, and some lime juice.

                    Cookies of any sort are always welcome, easy to make and eat.

                    For ice cream, resurrect the old hand crank machine (surly someone has one in the attic or basement?) and make the kids take turns - it's a science project, first cooking lesson, and a life-long memory (who really does it more than once?). Or buy the ice cream ball that makes ice cream as it gets kicked about and have the kids use up their extra energy.

                    1. If you don't mind purchasing a dessert, sorbet in a fruit shell (lemon, coconut, etc.) is fun for summer parties. I think I've seen this one at Costco:
                      http://www.islandwaysorbet.com/produc...