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May 14, 2014 11:27 PM

Need dessert ideas for a burger party

I'm grilling burgers this Friday at the park for a few pals of mine, and I'm having a hard time coming up with a good dessert idea.

We're having this cheddar BLT burger with Russian dressing fresh corn salad with bacon, mango and avocado and some chips and dip or potato salad, I think.

It has been super hot outside, and while I feel like ice cream would be ideal, I won't have access to a freezer/cooler. Any dessert suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Also, I'd love your suggestions for side dishes, if any come to mind. Thanks in advance!

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  1. You're taking raw meat to the park and don't have a cooler? I'd rethink the whole event. A cheap styrofoam cooler works well. Freeze water-filled plastic bottles (this can take more than a day depending on size) instead of using ice: no danger of leaking, and a source of cold drinking water later. Make ice cream sandwiches from homemade cookies (your choice of basic cookie - oatmeal, choc chip, etc.) and storebought ice cream, rolled in chips or crushed nuts and foil-wrapped individually before packing in a plastic baggie and putting into the cooler.

    4 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Sorry, I should have been more specific. The park is a 5m walk from my house and I have an insulated bag for the meat and side dishes, but it's barely big enough as it is. On that note, I think I'm going to give in and get a huge cooler from the store today. I might even go fancy and get one with wheels. I love the idea of ice cream sandwiches, but will they be ok in the cooler for, say, an hour?

      1. re: live local

        GET A LARGE ONE WITH WHEELS. and get a ride to the park.

        i'm craving the one that has the extra cooling power from being able to plug it onto a car lighter.

        who buys a cooler without wheels? CRAZY! get one with big wheels, not like the dinky ones on some luggage. remember you'll be hauling it over grass and dirt as well as even smooth surfaces. also, get the BEST one you can possible afford, because it'll last a long time. what is a $20-30 difference amortized over 15 years???

        depending on where you are located, target, wal-mart, home depot and maybe kohl's will likely have good prices on now -- in anticipation of memorial day holiday cookouts. sears, too. check online to see of sales. e.g.,

        1. re: alkapal

          definitely +1 on the big wheels!
          How about making 'fruit cups'. A variety of small melon balls drizzled with honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of maze or nutmeg. Put enough per person in those reusable plastic containers w/ lids. Reusable plastic spoons. Reusable beer cups.

      2. re: greygarious

        Ice cream sandwiches were my first thought, too (before I saw about the cooler). Fun, yummy, cool, and they echo the hamburgers.

      3. Most ice cream truck owners are happy to come by a particular place at a particular time if they can make a few sales. Maybe you could arrange that. AllScream ( is a directory of ice cream truck vendors all over the US. -- If the weather has been warm enough that they're out and about already, I'm sure you'd have no problem getting a vendor to agree to drive by the park when your group is ready for dessert for no charge beyond the cost of the ice cream you eat. (Make sure you exchange cell numbers so you can track each other down if there's a mixup about location.


        Alternately, a lot of other things could be good. Brownies? Cupcakes? Grilled pineapple? If the timing works, maybe even a cheesecake you freeze overnight so that it's thawed but still cold by the time you're ready for dessert.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ninrn

          Along those lines, frozen brownies work well. They'll be thawed but still cold and chewy.

          I second grey's suggestion of buying a cheapo Styrofoam cooler. They're like $5 at 7-11.

          I think ice cream would be ideal, but for alternate suggestions... How about fruit salad with crisp cookies or the frozen brownies? I make a hand-held fruit pie that people go crazy for and they'd be easy to transport, with no utensils required. You could also bake something like cheesecake or those 5 ingredient pecan pies in mini muffin tins to avoid needing knives, plates, forks, etc. (recipe here: but they greatly benefit from the addition of a pinch of salt and some vanilla).

          As to sides... I'd think some veggies would be welcome. Salad is always enjoyed but it might be easier to do a cold green bean salad, veggie sticks with dip... My mother does a cold asparagus dish that people devour. I do it at all my spring/summer BBQs. Blanch asparagus (the thinner the better) for a minute, then plunge in an ice bath. Heat some oil in a skillet and sauté a bunch of chopped garlic. Remove from heat, add lots of chopped fresh tarragon and some lemon juice/zest, then pour over the asparagus in a dish or Ziploc. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temp.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              I really like the idea of frozen brownies, and the asparagus dish sounds great! Thanks!

