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Finger-food desserts for cocktail party

I'm having a cocktail party for about 50-60 on Saturday and am all set for main food, but am looking for a few sweets. I'll be doing chocolate-covered grapes, which are delicious and fun and bite-size, and am looking for something else that fits that description. I was mulling over chewy caramels, but am a relative novice at candy-making. I just did many hundreds of cookies for Christmas, so don't feel like cookies. And cakes, pies, etc,, just won't cut it. I also feel as though a second chocolate option is too much chocolate, so was wondering if I could do rum balls with blondies instead of brownies for a change. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. what abourt a mini tarts? I have made caramals using the Ina method...it wasn't bad at all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LaLa

      You and one other person recommended caramels, and I can't get it out of my head. I have a sugar thermometer, but it's really slow. Should I still give it a go?

    2. mini cheesecakes in muffin tins with cupcake liners. top w/berries. mini pecan tarts. And who doesn't love lemon bars?
      never heard of chocolate dipped grapes--interesting

      3 Replies
      1. re: sparkareno

        Mini cheesecakes are a huge hit. I use the metallic liners as they are sturdier. I made cheesecakes w/ blueberry, pomegranate and lemon curds. They were devoured.

        1. re: sparkareno

          Second the lemon bars. I usually don't have the time to make lots of individual tarts or cheesecakes, so I make lemon bars, brownies, etc. and cut them into bite-size squares.

        2. Possibly too much like a cookie...but what about brown sugar blondies made very thin and cut into very small pieces...no bigger than an inch square. Then put a nut on each one...maybe a whole pecan or a macadamia nut. I did that once w/ chocolate brownies and they looked surprisingly elegant simply scaled down.

          Also, I once made mini pecan pies made in mini-muffin tins.

          Fun project, can't wait to read other suggestions and to hear what you decide on.

          6 Replies
          1. re: danna

            I've done mini tarts before, I've done mini pecan pies, and I hate cheesecake, so those are off the table. BUT those are exactly the sort of elegantly easy things to eat that I want to find, so you guys are on the right track. I even thought of mini-pineapple-upside-down-cakes, but then worried that not enough people like that.

            1. re: katecm

              ooh, ooh....mini eclairs!!! Fun to make, light (relatively) on the belly and you can glaze them w/ caramel or coffee or some other flavor icing if you don't want to repeat the chocolate.

              1. re: danna

                I like this idea. I was going to make my gougeres tonight. Maybe I should scrap the gougeres if I decide to go mini eclair?

                1. re: katecm

                  hmm....to you and I, gougeres and eclairs might be duplicative, but I wonder how many of your guests know it's the same dough or would notice the similarity at all.

                  Are you freezing your gougeres? I've never frozen pate a choux. I made the gougeres from the Zuni cookbook for New Year's w/ bacon, pickled onions and arugula. Mine weren't as pretty as hers but they tasted good. I kinda ate them all.

                  1. re: danna

                    I REALLY wanted to do some bacon ones - I've seen a bacon and corn heralded - but it's one of my veggie choices. I thought about doing two kinds, but I've already got pork and prosciutto on the menu, so skipped it.

                    I do freeze them. They're not AS wonderful, but I have 60 people coming to a 1,000 square foot townhouse, so need to do as much in advance as possible! I have a heating drawer, and they keep their fluffiness in the freezer while getting that nice mild crisp in the drawer. Not as good, but still really good.

                    1. re: katecm

                      Thanks for the tips! So you just pull them from the freezer and pop them in the warming drawer? Gougeres that are 90% as delicious are still off the chain in my book.

                      the recipe I'm talking about made little bacon sandwiches, it wasn't in the dough. But anyhow, a person who can invite 60 guests to a 1000 sq ft house doesn't need hostessing advice from me! ;-) Have fun!

          2. I have never made them before, but Cook's Illustrated has a recipe for Key Lime Bars. I thought they sounded good. And that's coming from a true chocoholic. I could find the recipe if you are interested.

            1 Reply
            1. re: valerie

              i do a nice shortbread bar cookie that's Key Lime with White Chocolate chips... it's a great combo!

            2. caramels are actually very easy and salted caramel is trendy right now. just take care not to burn yourself, lol, like i do every time i make caramel or toffee.

              cake balls with lemon or coconut cake and dipped in white chocolate can be made several days ahead.

              mini cannoli or cream puffs

              these blueberry crumb bars are amazing: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/07/blu...