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Would you attend a mid-week, homemade dessert gathering?

I love having people over, but sometimes a full-on dinner party mid-week is a lot more work than I'd care to tackle. I love making desserts from scratch and was thinking it would be fun to have larger groups of people (8-12) over for dessert/coffee/port gathering from time to time. Sort of like a mini-party, but not really a dinner party. I'd have a variety of desserts (probably 3 choices) on hand.

But, that got me thinking if I would even attend something like that (from a health standpoint)....

What are your thoughts? If you knew the desserts would be good - would you be inclined to attend? Or, would a health-conscious state of mind make it unappealing?

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  1. Given the answers over on this "How many nights a week do you eat dessert?" thread, seems like the people who actually eat dessert these days are in the minority.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/960659

    Persoanlly, I dislike any kind of midweek gathering after work; I am so physically tired and tired of talking to people all day that I treasure my weeknights home.

    11 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      I missed that thread entirely! Thanks for linking it!

      I recently had a party and made two different desserts. I was going to make a third, but figured no one is eating desserts these days. I was floored when there wasn't a crumb left (which is what got me thinking about the gathering).

      Also - I definitely know what you mean about a mid-week gathering and treasuring the peace of home!

      1. re: The Oracle

        I'd come, no question…especially if you're known for your wonderful desserts :).

        I had to chuckle when you mentioned 'there wasn't a crumb left'.
        I have noted friends who 'never eat dessert'…
        I plan accordingly, when having them for dinner, and they're always the ones, who not only eat dessert but ask for seconds.

        1. re: latindancer

          latindancer: when i say i "never eat dessert," what i MEAN is:

          "i never eat dessert unless the dessert is so amazingly wonderful that it is REALLY WORTH the calories.

          if those cookies just taste like suger and hershey's chocolate chips, i won't even finish a second bite. on the other hand, if i taste valrhona chocolate in the cookies, that's another thing entirely. . . .

          1. re: westsidegal

            Ah, but that's the same calculus that most people make. The only difference is the threshold!

            1. re: westsidegal

              <I never eat dessert unless the dessert is so amazingly wonderful that it is REALLY WORTH the calories>

              I completely understand and concur.
              Just yesterday I was in the mood for creme brûlée when I happened to see it on the menu where I was dining.
              Now, this dessert MUST be stellar for me to even go past the tasting bite.
              This particular one, yesterday, wasn't up to standard. I tasted it, took another bite to make sure, and left the entire dessert uneaten. Too many calories, not good enough.

              1. re: westsidegal

                That chocolate makes all the difference, doesn't it?
                Proof Bakery/Atwater, has a chocolate chip cookie I pull over and purchase (may 2 or 3) if I'm in the area.
                If I could manage to duplicate those at home I'd easily be on a diet 24/7 because of them.

                1. re: latindancer

                  I order Valrhona chocolate from amazon and use it primarily for brownies and flourless chocolate cake.

                  Worth every calorie.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    <Worth every calorie>

                    Amen to that :`).

                    1. re: sedimental

                      the iced blended mocha i make for myself every morning is made with valrhona cocoa powder.
                      once one gets used to valrhona, it's impossible to drink the stuff turned out by the national coffee chains with their low quality chocolate, their weird thickeners, and their way too high sugar content.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Iced mocha sounds great.
                        I used the Valrhona is a hot chocolate cinnamon whiskey drink for friends the other night....they swooned :)

            2. re: ttoommyy

              I'm one of the folks who replied to that thread that I never have dessert unless it's an event. This sounds like an event to me. ;>

              I'd do it! It sounds like a novel approach to light entertaining.

              1. Nope.Wouldnt interest me at all. But then I'm one of the people who has posted on the other thread saying I rarely eat dessert. Rarely at home, even rarer in restaurants.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Harters

                  You could have a beverage, tea, or coffee and skip the dessert option.

                2. Sounds like fun. Health considerations wouldn't stop me but scheduling issues mid-week might. I can see the folks who are concerned having coffee or a sip of dessert wine and enjoying the conversation.

                  I say go for it! Those for whom it's practical will come and those who have early-morming issues won't. If you do it a couple times you'll probably get a good feeling for what percentage of invitees to prepare for. Just concentrate on things that freeze well for your first several efforts.

                  Hope you'll post the results.

                  1. On a weeknight? No. Not because of the desserts or anything, but because weeknights are just too hectic to take time to have dinner, then go somewhere else to have dessert.

                    Also, for me, I have a puppy at home, so I'd have to go home first, let the puppy out to run around for awhile, eat dinner, then go to your house to have dessert... just not appealing. I realize not everyone has these circumstances, although I guess it would be similar for someone w/ children.

