Secrets to a Successful Dinner Party, Part V

Mini apple pies. Just like mom used to make, only smaller.
Mini apple pies. Just like mom used to make, only smaller.

Your guests have arrived, have eaten and drank and hopefully it has been a good time. If not, you need more interesting friends, but that is a topic for another day. Once you have finished dinner, you probably want to do some sort of dessert. Not only is it the right thing to do, and everyone – even people on a diet – loves some type of dessert, but you’re going to have to signal to your guests that the evening is coming to an end, and that they should think about leaving in the near future

No, it is not rude. You have just spent hours with them, and once you have dessert, the food portion of the night will be

It is hard to believe that anyone could resist these delicious brownies!
It is hard to believe that anyone could resist these delicious brownies!

over. So, unless you are breaking out the karaoke machine, it is time for people to go.

But first, dessert. Wait? I have to bake? No, not exactly. By now you know that I am a firm believer in low stress parties, so you’ll need to come up with a dessert that is low stress to you. My favorite things are individual desserts – mini apple pies, or shots of chocolate mousse. But those are pretty labor intensive. Here are a few easier choices:

  • Cupcakes – you can still have the individual dessert, but they are easy and the frosting hides flaws. In a pinch, use a boxed cake mix, but don’t buy that crappy frosting in a tub. If you can;t make your own, go to the supermarket bakery (Publix is excellent) and buy some buttercream. They will sell it to you. You can even get a few colors and look like you really slaved away.
  • Make your own sundae – get a couple kinds of ice cream, some hot fudge (the good kind, or make your own), whipped cream (same here) and some toppings like nuts and sprinkles. Everyone makes their own, so less work for you.
  • Cheesecake – there are a bunch of recipes floating around for no bake varieties. Try one.
  • Fruit salad – you can buy it already cut up at most grocery stores.
  • If you really are too intimidated by dessert, buy one. There is no shame in it. Fruit tarts, cakes, cookies, whatever works for you. If you find a good bakery, go ahead and buy, and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

The bottom line here is this: if you like to experiment, go for it. If making a main course is enough for you, buy a dessert. Hell, if one of your guests like to bake, ask them to bring dessert. Any way you slice it, it should not be stressful. Let me know what you decide to make (or not).


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