Bite-sized Dessert Recommendations?
April 14, 2016 2:16 PM   Subscribe

My friend is hosting a cocktail charity event for between 60 and 80 people on Saturday. Her caterer isn't providing desserts. She asked for my help and I have 18 hours to figure it out and 53 hours to deliver it.

This is happening at a Long Island winery in a mere 53 hours from now. Dessert will be my contribution to the event. I'm willing to spend up to $3000 for 60-80 people for an assortment of delicious bite-sized desserts.

posted by Maisie to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't believe I'm recommending cupcakes, but I'm recommending cupcakes. Not boring cupcakes, but you know, the fancy, frilly ones that look like little works of art. Bite size, different flavors and varieties, maybe even something to do with the motif of the charity.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 2:23 PM on April 14, 2016

Chocolate truffles

Mini Cheesecakes

Baklava1 Baklava2 or variation on sugary crispy pastry
posted by permiechickie at 2:23 PM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

If I had to do this, I'd swing by Veniero's in the East Village mid day, and get probably 15-20lb of the Veniero's Mini Pastries: bite sized versions of their big pastries, sold by the pound.

It would probably set you back $300-350 and be delicious.

I have done this for events. It is a good thing. You don't need to pre-order either, although I'd swing by earlier rather than later in the day to ensure you've got a good variety.
posted by larthegreat at 2:24 PM on April 14, 2016 [14 favorites]

Yeah in this situation you just start calling around to your favorite restaurants and asking what they and their pastry chef can do for you. At a price point of $30-50 per head for dessert only I would be shocked if you couldn't find anyone to work with you.
posted by phunniemee at 2:25 PM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

(If $3000 was a typo I agree with cupcakes.)
posted by phunniemee at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

This calls for petits fours! To the patisserie.
posted by dinnerdance at 2:27 PM on April 14, 2016 [7 favorites]

I am NOT a fan of Martha Stewart, but her site does have great recipes for bite-sized deserts. Some of them are really fast to make, too. Check it out.
posted by TickTickVroom at 2:27 PM on April 14, 2016

I don't know why, but my brain is saying s'mores. Maybe fancy-themed ones. But something to hearken back to one's childhood.
posted by WCityMike at 2:42 PM on April 14, 2016

How about an assortment of chocolate covered fruit?
posted by foxhat10 at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2016

Meant to say, they're perfect for bite sizes :) YUM
posted by foxhat10 at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2016

Are you looking for things to bake yourself, or things to buy?

Macarons are easy to find now and a nice cross between petit-fours and cupcakes.

If you're doing it yourself, meringues are pretty easy for making a large quantity of yum with very little money or time (assuming low humidity when you need it).
posted by Mchelly at 2:50 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would recommend an assortment of French macarons. See if Laduree can get you 300-350 of them. I usually recommend 1-2 per person, but 300-350 will give you a LOT of leeway.
posted by Night_owl at 2:52 PM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

If you're making it yourself, fruit skewers on the longer toothpicks (not kabob length, just longer than your average toothpick) are easy.
posted by cecic at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2016

A variety of mini pastries! I think cupcakes will be too large and also are a bit too reminiscent of a child's birthday for a charity cocktail event at a winery. Can the caterer provide staging and presentation for the desserts as part of their service or for an add-on fee? They're likely to already have cake stands and platters for a nice presentation.
posted by quince at 2:54 PM on April 14, 2016

Nigella's White chocolate mousse. Very quick, designed to be a perfect sweet punctuation to a meal
posted by Dwardles at 2:59 PM on April 14, 2016

I'd immediately contact a well reviewed relatively close Long Island bakery (I bet the winery could recommend one) and arrange for an assortment of miniature brownies, petit fours, mini cannolis, macaroons,and similar fare. See if you can get delivery for that price too.
posted by bearwife at 3:07 PM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

Root beer floats in wine glasses. One scoop of good vanilla ice cream, topped with alcoholic root beer. Pop in half a colorful straw and a spoon. Mmmmm.
posted by raisingsand at 3:49 PM on April 14, 2016

Yes to petit fours--you can buy them in HUGE quantities for very little money, and people like how they look in a display. Same idea with truffles, but petit fours are like the formalwear sister to truffles.

Source: I helped throw together a last minute wedding reception a couple years ago and ended up going to a baker who pulled me aside and said, listen, petit fours were more or less invented to solve these last minute dessert catering problems. Plus they were delicious. Long live petit fours!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:52 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

We did this for our wedding. Mini desserts (small tarts, chocolate things, and other bits sized sweets) came from a local dessert chain (Finale, now closed). I think we paid about $250 for enough dessert for fifty. For three grand I'd hope there's someone ladling liquid ganache straight in to my mouth.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:01 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Profiteroles. (Or a croquembouche.)

Do you know the wines that will be served, and tasting notes? You could tailor fillings based on that.

Desserts at these events aren't usually consumed in the same quantities as savoury offerings.

TBH though if your budget is that incredibly high, find the best bakery where you are and and offer them gobs of cash to go above and beyond.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:09 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

TBH though if your budget is that incredibly high, find the best bakery where you are and and offer them gobs of cash to go above and beyond.

If your budget is truly that high, I'd take fffm's advice. I suspect you could get an impressive spread of tiny desserts and spend considerably less than your 3k budget.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:42 PM on April 14, 2016

Hire someone! Especially if your budget is that high. Then you can have them do whatever you want or ask them to do whatever they think is best. If you want a recommendation, I've worked with Turnip The Flavor ( many times. They're a nyc based private chef/catering company run by two very sweet women. They'll also maybe be able to deliver to wherever your event is. It's pretty last minute, so they may be booked, but it's worth a try.
posted by siewilla at 4:45 PM on April 14, 2016

Venieros is very tasty.

You could also go with an assortment of fancy cookies, chocolate truffles and strawberries. Financier's has delicious fancy desserts.
posted by bunderful at 5:16 PM on April 14, 2016

Call the winery and ask them what desserts pair best with the selection of wines that they will be serving. They may also have a caterer that can jump in at the last minute for you.

You can buy or rent a chocolate fountain and serve cut up fruit and cake with it. The prep time on that isn't too bad.
posted by myselfasme at 6:48 PM on April 14, 2016

I went to a super posh canap├ęs, plonk and dessert do on Wednesday night. They had tiny good quality glasses with wee bamboo spoons and each teeny cup had a scoop of artisan ice cream with one or more of : salt caramel berries mascarpone dark chocolate fresh coconut fig etc in it. It was incredibly easy to assemble tasted and looked amazing and wouldn't have cost an arm and a leg. The itty bitty size was the charming thing, to me. And the very very very good quality ice cream.
posted by taff at 12:37 AM on April 15, 2016

Outsource this to a bakery, get the mini whatevers (I LOVE petit fours!)

Do not drive yourself nuts.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:54 AM on April 15, 2016

I vote against cupcakes. Piles of frosting are difficult to eat, especially while trying to look elegant and holding a cocktail in one hand.

A restaurant I loved did a series of mini-desserts, served in 2-3oz martini glasses, with a mousse or custard, a cube of pound cake, an intense sauce, a swirl of whipped cream, and a garnish. Bonus was that they were small so each person could have more than one flavor. Dark chocolate and caramel; white chocolate and orange; lemon and raspberry; a couple other flavors I'm forgetting.
posted by aimedwander at 7:07 AM on April 15, 2016

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