                    Weekends would be fun though. Might be a nice Sunday early evening activity.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: juliejulez

                      Yeah, honestly the food portion of it doesn't sound bad. But going home and then leaving again after dinner on a work night has zero appeal to me. I can do apps or a meal right after work, no problem, but getting home and going back out is a non-starter.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        I agree, weekend would be nice. I'm not even a dessert person and would go, on a weekend. Monday through Thursday and 9/10 Friday I just want to go home and stay there.

                        1. re: juliejulez

                          I'm with you JJ. I don't get home from work until 5:45ish. Once home I have 2 dogs that need to be walked and fed along with a12 year old who has homework, etc. And then there's dinner. I would be too exhausted, never mind that one of us would have stay home with the boy.

                          If we are going to go out on school night it's going be all 3 of us for an early dinner and that is still pretty rare.

                          Now if it was weekend, we love it!

                          1. re: juliejulez

                            juliejulez: in my experience it is even MORE trying if you have kids (not to mention what it would be like if you had a puppy AND had kids).

                            getting the homework done and checked.
                            piano practice.
                            supervising the kids doing their chores
                            brownies/cub scouts
                            emptying and cleaning their lunch boxes
                            etc
                            etc
                            etc.

                            now that my kid is grown and my dogs are no longer puppies, i could easily arrange going to a "dessert party."

                            it all depends on the stage of life you're in. . .

                          2. Agreed with the whole "not too keen about mid week gatherings" point, but if it ends early, I'm more than happy to attend. Strangely enough, I'd be more likely to attend if it were on a Thursday, say versus a Wednesday or Tuesday.

                            I actually like the idea of a desserts only party. I'm health conscious to the point where if I'm home, I won't have dessert, but if I were invited out, I would definitely have some dessert and probably try a bit of each (everything in moderation, right?). I would never decline an invite for a reason like that.

                            Maybe not up your alley, but if I were to plan an evening like that, I'd maybe have some board games handy. A game like Taboo or Cards Against Humanity always gets the crowd going....and the laughter will burn off some calories :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chefjeannine

                              +1 to the opportunity to sample a bite of a variety of things.

                              Over the holidays we were invited to a desserts only open house. You COULD NOT MOVE in the entire downstairs of a large home. I don't think they had a single "no thanks" RSVP.

                              Of course the host is a magnificent baker and must have baked for 2 months in advance. And it was a weekend date. But my point is, whatever anyone has going about diets or health consciousness, dessert is very appealing.

                              I was dieting. I didn't eat anything, still, it was wonderful to see what he had done and everyone was *really* enjoying themselves.

                            2. I'd much rather attend an appetizer gathering. Dessert is so rarely worth the calories, especially when other people make it and you're not sure what's in there. Even if I went I wouldn't be eating much. Appetizer/Happy Hour I would look forward to, it would be a meal to me. The port sounds nice though.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: coll

                                +1 to this. If I went out midweek (and if your friends are like mine, good luck finding a time everyone can do it), they'll want a substitute for supper...and apps are a fun, different kind of supper. I'd have to go light on the cocktails on a worknight, but I wouldnt say no.

                                1. re: coll

                                  Coll, I said pretty much the same thing down-thread. Somehow missed your comments earlier, or I would have posted mine here.

                                2. Sure, I would. It'd be a nice way to break up the week with a mini-party. I don't think I'd want to do it EVERY week, but perhaps once a month or even every six weeks would be just about right.

                                  1. To everyone who groans at the thought of doing something mid-week, there are are few of us who say, "Heck, yes!"

                                    What annoys me is when someone wants to hold a meeting or gathering for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon of a 3-day weekend. It's like taking the center out of a watermelon.... and generously leaving the rest for everyone else.

                                    1. I have dessert almost every night, so the health issues don't bother me, but it's not always easy to get out on a weeknight. However, if a neighbor hosted such a gathering, I'd definitely go!

                                      1. I'd count myself amongst those who say probably not...once I get home I just don't feel like going out again. But early, right after work for appetizers, I'll be there!

                                        1. No, but not because I won't go out on a weeknight, and not for health considerations. Some of us just don't have a sweet tooth. I'd show up for a weeknight party with wine and appetizers/cheese in a heartbeat, but not for desserts and coffee. Also don't do sweet drinks, and don't do caffeine.

                                          1. you know your friends better than we do. :)

                                            although i love to bake i almost never have dessert. if i like the people coming i might go just to enjoy their company, but dessert and port hold zero interest for me. but then i'd also worry that i was hurting your feelings by not eating anything.

                                            wine and light appetizers would be more my speed.