          1. brownies, blondies, chocolate chip cookies…..

            key lime pound cake!!!

            my family's sour cream pound cake….

            Family Recipe from the Old South


            ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
            3 C flour
            3 C sugar
            6 eggs (room temperature
            )½ pint Breakstone’s sour cream (room temp.)
            1/4 teaspoon baking soda
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            1 teaspoon vanilla extract
            1 teaspoon almond extract (if desired)
            ½ teaspoon mace or 2 teaspoons lemon extract

            Cream sugar and butter together. Alternate adding 2 eggs with the dry ingredients mixture (flour, soda, salt) until all 6 eggs blended in. (You may whip eggs before adding into mixture. Mom says it’s not worth the effort.) Blend in sour cream and extracts.

            Pour mixture into greased (Crisco shortening and not oil) and floured tube pan and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 1 ½ hours. check with skewer at 1:20. if comes out clean, take cake out.

            alkapal's variation:

            Use cake flour, rather than all-purpose flour.
            Substitute approximately 3-5 Tablespoons flour with Hershey’s cocoa.
            Add spices as desired:
            ½ teaspoon each of Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves (ground), Nutmeg,
            1 Tablespoon Cardamon.

            Note: Do not flour pan after greasing. Check cake at 1 hour 20 minutes with skewer. If clean, cake is done. Once cooled, add Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur in frequent doses to crack in top of cake. Seal cake in aluminum foil. Add more Frangelico the next day and so forth. Cake is best after about 4 days to a week. Enjoy!

            lemon shortbread bars!

            for a side, i love three bean salad. i like the marinated asparagus idea from nothingswrong, too. i also love a non-mayo sweet-sour cole slaw, which would be good atop the burger, too.

            1. by the way, if you want it easier, use ken's russian salad dressing. i use it on my reubens.

              3 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                I have never seen Kens russian but I do stock his thousand island.

                The last burger and dog party I was at I was surprised how many skipped the buns.

                How about melon?

                1. re: divadmas

                  i first saw it only last year, and found it to be excellent for the reubens. it is a bit tarter than the thousand island, and not as "creamy" (in a sense i find hard to describe).

                  and i like your melon idea. take a cold watermelon and cut it there. make sure you have salt and some handi-wipes ;-). or set up one of these portable washing-up stations…. (i hate sticky watermelon hands).

                  1. re: divadmas

                    Fresh fruit is a great idea! It's so hot, I think a lighter, watery fruit would be a welcome treat, especially after heavy burgers. Might even go with watermelon aqua fresca to serve as a non-alcoholic bev. Thanks for the rec!

                2. Simple easy deserts that do not require refrigeration. So much for Jello shots.

                  The only side dish that I might suggest is cold fried chicken from a filling station or chain on the way to your picnic. Or if you are feeling lucky, put a Stouffers macncheese on the covered grill and explain the burnt bits as part of the true picnic experience.

                  Picnics are to have fun. Get a pie and serve it up. At this time of year, you have a choice of the wizened apples left over from last fall, and strawberries. Sweet, gooey, and you can have a jar of habanero jelly for those who want to indulge. Don't question, it is a pairing that is thought provoking.

                  Don't forget the Frisbee.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    mac and cheese can be made ahead and eaten at room temp, too.

                    and it just dawned on me…DOH -- S'MORES!!!!

                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        and WHO doesn't LOVE making and eating s'mores, right? it is a nice time to hang out and chat, too, while you're waiting for that marshmallow to get enough crust so you can blow it out then stick it on the graham cracker.

                        only downside….being near the fire! but then again, yesterday it was 88 here, and today it might hit 70. friday is going to be 61. crazy weather.

                        alternative: get *really* long marshmallow toasting sticks.

                        as far as i'm concerned, i like it when an afternoon picnic goes past dark. then hopefully an evening breeze kicks in, if it has been too warm.