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Jan 25, 2011 08:35 PM

Finger food desserts for 50 -- what's better than brownies?

Someone twisted my arm (not too hard) and so I have to provide 50 servings of dessert for an evening school fundraiser. I think there are 6-8 of us making 50 pieces of dessert each. I could make brownies and cut them into half or quarter servings, but that seems too easy. Definitely don't want to make cookies either -- there'll be plenty of those. Whatever it is needs to be able to sit at rom temperature for at least a couple of hours and not go soggy. I'd wanted to try mini ice-cream sandwiches or mini pavlovas but they're obviously out.

Anyone have any tried and true ideas? ...or recipes worth experimenting with?!

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  1. chocolate-dipped cheesecake pops! they make an impressive display, particularly if you use various shades of chocolate and decorate with bits of crushed nuts, cookies, pretzels...or even sprinkles.

    or you could do a variety of rolled truffles or cake balls.

    11 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Cake pops or balls are a great idea. I also like the look of this itty bitty pies. (You could also do tartlets which would be a little simpler.)

      You might also find this thread useful.

      1. re: toveggiegirl

        Here's my reliable recipe for Pecan Tartlets. I'm not a great person with dough, but this forgiving recipe always works for me with delicious results. In the South, these are called Pecan Tassies.

        1 3 oz. package cream cheese
        1/2 cup butter
        1 cup sifted flour

        Let cheese and pastry soften. Blend together. Stir in flour and chill dough 1 hour. Shape into 2 dozen balls (1-inch diameter). Place each ball of dough in the depression of an ungreased mini-muffin pan. Press dough agains bottom and sides to form pastry shell.

        Pecan Filling:
        1 egg
        1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
        3/4 cup brown sugar
        dash of salt
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        2/3 cup coarsely broken pecans

        Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

        Beat together egg, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Using half the pecans, place some nuts in each of the pastry shells. Add the filling and top each tartlet with some of the remaining pecans. Press the added pecans gently into the filling.

        Bake tartlets in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool tartlets in pan. Remove.

        1. re: Indy 67

          This looks really good but I'm confused. "Pastry: Let cheese and pastry soften." Do you mean let cheese and butter soften?


          1. re: rednails

            This looks really good! Do you ever have problems with the pastry sticking to the pan?

            1. re: rednails

              Well that was quite incoherent!!! Apparently, for about 40 years, I've been just glossing over those silly instructions. They should read "Let cream cheese and butter soften. Blend together."

              1. re: Indy 67

                That sounds exactly like Norma Talmadge's recipe for tassies that I make. Is that your recipe too? And yes, they are extremely popular when I make them for gatherings. I make a double recipe, and they disappear. Like mini pecan pies...

                1. re: roxlet

                  This is my mother's recipe, but I haven't got a clue where she got it. Unfortunately, the opportunity to ask has passed. I know I've been using this recipe for at least 40 years and perhaps even longer. Pecan Tartlets/Tassies were simply a standard part of every cook's repertoire in that era, and I've never stopped making them.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Are you talking about Norma Talmadge, the movie star from the silent film era?

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      LOL, my mistake! I mean Betty Talmadge, the wife of the former governor of Georgia. I have her cookbook -- How to Cook a Pig and Other Down Home Recipes.

                  2. re: Indy 67

                    LOL. I kind of figured as much, but ya never know. Looks great, will definitely have to try it soon.


                2. re: Indy 67

                  I make these all the time and they are the first to go at any gathering!!! Another variation is instead of the pecan filling using the same ingredients, and substituting half coconut and half chopped walnuts in place of the pecans. Voila, Coconut Tassies. Both are soooooo good!!!!

            2. Line a mini muffin pan with your choice of crust and either blindbake that and fill with, for example, lemon curd or ganache, or bake mini-cheesecakes.

              2 Replies
              1. re: stilton

                I vote for min cheesecakes. The kind with a vanilla wafer in the bottom are easy. I know you said no cookies but what about some fruit filled cookies, like mini turnovers? I bet a good cupcake would be a winner - carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

                1. re: stilton

                  This is how I'd go, too, even with brownies. No need to cut and far easier to serve. OP could also do nut tarts, bite sized cupcakes, custard tarts, endless ideas.

                  Along the idea of mini ice cream sandwiches, whoopie pies are always a big hit at things like this.

                2. When I have to make dessert for a crowd sometimes I like to make popcorn balls. I basically make rice krispies treats, but with popcorn instead of cereal. You can add in nutella, peanut butter, nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, sprinkles, etc. And you can put them on sticks from the craft store, or even use pretzel rods for sticks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Chocolate dipped fruit? Something that can be dipped whole, else it will go soggy if left out for an hour strawberries perhaps, or physlis?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Peg

                      One of the best party desserts I ever had was apple "lollipops". Very easy! Chunks of a tart apple like granny smith, dipped in dark chocolate, with a stick in the top. Really delicious, and easy to grab and go.

                    2. I would make chocolate truffles. For 50 would require about 150 truffles which would require about 6 pounds of chocolate...3 pounds for the genache and 3 pounds for dipping. Unless you have access to a tempering machine, I wouldn't dip them in chocolate. I would roll them in cocoa powder, chopped nuts, coconut or sprinkles. They would work well on lollipop sticks too. So you would only need 3 pounds of chocolate and 3 cups of cream. I would make them all 1 flavor genache because who needs the extra hassle.

                      Here is my recipe for the genache.

                      16 oz dark chocolate
                      7 oz cream
                      3.5 Tbls of butter
                      4 Tbls of liqueur*
                      1 Tbl of light corn syrup

                      * I use half Grand Marnier and half Ameretto. You could use either one or both.

                      1. Melt chocolate in microwave with 30 second bursts on level 8.
                      2. Heat cream in pot to about 180.
                      3. Combine cream, corn syrup, and chocolate and stir together until blended.
                      4. Add liqueur. Stir.
                      5. Let set until about 80 degrees.
                      6. Add butter 1 pat at a time
                      7. Whip
                      8. Allow to set up in refrigerator at least 2 hours.