                                            1. As hotoynoodle said, you know your friends better than we do.

                                              I'd be happy to attend a dessert gathering...once is a while. Do I love going out during the week? Not really, but every once in a while it's fun to do something different.

                                              In my group of friends, they'd be happy to attend something like this. Yes, everyone is always on a diet but again, once in a while it's fun. The bigger problem is that everyone is busy attending different meetings and we all have kids so it comes down to coordinating a night where people are free and have babysitters.

                                              1. No, just for weekend meat gatherings.

                                                1. This seems like a follow-on to the thread you started last year on attending a mid-week dinner or wine/cheese party, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9039...

                                                  Personally, I'd be more likely to attend the dinner or wine/cheese/app party than a dessert party. I've got to eat dinner every night, but rarely eat desserts midweek. If not a full-blown "dinner" party, I'd rather go for a savory cheese/app party than sweets.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: masha

                                                    Yep, it IS. I did do a mid-week heavy apps party recently and it was a hit (but more work for mid-week than I'd like to do again). Perhaps a combo wine/cheese with desserts/port is the solution :)

                                                    1. re: The Oracle

                                                      Wine and cheese works! You can entertain, feed people well and not have it be a lot of work. Weeknights are tough for us, but doable. But much easier if I don't have to go home and have dinner first. I totally understand working odd shifts and still wanting to have a social life (been there), and it does require some effort, but it's important to do it. I don't think you need to throw full dinner parties! You can order in some food, do heavy apps, etc. Is the main goal cooking or socializing?

                                                  2. My answer would depend entirely on whether I work the next day. I get up at 0415 and there's very little that will entice me to come out on a "school night". But it sounds fun!

                                                    1. I think this would be fun every few weeks, if the company was good and the desserts were too. Most of us could cut back on the days prior to the dessert party, and probably enjoy ourselves.

                                                      But I am retired. If I was working still, I might be less inclined to attend. However a dessert night on the evening before a holiday off, might be really fun.

                                                      1. I'd partake as a guest sure...unless it was rich chocolate dessert (a point made in another thread). Then I might just hope you're serving coffee.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          ....curious about that thread - gonna go searching. :)

                                                          1. Maybe, if it were for a special occasion. Although, I try to avoid excess calories during the week.

                                                            1. I like going out during the week, and do so a couple times a week anyways, so yes I would attend. However, I do agree that I'd much rather prefer wine and apps, and probably wouldn't eat too much of the desserts. Either way, if no wine was being served, I'd probably bring my own! :)

                                                              1. Will there be port and cheese? ;P
                                                                Really, I'd love a mid-week gathering of any sort. Dinner, dessert, apps... even if I don't eat dessert, I'd go just for the company. I find it difficult to organize a meet up with groups of friends during a weekend, as many still have teen (or younger!) children who want attention.
                                                                But 2 or 3 hours mid week, ending before 10, sounds good to me!
                                                                What's the date?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                                  Agree with this. I'd be much more inclined to go if the gathering was in my neighborhood so I didn't have to get in the car.

                                                                2. I love dessert so I probably would but it would be iffy for some people depending on the time between dinner & bedtime.

                                                                  1. I'd definitely attend. I love sweets, so from a health standpoint there's no concern. And I also like to have the occasional break-out from the boring old weekly routine, so it would be fun to have an excuse to shake things up mid-week. Definitely worth losing an hour or two of sleep.

                                                                    1. I always want to do a dessert party! I love baking and dessert. I'd go to a mid-week party but most of my friends wouldn't. For those who don't care for cakes and other sweet treats, I'd offer cheese and various fruits.

                                                                      If you have one, let us know how it went!

                                                                      1. No, I wouldn't care for the dessert aspect or the mid week aspect. I would attend a midweek dinner/ apps/cocktails (configuration) of some type. I just wouldn't want to go home, prepare dinner, clean up, then go out again and eat something unhealthful that I typically don't eat.

                                                                        1. There are two parts to the question: mid-week and dessert.

                                                                          Mid-week is fine for me, but then I'm single, no kids, no pets. There is nothing for me to rush home to, and I can arrange my schedule to accommodate such a thing (e.g., I can hit the gym in the morning so I can go out at night).

                                                                          Dessert is also fine for me. I have a well-documented sweet tooth (LOVE love desserts), but even if I didn't, assuming you are my friend and I enjoy your company, I would totally go just for the social aspect. My friend invites to me a party she is throwing, I'm going to try to go, regardless of whether the planned activity is 100% my cup of tea.

                                                                          I'm intrigued by the folks who don't want to home, make dinner, clean up, etc. and then head out for dessert. If you invited me to such a thing and I planned to attend, I would either assume what you are serving would be my dinner (guess I'm one of the only ones who, on a "splurge night", has dessert for dinner....) or I would bring/purchase something quick like a salad or sandwich and eat it at my desk/while on my way to your place. No big deal.

                                                                          Anyway, as everyone is saying, you know your friends better than we do. If they have flexible schedules and like sweets, sounds like a winner. If not, I'd do something else.

                                                                          1. I don't eat dessert and I generally watch my carbs and calories, but there are times when good friends and good company are worth a good splurge. The larger issue, I think, is whether your guests are the type of people who prefer to stay home during the work week.

                                                                            1. Honestly, if I liked you and was on the mood to socialize I would attend anything food related. If I didn't like you, or was feeling anti social I would decline.

                                                                              Saying that, as someone who ate cupcakes and cookies for multiple meals this week I'd so attend a dessert themed party.

                                                                              1. I'd go. Even if I wasn't a big dessert eater..these things are generally more about fellowship anyhow. I think people are over thinking what sounds like a very nice ( and fun) suggestion.
                                                                                Like others have said..you know your friends better than we do. Although I am not one who loves to go out during the week..I would be completely on board with this fun idea. What better way to break up the monotony of a week!

                                                                                1. I would definitely attend something like that....but probably not mid-week.

                                                                                  1. Why not? If I am not interested, I will inform you I am unavailable. Graciously.

                                                                                    Personally, I would love to receive such an invitation.

                                                                                    1. Yes.
                                                                                      Please send me your address and the date & time. What can I bring?

                                                                                      In all seriousness, I would give it a try and see what happens. As the answers on this board have shown, some people wouldn't be keen on dessert and some people wouldn't be keen on mid-week. But it's your party and you can pie if you want to :)

                                                                                      Me, I would love it. Life is short. You hear all too many stories about regrets people have when they get to the end of this thing called life. While I love coming home from work and kicking back in my pajamas just as much as the next gal, it's worth being a little more tired the next day in exchange for laughter, friendship and good eats.

                                                                                      Have you thought about starting a book (or board games, cards etc.) club? I joined a book club to force myself to read more, and in the end have made wonderful friendships and now the gatherings are more about socializing than about books. We take turns hosting (or go out) once a month or so, and the person hosting chooses the book and provides the nibbles. It's generally an assortment of appetizers AND desserts. I usually have a light dinner before I go, and try to watch what I eat the rest of the week to make up for the indulgence.

                                                                                      If you were to do desserts only, I'd do something rich and indulgent, a couple of lighter desserts, fruit and cheese. Wine and/or coffee and tea.Then folks can be as healthy (or not) as they like. There's also nothing wrong with passing on the dessert and coming just for the company.

                                                                                      Now, I get that it's tricky for your friends with kids or pets...if that applies to the bulk of your friends, then you would probably be setting yourself up for disappointment and would be better off planning something for the weekend. But if most of your guests would be able to come after work, then go for it. If I were invited and wanted to attend, and going home first then going back out were a pain, then that night I'd bring a light dinner to have at the end of the work day, or go pick up a salad or sandwich somewhere, run some errands, peruse the bookstore, etc. Those who really want to attend will make it happen.

                                                                                      Do report back on the attendance (and the desserts!) if you decide to do it. Good luck!

                                                                                      1. I would totally attend that. Depending on how good the desserts sounded, I might or might not eat dinner first.

                                                                                        Health would not be a significant factor, unless you were inviting me every week.

                                                                                        1. I have no problem with a med-week dinner (or dessert) party, as long as Mrs. Potato isn't teaching that night.

                                                                                          1. I did one of these back in October, and it was lovely. I had 10 or 12 people here. I went a bit overboard, possibly, but it was fun. Dessert buffet and cocktails. Lots of great conversation and laughs.

                                                                                            I also picked up small baker boxes beforehand. Each guest got to fill one up to take home with them. They liked being able to do that, and I liked getting rid of so many baked goods.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                  debbiel - how many different desserts did you do? And, what cocktails did you pair? Thanks in advance for any inspiration!

                                                                                                  1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                    Dark chocolate truffles (plain, ginger and grand marnier, and cinnamon/cayenne) (gluten free)

                                                                                                    Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake (gluten free)

                                                                                                    A walnut shortbread cookie

                                                                                                    Dori Greenspan's french apple rum cake

                                                                                                    A Martha Stewart citrus bar that I make gluten and dairy free by using almond flour and coconut oil

                                                                                                    Everything was a hit. Based on comments and what they selected for their take home boxes, favorites varied among guests. I was able to take citrus bars, apple cake, walnut cookies, and truffles into work the next day. The walnut cookies were by far the favorite there.

                                                                                                    Drinks: it was an autumn evening, and I had planned for a few different bourbon drinks, but turns out not a lot of my friends like bourbon the way that I do. Most people selected one of the following:
                                                                                                    pear nectar and sparkling water NA drink
                                                                                                    pear nectar and cava
                                                                                                    elderflower liqueur and cava

                                                                                                    I had one person go with a sparkling apple cider/bourbon concoction. Oh, and I had decaf coffee and some teas available.

                                                                                                2. If you're really concerned about the spoilsports, have a nice fruit platter available... it won't hurt to have fruit anyway to cut the sweetness of the other desserts. I'd attend a dessert party any time... a lot of the people who aren't eating desserts just aren't making them themselves - when you are out to eat and a dessert is placed in front of you it's a different story entirely! (one serve of dessert is a lot less formidably calorific than a whole cake sitting in your fridge at home... I bake once a week and NO MORE, because if I make a cake it's often gone inside three days and there are only two of us eating it! But I LOVE dessert - I just don't love controlling how fast it disappears.)

                                                                                                  1. dessert....it's what's for dinner

                                                                                                    one evening during the winter doldrums, a dessert party would be ideal. a buffet with cakes, cookies, warm cobblers, fruit such as grilled pears with mascarpone, flavored cream cheese and fruit sandwiches on pound cake, coffee, tea, wine. i'd come.

                                                                                                    1. You know your friends' schedules and circumstances better than we do- that said i would come!!
                                                                                                      I would include a few smaller portions of indulgent desserts as well as a fresh fruit (citrus?) salad and maybe a cheese/nut selection for people without a sweet tooth. Maybe some clever "mocktails" since it's a weeknight.

                                                                                                      Maybe call it a dessert for dinner party or something like that.....

                                                                                                      1. The dessert part sounds great.

                                                                                                        The mid-week after dinner part not so much. The problem is that because it's just dessert, I'd still have to get myself dinner, which either means getting home, cooking, eating, doing dishes and then heading out again, or adding a dinner out to my schedule, to save time.

                                                                                                        On a weekend, it'd be fine - I'd have a slightly earlier dinner, and then head out happily.

                                                                                                        One option would be to not do a full dinner part, but do something simple that involves minimal preparation - soup or stew, salad, bread and cheese, pickles.

                                                                                                        1. I was invited to a lovely tea just before Christmas. The host had several desserts and a few savory items. Many of the invited guests did not know each other and we all had just an exceptionally lovely afternoon. Tea has health benefits and so does laughter and conversation with friends. I think you should do it and tend to think we all need more of these special moments together. The tea was held on the weekend however, it just depends on when your friends would be more readily available.

                                                                                                          1. I would attend, but knowing that many couples have weeknight obligations with work and family scheduling, I would be more inclined to hold it on a Sunday afternoon and keep it relatively short - a 2hr open house type window. I grew up with parents who were used to the European tradition of coffee and cake/pastry around 3p.m.
                                                                                                            That has pretty much disappeared as coffee houses took over. The former emphasized the baked good rather than the coffee.

                                                                                                            Growing up, dinner was at 6 but dessert was not till 8 or 8:30. I like that idea, too, because you're not actually HUNGRY at the end of the meal, and the delayed dessert means there's no temptation for a snack later in the evening. If going with the weeknight party, I'd also use the open house format, between 7:30 and 9.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                              I love the Sunday afternoon idea. I'm not even a big dessert person but that's a perfect time to come for a coffee or an indulgent glass of wine.

                                                                                                            2. I don't have kids, but I am usually tired in the evening so probably not. And something else...if it is brutally cold, I'd be even less likely to go back out after getting home.

                                                                                                              I love the idea of a dessert party. Just cut everything into very small servings so people can sample without over-indulging (they can always take more). We have a friend who does a cookie party at Christmas and it is always a HUGE hit. She doesn't do all the baking - everyone brings something - but she does at least 20 different cookies herself.

                                                                                                              1. sounds like a great way to get together with out someone having a lot of work and dishes to clean. Not sure if your retired or not but can't see it going to late if people have to work the next day. But knowing its just dessert and a glass of wine would be fun midweek. I find most people go to dinner parties for the companionship over the food and the food is just a awesome bonus. If you know your going to a dessert party and your calorie minded you can plan on a salad for dinner.

                                                                                                                1. My mother used to have people over after dinner for dessert during the week. They'd be gone by 10 pm. If I recall correctly, she called it "coffee and . . ." People always came when invited and didn't consider it an imposition but rather a nice way to socialize during the week.